24th January 2005


Federal Opposition Labour party leader Mark Latham lost a Federal Election to fourth time winner John Howard last September.  Young (40's) Latham was boosted into the position by previous opposition leader & mentor Simon Crean, who (despite a reported warm personality among colleagues) was losing public popularity at a catastrophic rate due to a perception of arrogance.

Protege Latham was never really up to the job.  It was not really surprising that the pressure led to a reduced immune system engendering a severe attack of Pancreatitis, which resulted in Latham's retirement from Parliament.

Possible contenders for the vacated position are Beazley, Foreign minister Rudd and Julia Gillard, (the new Crean protege).  Both Beazley & Rudd have credibility.  Like Beazley, John Howard had been displaced as leader before resuming that position and winning against Labour incumbent Keating.  On the other hand, Rudd has a diminutive stature (like Howard) and has huge popularity with the fourth estate, which does translate to real power in the electorate.  Julia Gillard is a dark horse, unknown to me.

Some journalists are calling for a re-invention of the Labour Party.  John Howard has moved the Liberal Party away from "elected leader dictatorship" to "elected
team dictatorship".  "Leader" is a 19th Century dynamic, associated with the individual. "Team" is an oligarchic management concept where a group ("team") acts in it's own interest to maintain power.

I would hope that the people of Australia are ready for "Democracy" which implies that the subject people should have a say (or at least a veto) in everything.  That is what the Swiss have had for nearly a millennium.  That is what Californians have even now.  (And California has half again as many people as Australia, and about six times the GDP.  It works very well, it is just that our politicians are unwilling to share their power.

So lets have a bit of lateral thinking here.  I suggest that the Labour party should offer something that "we the people" really want, offer something that Johnny Howard is temperamentally unable to match.  We already know he loves power, and will not share it.  If the new Labour government were to offer something along the lines of the "propositions" that allow citizen participation in California, they might capture the voters' imagination.  And incidentally take power at the next election.

- IRAQ -

Liberal journalists are already claiming that the Iraqui election will be a failure, that it will cause a civil war.  I suspect that the voter turnout will show just how much those journalists deserve their pay.  Of course, in the West, journalists are no longer paid to report the facts, they are paid to report the facts that their readers want to hear.  (Nobody admits this truth, that is why US the journalists on "sixty minutes" were sacked.)  The trick is to report only opinion dressed up as fact, that way those dreadful "bloggers" can't prove that you reported lies.

Of course a civil war in Iraq would be no news to my readers.  The Sunni faction were never going to accept the massive loss of power that Hussein's defeat entailed.  They are like the gambler who has lost most of his fortune, and places his last few dollars on a last bet before disappearing into poverty and shame.

However the civil war is now.  It will tail off rapidly after the elections.  What follows the election will be, as in Aceh, imported Al Quaida terrorists attempting to give the impression to the world that there is continuing civil unrest in Iraq.

And just how severe is the terrorism in Iraq anyhow?  In the USA there are over 60,000 road deaths each year, in a population of nearly 300 million, which is a death rate of about 2 deaths per 10,000 population per annum.  In Iraq estimates vary from 3,500 (Iraqui ministry of health) to about 16,500 since 1st January 2003, which is between 1 and 3.5 deaths per 10,000 people per annum. 

Iraqui terrorists pose a risk to the average Iraqui that is approximately equal to the risk posed by Automobiles (~2 per 10,000) to US citizens.

- BUSH - v - IRAN -

I would strongly suggest that the Iranian Mullahs not give George Bush any excuse to invade.  I do not believe that he has yet committed to invade, but I believe that he is in the process of deciding.

Saddam thought that he had sassed Bush out.  He made a mistake.  When he realized that Bush intended to invade, it was too late to negotiate.

My advice is to ignore your advisers.  Your advisers listen to the Liberal press.  Also, they are corrupted by the powerful positions that they occupy, and do not dare to give an opinion that does not match your own prejudices.  I would like to point out that the "Liberal Press" in Christendom has, if anything, a negative influence over Bush strategy.

It is suggested that without hesitation you immediately find out what Washington wants and give it to them.  Do not try to negotiate.  The Americans are generous when victorious.  "Only fight battles on your own terms."


As predicted Abbas has delivered a peace initiative.  Sharon must exceed that initiative.  It is not good enough to merely match the PLO initiative.

Your diarist suggests that Sharon take a punt.  Tear down the barriers to entry.  No more searches and papers, restore the status quo ante intifada.  In the event that terrorists break the truce, it will be on Abbas' head.  I believe that the Palestinians would capture and punish such terrorists as rapidly as the Israelis in an effort to prevent an interruption to the peace process.

Both sides have shown their Macho side.  If they are not stupid, both sides will have seen that although they can hurt the other side, they also suffer.

Diarist suggests that they adopt the Taoist way.  Be prepared to hold the left hand tally.  Accept a lower benefit from any agreement with your antagonist.  Eventually he might become your friend.


For some years Australian Diarist has been predicting the demise of the music copyright industry.  It is becoming clear that the next copyright cadaver will be the drug industry.

Copyright crime (as a generic) is fairly easy to predict.  It is a function of the price differential between making an illegal copy and the price charged for a licensed copy.  When copyright license holders get too greedy, they cause that differential to rise.  In the Australian music industry the differential for a CD is about AU$30.  Once people accept the notion that illegal copies are OK, it will be hard to wean them from that notion.  As a result, the license agents will become unemployed.

For instance I expect that the price of music will fall to well below $1.00 per track, probably purchased and downloaded direct from the music producer's official site.

In the same way a generic drugs market will soon develop.  The ramifications for drug production are that individual biochemical scientists will develop drugs, the US government will develop a streamlined drug trial systemology and production will be licensed on a competitive basis with perhaps a 5% license fee.

I suspect that it might be a good idea to hedge any drug shares you might own.
("Put" options).  It will probably take another year or two before the shares start to lose value, but diarist believes that a loss is as inevitable as taxes (death might soon be avoidable.).