This is my last post for the year — a phrase my wife says needs a trumpet call, which would be the case had I capitalised the phrase. Ordinary transmission will resume on Monday 6 January.
What a year it has been. What other year saw Australia have three Prime Ministers within a few months? The last was 1945, when John Curtin died, to be followed in an interim way by his Deputy Frank Forde, before the Labor Caucus elected Ben Chifley as the new PM. And there were two similar earlier years in my lifetime, 1941, when Menzies, Fadden, and Curtin followed one another in a similarly short time, and 1939, when Lyons, Page and Menzies made up the trio. So 2013 wasn’t so unusual.
Perhaps 2013 was unusual in the manic quality of the politics, from the beginning of the year right to the end. There seemed to be a vast amount of ego on display. The election in October gave the Coalition a comfortable majority on the floor of the House, and a likely capacity to get legislation through the Senate in the second half of the coming year. But the Coalition Government has not had an easy time in its first few months.
My interest in ‘climate change’ has slackened a little, in part because day by day come new evidence, new papers, and new argument to suggest that the orthodox view which makes carbon dioxide the control knob of the world’s climate is seriously and fundamentally in error. What fascinates me now is to observe what the proponents of the orthodoxy do. The new Coalition Government is ending as much of the ‘combat against climate change’ stuff as it can, but that will take quite a while. I’ve noticed that in areas where the orthodoxy has been strong, like The Conversation, there are fewer and fewer articles putting forward the orthodox position, and they are less frequent in the mainstream media, too.
That doesn’t mean that there has been an acceptance that things have changed: some of the enthusiasm for a global treaty and all its ramifications is as shrill as it was. But my sense is that the electorate has lost interest. I look forward to Earth Day, in the hope that this Government tells departments that it does not want everything to be dark, and that those who need light and heat should have it. I doubt very much that it will be taking a lead in observing that symbolic charade.
My irritation with the political culture of the ABC’s news and current affairs group has not diminished at all, and I was not impressed that the new Chairman, former CJ Spigelman of the NSW Supreme Court, decided to have a review of bias to be carried out by someone from the BBC! I just don’t think he gets it, which is a pity, because he is in other respects a cluey and sensible chap. I know that some of the readers of this website have had a go at complaining about the bias in the ABC, and all they get is a polite letter from the head of complaints which thanks them for their interest, but never addresses the real concerns of those who write. I don’t think we’ll see much change in 2014, unless someone in the organisation makes a really bad boo-boo.
This past year has been a most busy one for me, because I have been involved in a daily musical project as part of the Centenary of Canberra. On the plus side, I’ve heard some wonderful music; on the minus side, I haven’t worked so hard since I was last in paid employment! All that will come to an end on 31 December, and my wife and I will get a break.
But the website and the music meant that I had to abandon my other writing — there just wasn’t time for everything. When the website resumes in January, therefore, I will be writing about three essays a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday as a general rule. They will be better researched than some of the ones I wrote this year, because I will have more time.
I started the website in the middle of 2012, and thus far there have been 457 posts and more than a thousand comments. I have enjoyed writing (the deadline of an 8 am post is a great discipline) and I have enjoyed the comments. I’m not here to persuade you that my view of things is the right one. Rather, my aim has been to provide readers with what I think is the best context with which they can form their own views. I am not sure about most things, and I am by no means always right.
My best wishes to everyone for Christmas and the New Year, and ask you all, as Chairman of the Road Safety Trust, to drive carefully and in a relaxed way over the holiday period.