June 04, 2004


Curse this war! Mark Latham is not happy:

"The war in Iraq and instability in the Middle East have contributed to record high petrol prices that are now hurting Australian motorists."

Latham, of course, supports ratifying the Kyoto Protocol -- which would cause medieval hurt for Australian motorists. Still, Latham will probably ditch the eco-talk if he wins office, and revert to his earlier anti-Green position:

On his first day in the parliament as Opposition Leader, the second question Mark Latham asked the Prime Minister was why wouldn't he sign the Kyoto Protocol. John Howard replied that it would destroy jobs in many of the industrial areas of Australia.

Had he been quicker on his feet, he would have gone on to recall that Latham campaigned in the Cunningham by-election in 2002 warning victory for the Greens candidate would force the closure of BHP's steelworks at Port Kembla and cost 10,000 jobs.

Constrained by leadership, Latham remains eerily quiet on the subject of George W. Bush. How he must be itching to lash out with one of his trademark inaccurate insults:

I reviewed Latham's first book in 98 for the Melbourne journal Overland - and for my pains, Marky Mark had a go at me in a speech in Cairns as a "typical left wing academic born with a silver spoon in his mouth who's probably never worked a day in his life". My dad grew up working hard on a farm, I'm stuck on the contract/casual treadmill created by the downsizing of universities - and have sometimes worked up to 70-80 hours a week ... he strikes me as rather thin-skinned and liable to respond to debate or discussion with abuse and putdowns.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if those putdowns hit their target. Last year Latham described me as someone "who is always looking down his nose at working class pastimes". Big opera fan me.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 4, 2004 05:21 PM

I'm confused. Given that the war was fought just so the US could confiscate all that Iraqi oil - or so my lefty friends keep telling me - how come the price of oil is now going up?

Posted by: cuckoo at June 4, 2004 at 05:34 PM

and you drive a BMW apparently. You are a complete snob...

Posted by: attila at June 4, 2004 at 05:39 PM

You know what would have been cute?

If Bush had called Latham

"The most dangerous and incompetent ALP leader in history."

Of course, for that to happen, Bush would have to care what Latham said about him.

Ah well.

Posted by: Quentin George at June 4, 2004 at 05:55 PM

Bush would be wrong. Latham does not qualify as a dangerous ALP leader until he actually leads the party into government. It may turn out that he is not dangerous at all.

Posted by: James Hamilton at June 4, 2004 at 06:39 PM

I'm sorry...spent too much time trading oil futures, I guess...
What makes ANYONE think they control the price of this crap?

Posted by: TC-LeatherPenguin at June 4, 2004 at 08:02 PM

Yeah, Tim, we know you are secretly an Evil Rich Man. For one thing, you drink EXPENSIVE WINE. At LUNCH.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 4, 2004 at 08:08 PM

Hmmm...."thin-skinned and liable to respond to debate or discussion with abuse and putdowns."
At least you're in good company, Timmy

Posted by: Niall at June 4, 2004 at 08:20 PM

Ha! From Niall, who shields himself from any comments on his 'site'.

By the way Niall, remember your altercation with the Vietnamese gentlemen? Did you respond with debate or discussion or with abuse and putdowns.

Just curious.

Posted by: nic at June 4, 2004 at 08:26 PM

That Nial is cool he is a leftwinger but he hates gooks!! onya Neil!

Posted by: Bilal at June 4, 2004 at 08:37 PM

Hello Niall, how is your car?

Posted by: Tam Nguyen at June 4, 2004 at 09:21 PM

Ah...Mr Hamilton, please explain how Mark Latham isn't an ALP leader until he leads his party to government?

Is he not "Federal Leader of the Australian Labor Party?"

Posted by: Quentin George at June 4, 2004 at 09:23 PM

In Spain, petrol is currently selling in Madrid for about 0.9 Euros per litre, equivalent to about $1.60 in Australia (US$4.15 per US gallon).

Posted by: 9C at June 4, 2004 at 10:37 PM

Quentin, GW basically did that the other day at a press conference with Howard. He said he would "be a terrible disaster". He was refering to his pledge to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq. I watched it live, but can't find a word on it now except from the whitehouse.


Q Mr. Howard and yourself reaffirmed the commitment that Australia and the U.S. have to staying the course in Iraq. But you would be aware the alternative prime minister in Australia, Mark Latham, has promised to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq by Christmas --


Q -- if he wins the election. What signal --


Q What signal would that send to the Iraqi people and the other members of the coalition?

PRESIDENT BUSH: I think that would be disastrous. It would be a disastrous decision for the leader of a great country like Australia to say that, we're pulling out. It would dispirit those who love freedom in Iraq. It would say that the Australian government doesn't see the hope of a free and democratic society leading to a peaceful world. It would embolden the enemy who believe that they can shake our will. See, they want to kill innocent life because they think that the Western world and the free world is weak; that when times get tough we will shirk our duty to those who long for freedom, and we'll leave. And I -- anyway.

Posted by: aaron at June 5, 2004 at 01:05 AM

Maddog reads Tim Blair? Well, maybe he even drops by all us Right bloggers. If so, hope he likes my latest post about him...

Posted by: Jamie at June 5, 2004 at 01:25 AM

Aaron -- Come off it. Bush warned against a certain policy that Latham might pursue. He didn't say anything about Latham himself, or any other policies he may have. You can be outraged over that if you want, but you're just going to look silly.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at June 5, 2004 at 01:53 AM

So this Collingswood team you're always talking about...that's some sort of yachting or polo thing?

Posted by: Matt in Denver at June 5, 2004 at 01:54 AM

cuckoo - pretty easy answer is that all of the stimulative policies to get us out of the '00 - '01 recession, along with significant, unexpected growth in fuel consumption in China, resulted in more demand than the industry was prepared to supply. Blame China or the Bush tax cuts, whichever is your preference.

Another factor was the declining dollar (due to US deficits), which hurt supplies since oil is denominated in US$. The fact that oil prices also went up in Europe while the Euro strengthened suggests that supply-demand issues were the bigger factor.

Oil prices have actually trended down a lot recently.

Posted by: Matt in Denver at June 5, 2004 at 02:09 AM

I'm not outraged, I enjoyed it.

Posted by: aaron at June 5, 2004 at 02:35 AM

Want cheaper oil? Use more sources. Too bad it takes years to get new operations going. Wish we thought of that one years ago.

Posted by: aaron at June 5, 2004 at 02:39 AM

What's the solution to lowering these oil prices? Maybe forward-thinking Mideast rulers like the late ANWaR Sadat? Surely not ANother WaR. Maybe AN aWaReness of conservation? Are these high prices A NeW Reality? I wonder what the ANsWeR could be...?

Posted by: Dave S. at June 5, 2004 at 04:09 AM

guns solve problems

Posted by: datsun at June 5, 2004 at 04:42 AM

From now on his name shall no longer be the "moral pygmy." Henseforth Latham's name shall be...
"The Bongmeister"

Howzat?!? Hunh? Hunh?

Posted by: Joe at June 5, 2004 at 09:59 AM

Angie, it looks like Aaron doesn't have a problem looking silly.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 5, 2004 at 11:57 AM

There is nothing nerw about left-wingers hating gooks. Racism is part of leftism. Read Marx, HG Wells, Bernard Shaw, Sidney & Beatrice Webb on the subject, and in Australia Gough Whitlam, Clyde Cameron, Tony Mulvill, Brian Burke, etc. etc. on Vietnamese refugees.

Posted by: Sue at June 5, 2004 at 03:28 PM