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Abbott And Bolt Or Why Our Current Energy Crisis Is More Like The Potato Famine!

Let’s start with a little quote from Andrew Bolt circa 2009:

“What I want is for people, it’s the emperor’s new clothes thing. I want people to see that the emperor has new clothes. If Tim Flannery can go on the ABC TV and say, whoops the theory isn’t working, the world is not warming, it’s actually cooling, then even you have to say, gosh, why are we then doing this massive tax that wouldn’t stop global warming even if it’s true and will cost a lot of people their jobs? Why don’t you ask that?”

Ok, that wasn’t the quote I was going to use, but I found it while looking for his piece about how it’s not heat that kills people, it’s cold. I thought the above quote reveals a lot about poor Andrew’s understanding of things. He desperately wants the people to “see that the emperor has NEW clothes”! Which is rather unfortunate, because if you remember the fairy tale, the whole point is that the emperor has NO clothes. Still, I guess Andrew would have been one of the sycophants refusing to admit that he couldn’t see the clothes because the tailors had convinced people that only a fool couldn’t see the material.

But it was the other 2009 quote that I was after. That year, Bolt also told us:

“MORE than 30 Victorians died in last week’s heat in one of the great scandals of green politics.

About 20 more people died in South Australia, but neither state government is telling yet how precisely the victims died, saying they are awaiting coroners’ reports.

But already warming extremists such as Prof Clive Hamilton are excusing these same governments—which almost certainly contributed to at least some of these deaths.

“Australians are already dying from climate change,” shouted this professor of public ethics at the Australian National University, and author of Scorcher.

But Hamilton is utterly wrong in portraying global warming as the killer.

Fact: Cold, not heat, is what really kills people, as we see now in Britain.

Fact: A warming world would save countless lives, not cost them.”

Rather poor timing, because he happened to write this the day before Black Saturday. I was reminded of Bolt’s assertion that heat was, in fact, much better for us than cold after Tony’s recent long rambling speech. While he did say that Australia had “ten years of disappointing governments”, I trust that he wasn’t including his in that, because I, for one, found nothing “disappointing” about it. It was simply as incompetently incapable of doing anything, as I expected it to be. When Tony told us that a bit of warming was good for us, at least he didn’t say it the day before a major Australian bushfire… Although, California does have a bit of a problem at the moment.

Right, two points to make before anyone else makes them. No single weather event is evidence of climate change so it’d be wrong to talk about the heatwave 0f 2009 in terms of climate, and the climate change sceptics who tell us after every disaster that this shouldn’t be blamed on climate change do have a point. It’s just a bad look to say that heat doesn’t kill people the day before a major bushfire does just that. Secondly, like many climate change deniers who ask where the global warming is when it’s a cold day, Abbott does presume that global warming will make it warmer everywhere. What it will do – if the hypothesis is correct – is alter the climate, which may lead to greater extremes.

Of course, Bolt interpreted criticisms of Abbott’s lecture on God, country and human sacrifice as further evidence of the shutting down of free speech and the refusal to engage in debate. Debate, of course, meaning that people should be free to say anything with which he agrees without the burden of anybody challenging them in any way. You know the way this works: Any outrage expressed by the left is dismissed as the politically correct brigade trying to impose their will on us all. Of course, it’s quite ok to be outraged by union thuggery, teachers telling kids that people have different sexual orientations and refusing to sing carols just because it’s eight months till Christmas, people on welfare missing appointments, halal certification or bakers being forced to do something contrary to their religious principles such as baking a cake. Then, outrage is ok and, indeed, in the case of the baker we need some form of legislation to ensure that they’ll only be required to make cakes for people whose belief system equates with their own. Mm, I wonder how One Notion will deal with the contradiction of trying to eliminate halal certification while ensuring the religious freedom of cake-makers.

In his musings on the confusing nature of reality, Abbott did make the worthwhile point that because of Australia’s abundant supplies of coal, gas and uranium that we should have much lower power prices. However, he puts the blame squarely on “green ideology” rather than the idea that it may have something to do with the fact that our gas is sold more cheaply overseas than here in Australia.

Ok, brief history lesson…

Mm, I wonder how many of you studied the Irish potato famine in school. I know that I didn’t. And it’s not like I didn’t do history. I did British History in Year 11, as well as Modern History. But I don’t remember any mention of the Irish potato famine. Maybe it wasn’t that interesting and I forgot about it… Although I do remember learning about the Corn Laws and they were surely a whole lot less interesting, even if they did have something to do with millions of Irish people starving. I suspect it’s more likely that it has something to do with history being written by the victors. The potato famine isn’t really one of England’s finest moments.

