Daily Archives: May 15, 2008

So that was Brendan I saw coming out of the Surry Hills Actors Centre then…

No, I jest; I saw no such thing.

However, Brendan does seem to have been to a drama coach —  if tonight’s Address in Reply is any guide. His outrage over the tax on Alcopops — which may indeed be ill-judged policy, but that’s another matter — was all the more remarkable given his being on the record in support of it just a very little while ago; it was almost believable… If you hadn’t heard what he said before.

He has at least lived to fight another day as Leader of the Opposition, I suppose.

I know what he did. Locked himself up for a few days and watched Jimmy Stewart in Mister Smith Goes to Washington over and over again.

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Posted by on May 15, 2008 in Australia, Brendan Nelson, Political, politics


Paradox on paradox — don’t expect solutions here either

Israel at 60

I have just been watching George Bush’s address to the Israeli Presidential Conference Facing Tomorrow 2008, having heard snatches of it on the radio overnight. There was little substance in what he said, and I listened to it right through three times.

More substantial is A Somber Anniversary by Avi Shlaim.

Israelis approach the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of their state in a subdued and somber mood. Israeli society is deeply divided, and there is no consensus on how to mark the milestone. On the one hand, Israel can boast some stunning successes: a democratic polity with universal suffrage; a highly developed, some might say overdeveloped, multiparty system; an independent judiciary; a vibrant cultural scene; progressive educational and health services; a high standard of living; and a per capita GDP almost the size of Britain’s.

The ingathering of the exiles has worked. Israel’s population has reached 7,241,000, nearly ten times what it was in 1948. Forty-one percent of the world’s Jews live in the Jewish state, speaking the Hebrew language that was confined to liturgy when Zionism was born at the end of the nineteenth century. In its central aim of providing the scattered Jews with a haven, instilling in them a sense of nationhood and forging a modern nation-state, Zionism has been a brilliant success. And these achievements are all the more remarkable against the background of appalling tragedy: the extermination of 6 million Jews by the Nazis during World War II… Read the rest of this entry »