Political Compass (2011 edition)

In November 2003 I posted about a little online test I did called the Political Compass, which I thought was interesting. Last night in conversation with a friend the topic came up again, and I thought it might be interesting to have another crack at the test, to see how my views had shifted (or not) in the 7+ years since I last did it. Seems I’m growing in my lefty tendencies — in 2003 my figures were:
Economic Left/Right: -5.50
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

Today, I sit in roughly the same position in terms of economic views, but I’ve shifted significantly closer to the libertarian end of the spectrum:
Economic Left/Right: -5.90
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.38

My political compass values as at 20 Mar 2011

I have to admit, I was surprised to see such a significant shift, even if only in one dimension. Will be interesting to try again in a few years time…

Sylvia Earle’s TED wish

In this TED video, Sylvia Earle talks about her TED wish – to protect the oceans. It’s a pretty amazing video, and an important statement about the damage we’re collectively doing to our oceans and how it’s going to affect us before long.

I can’t help but think that while our “political reality” is centered around an unsustainable concept of growth, the required changes to behaviour simply won’t come about.

In a similar vein to framing sustainability around aspiration, perhaps we need to reframe our concept of growth to something that is more akin to the growth we see in natural ecologies (the very ones we are destroying).

So rather than saying “we have to stop growing”, we could instead change how we view growth so that our human tendency to pursue it can be satiated, but not at the expense of the planet.

Daily Tele’s irresponsible reporting

The past few days I noticed that the Daily Telegraph was on an all out campaign against the current NSW Government, with headlines lambasting their mini-budget.

Admittedly, it’s quite a state we’re in. The Government has admitted it’s nearly broke, but the Telegraph would no doubt cry foul if the Government increased taxes. Of course, by cutting the budget, as the Government did, they also get hauled over the coals.

When I read a Telegraph piece on the mini-budget, it a) proposed no alternatives to how the Government would cut expenditure and b) did not actually show any analysis as to where else in the budget where cuts could have been made. How we’re meant to be “informed citizens” from what passes as journalism over there is beyond me.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. I was going to write a blog about how the Telegraph had basically set itself on a campaign to oust the Labor government and that this was irresponsible journalism. I was going to say “just come out with it and call on the premier to quit”, which was obviously what they were aiming for.

Well, at least they had the courage to put their agenda on the front page. That article, however, points out that the Telegraph’s editor is leaving their post. I’m interested in the details: was this because they stepped over the line and were sacked?; or because they felt the direction of the paper was heading in the wrong direction?

In either case, perhaps the change of editors will restore the paper to some semblance of journalism, rather than activism. The Telegraph has, of course, for a long time been less about news and more about headline grabbing and entertainment, but recent events go far beyond what I consider journalism at all.

In my opinion, good journalists report the news, not set out on politically motivated campaigns. Especially so when they continue to pretend that they’re “unbiased” and “have no agenda” as so many journalists do.

In a global credit crisis, with the State nearly broke, we don’t need this kind of bullshit passing as journalism. We need to actually get some analysis and some help understanding how we can realistically get out of this mess.

Sacking the premier and calling an early election (which I’m informed via @neerav on Twitter is wishful thinking) is not the solution.

Not least of which because the opposition is a ridiculous mess – I don’t even know who the opposition leader is, let alone what the Liberal’s policies are and how they plan to get us out of this mess… (The two party preferred system is broken at the best of times, but it’s especially poor with such an appalling group of pollies that this State has.)


Update: Just a quick clarification: I mention the Liberal leader and policies as I know that, in the end, a swing away from Labor means a win for the Liberals. And this “two horse race” view of political races continues to be propagated by mainstream media, further perpetuating the myth.

With this in mind, even with a significant swing to another dominant party such as the Greens, the preferential system is likely to install either Liberal or Labor into Government.

Personally I vote on the basis of the local candidates’ strengths and approach to things, not on party lines. But I’m aware enough to know that in the current system such a backlash is likely to result in a Liberal win – thus my comments above.


Priscilla does a wonderful job of not only eloquently expressing her feelings about saying sorry, but also mine (thanks P.)

I too have set my Facebook status to say I’m sorry – but I’ll also repost what Priscilla says ‘coz it’s exactly what I want to say too:

I regret that this happened to you, and I realise that it caused suffering and anguish for you and your family. I hope this never happens again.

P.S. I feel like this new government is sorting out a whole bunch of unfinished business. Still lots to do, but we’ve signed Kyoto, and now said sorry (both of which are far too long overdue). In the coming weeks WorkChoices will be scrapped. It’s progress – but back to the starting-line, not forward. Hopefully the momentum will continue to push across the line…

Sad moment for the Dems

ABC Online: Democrats to lose party status after 30 years.

