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Coughed up the Lolly | Sep 15, 2005 08:24

Well, there you have it. Two days out, and they went and dropped the ball. Tightest run election in years and a key 'balloon' promise is likely to turn a 'millstone'. Nice one team, nice one.

If you've read this blog for more than five minutes (the number of people in the blogsphere who continue to ask if I think that 'Che' is just a cool nickname continues to irk me), you'll know I was in Melbourne for the last Federal Election in Australia.

What that campaign saw was a reasonable effort on the part of the Australian Labor Party to oust a fairly entrenched John Howard.

For all polls, the old saying goes that 'Oppositions don't win elections, Governments lose them'. Over there, a number of mistakes were made which prevented the Opposition from getting up enough momentum to knock Howard off his perch, but the pivotal error was in relation to Forestry policy. It's way down buried in this post here, and a little post-election misery here if you want the outline.

Latham screwed up big-time in the last week of the campaign, by presenting a very good policy, but not having enough time to explain it to the electorate. Howard exploited that mistake, and actually increased his absolute majority.

In a nutshell what has thus far prevented National from looking like winners this coming Saturday is their lack of a head of steam. They looked as though some their policies were just about enough of a wedge to get them close to the Treasury benches, but not quite enough. And stupid, cowardly actions like the Wanaga incident this past week weren't helping.

This morning though? After digesting the likely reaction to the Student Loans scandal, and building on the back of buried blogs containing my reaction to things like the 'mainstreaming' ethos that will undoubtedly infuse the new Government, I'm calling this one for a possibly very slim National majority.

Please prove me wrong.

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Original Sinners | Sep 12, 2005 21:22

Look, I don't know the first thing about these Exclusive Brethren guys, except that the last bunch of blokes I heard of who insisted on relative moral purity and their wimminfolk wearing headscarves flew a few planes into buildings.

Of course, there's absolutely no similarity between the two. One are a bunch of guys who look remarkably like Boers, and the others a bunch who are a lot more multicultural. Seriously. Al Qaeda wins the cosmopolitan thing hands down, you've got to give them that. Cosmopolitan within the narrow bounds of a singular religion, but in my five minutes looking at those Brethren turkeys, they'd beat them hands down.

The heavy weapons training would help, although the Brethren could probably call in American help. Hmmm... might make a good WWF cage match that...

OK, so let's clear the air on this one before I go any further, because I don't want anyone writing in complaining that they're suspicious I'm prejudiced. There's going to be no equivocating on this point, and I won't mislead you.

I. Think. Religious. Types. Are. Nutters.

And that's almost any religious type. Lutherans, Brethren, Presbyterians, Fruitarians, Solar Eclipsarians, Muslims, Jews, Libertarians, Vegetarians, Hindus, Aztec sun worshippers, the bloody lot of you.

Nuts, to a (wo)man.

As I've mentioned in the past, my involvement in different types of religion has been fairly broad, and I've been to all sorts of religious gatherings, from ogling Hare Krishna women in those sari at the Temple in Wellington (they used put on this great $2 feast on Sundays that was pretty much all the vitamins I got all week), to seeing people around me breaking out in Tongues and dancing in the possession of the Holy Spirit, to accidentally attending a Wicca wedding, to getting my weekly exercise standing and sitting every five minutes in a Catholic Church. I still wonder if I'll ever get the chance to be woken at 5am by an Imam calling the faithful to prayers without the aid of speakers. Must be an amazing sound.

That said, there's something to be said for being in the company of people who truly see themselves as having found the peace that is the search for answers. It's the weird kind of calm they exude. Like they've glimpsed something the rest of us mortals can't see for the fog of daily needs and demands.

That look, and that calm, it's something a rationalist like myself can barely explain, and only because I force myself to dip a toe in the type of experience that has lead them to be that way. But there they are, bathing in the light of a knowing I can only grasp. Weird.

And then there's the proselytisers. Really, these are the ones I have the most trouble with. The ones who wake you up in the morning to share their viewpoint with you, while you stand there in your bathrobe trying to be polite past the pre-coffee haze, and gently nudge their shoe out of your ranch slider without having to slam it on their hush puppies.

SunnyO has a great quote this week that pretty much summed it up: People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them. -Dave Barry, author and columnist (1947- ).

The tricky thing is, apparently the Brethren don't proselytise. So I can't nail them with that one, but, they seem to be exactly the kind of 'we've found the answers and you can just go to hell' kind of religious buggers you've got to dislike.

In my most humble of opinions, the difference between these types, and the calm types I mentioned above, is polar. And it's probably why I have such a great respect for Buddhists.

There's always the odd smug fucker in any religion, but on the whole, the Buddhist ideal of self-discovery was something profoundly influencing on my early years. Ignore what you may have seen on John Safran vs. God, Buddhism is largely about wise old dudes indicating a few signposts, from which you find your own path to enlightenment. I'm suspicious that in the real world they save all the smacking for the bedroom. Which would make them much like the Auckland Club.

And on the other hand, many Christian sects are all about control. Controlling knowledge, lifestyles, and people. It's a closed minded and petty way of conducting a religion more in keeping with absolutism than humanism or fraternity.

But wasn't them associating themselves with the Tories just the biggest laugh of the last week? Much better than this week's spectacle of the User-Pays Party trying to argue that users of the roads shouldn't have to pay market rates for it...

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