Andrew Bartlett, whose excellent blog gave me an enormous amount of respect for the man and highlighted many of the Government’s abuses in the Senate, seems set to retire from politics. That’s a really sad thing…

I spoke to a few friends who said in the lead up to the election “we like the Democrats in terms of policy, but the party itself has lots of issues”. It’s a shame that the leadership issues that seemed to begin during Meg Lees’ tenure have resulted in such a poor result for the party.

I do hope that the party does continue and grows from it’s grass roots base, or that another party with similar policies and goals emerges over time. It might be an interesting time to join the party…

Howard heaved…

Needless to say I’m happy with the election result – not that Labor are in necessarily (they have yet to earn credibility and trust), just that after almost 12 years of lying and sliminess Howard has been turfed out on his backside. I can only hope he loses Bennelong too…

I really wanted to write a longer post outlining the many sins of the Howard government – and I may still have time later this week to expand. But in short (I could write at length about any one of these issues – but look at them all!):

  • abuse of refugee rights – not even upholding the basic principles of the international convention of the rights of refugees
  • the Tampa incident and “Children Overboard”
  • attacks on indigenous rights
  • rolling back of our fundamental legal rights – rights to a fair trial, to privacy
  • abandonment of David Hicks and support for the clearly illegal Guantanamo Bay facility
  • support for the Chinese government despite consistent human rights abuses (not even meeting with the Dalai Lama in 2002 because of fears of offending the Chinese government)
  • the introduction of the GST
  • WorkChoices
  • lack of any meaningful action, or even reasonable dialogue, on climate change
  • continued subsidisation and support for fossil-fuel industries (petrol, R&D support for development of big cars by Australian manufacturers, spending on nuclear instead of true renewable energy)
  • the so-called nuclear “debate”
  • going to war in Iraq
  • uncritical support of the US
  • lies about interest rates being something governments can control
  • the bungling of the privatisation of Telstra
  • lack of action prior to the elections in East Timor
  • the de-teething of the ACCC
  • persistent attacks on the education system, esp. public schools and universities
  • the AWB scandal
  • and probably more that I can’t think of right now…

I feel like a dark cloud has been lifted off of this country – really! I was out celebrating with friends on Saturday night and I was so delighted with the result. Let’s hope that Labor lives up to its promises (and more)…

Don’t vote on interest rates

Marc says: “Don’t bother making a voting decision based on interest rates. Make a decision based on anything else but this if you want your watered down democratic vote well represented.”

And further:

Let’s remind ourselves that democracy in history was about voting on projects and their proposers as they came along. Wow, that would be cool! I’d love to vote on a fibre optic network or whether to build a desalination plant. That would be democracy, old fashioned style.

Somehow we changed this to a 4 yearly farce which wastes part of my weekend.

Politicians argue this is often enough because people need to be governed, let’s face it they say, because we don’t know the issues well enough. Please, Mr Politic save me the “constituents aren’t smart enough to vote often and on detailed matters” speech.

Hear, hear!

(It still amazes me that a party can get a majority with a minority of the vote. Stoopid…)

Speaking of elections, GetUp has a great site called How should I vote – which asks you survey questions and matches you with the closest candidate.

I was surprised by my results, and found out about an independent candidate that I’d not heard about in my electorate.

Just don’t go there if you’re thinking of voting Liberal – it seems all of the Liberal candidates have simply not bothered filling in the survey that the system uses. A friend of mine contacted them and got an arrogant response – their loss I’d say. Even though GetUp is left-leaning, the site is a great resource and I’m sure that many non-left-leaning folk are using it.

Lastly – I’m heading down to an election night piss-up get together at the Bat & Ball hotel with a friend or two – an event that’s been labeled “Rumble in the Balletbox”.

The event is supported by 2ser and NewMatilda.com (disclosure: 2ser and NewMatilda.com are clients of Digital Eskimo, my employer). If you’re on Facebook, the event details are here.

Not with our money

Not with our money

You may have noticed, like I have, just how many government ads have been on telly the past few months. It’s a long running trend – starting some years ago.

These ads bug me on a number of levels, but I have often wondered just how much public money (our money) is being spent on what often amounts to little more than propaganda for the government’s (mostly unpopular) policies.

GetUp have just launched a campaign that puts the figure at $2 billion since the government took office – $200,000 of that this year.

Yep, you read that right – $2 billion! GetUp claim that that works out to be around $1 million a day.

This is what GetUp are asking for:

GetUp is calling for the introduction of a new law that ensures that:

  1. All future government advertising costs (from focus groups to media buying) are publicly available and easily accessible to the community via an annual report
  2. All advertising above $250,000 is to be approved by an independent auditor who applies strict guidelines to limit advertising to the dissemination of public information
  3. These guidelines are to be developed with public consultation with the final guidelines to be publicly available
  4. These conditions to apply in both the federal and state governments within 1 year
  5. A cap of $100 million p.a for total government advertising spending is to be imposed with any additional money to be approved by parliament.

The $100 million cap even seems high to me – I’m amazed that rules like this don’t already exist. Time we had some methinks…