Now some of you are probably thinking what’s the failure of a potato crop in Ireland got to do with poor old England. But I suspect many of you do know that, even as people were starving to death, potatoes were still being exported by the absentee English landlords. Nearly a million people died from starvation. Yet, potato exports continued.

Why were exports continuing when the population was starving? Well, you see, many of the farmers were tenants. They didn’t own the land. And, if you don’t own things, then you’ve no right to eat. That’s how it works, isn’t it? Like, we don’t own our gas.

Or do we?

Whatever, the people who own it get to sell it overseas for less than we’re paying here because that’s how capitalism works.

Wait a sec.

No, that’s not how it’s meant to work. I must have missed something.

Anyway, I’m growing potatoes in my backyard. I hope that nobody wants to frack there.

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  1. Roswell

    Simply brilliant, Rossleigh.

  2. Kaye Lee

    It seems that Abbott and Bolt use George Pell as a script writer

    Pell 2006: “In the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.”

    Pell 2007: “Uncertainties on climate change abound … my task as a Christian leader is to engage with reality, to contribute to debate on important issues, to open people’s minds, and to point out when the emperor is wearing few or no clothes.”

    Ten years later, same script.

  3. Adam

    The energy crisis is of our own making. The States own the resources – end of story.
    All they have to do is sell for a price that reflects the underlying value. Norway’s StatOil offers a good model of how a govt entity can maximize profits. For some unknown reason our States threw it all into the too hard basket.
    Imagine controlling your own assets rather than offering them to international mining corporations in exchange for exploration fees (tax deductible + 25pc exploration credit), company tax (except most of the corps pay NO tax anyway) and royalties (except in cases of special sweetheart ‘royalty holiday’ deals).
    We give resources away for virtually nothing.
    Is it possible for the govt to re-negoiate deals?
    Or is thinking a new thought impossible once you’re a politician?

  4. helvityni

    Yes, Adam there’s plenty we can learn from the little clever and compassionate Norway, here are we only interested in Breivik . Amazingly, even with him , the Norwegians opted also for rehabilitation, rather than simply jailing him.

    I used to watch Grand Houses on ABC, some of those modern and smart homes were built so cleverly, no heating was necessary, the body heat was enough…?
    To prevent deaths from heat and cold, we have to start building our abodes better, take advantage of the sun and wind; some of the older Oz houses are according to my arrogant American friend ,nothing but windbreaks….now, now, Chuck, the original Aussie farmhouses had lovely wide werandahs, to keep at least some of the summer heat out…and in Queensland they used to build houses on stilts to cool the place..

  5. Johno

    Adam.. Statoil want to drill in the Great Australian Bight.
    Wilderness Society’s SA director Peter Owen said oil and gas exploration should never have been allowed in the region and called for the State Government to refuse to grant the change to lease conditions and work program requirements.

    Green Senator Sarah Hanson-Young wants Statoil’s plans quashed.

    Get lost Statoil

  6. Rossleigh

    Of course, one thing that may be worth mentioning at this moment. Baa-naby’s seat may be sent to a by-election by the High Court. The recent push by the Coalition to open up areas to fracking probably won’t be all that popular in his electorate. If Windsor decides to campaign hard on that, Joyce may suffer a significant backlash.

  7. Adam

    helvityni, Nordic countries are keeping something alive that I see dying in most of the rest of the world. You mention ‘compassionate’, yes, there’s a wisdom in the northern lands that puts the environment first, community before Mammon and rehab above revenge. Truly an advanced mentality in today’s world, more power to them all. Intending to visit when it warms up a bit.

    edit: Johno, I haven’t looked at the StatOil story for a while, sorry to hear about their foray into the Gulf. It’s up to our politicians to decide what’s best for Aus. Think they will ever do that?

  8. Jagger

    helvityni, what’s that “little clever and compassionate” Norwegian company Statoil doing, planning to drill in our GAB ?

  9. Lance

    Bolt interviews Pell –bags him ,condemns him points out his despicable shortcomings -pre interview
    complete flip flop post interview –praises the Cardinal as a saintly martyr

    Bolt bags Trump pre US election–calls him a Moron ,Braggart ,,Buffoon ,Liar ‘Narcissist and Sexist
    complete flip flop post US election –boasted he ,Rowan Dean and Ross Aurelius were the only ones to call it right
    and dictates to his sky audience red necks the virtues of a Trump victory .

    Bolt bags Aborigine Elders -derides ,slanders ,defames ,maligns-in hate speech articles pre court proceedings bought by said -maligned Elders –and stands by every word —

    Bolt stands on steps of the Supreme Court of Victoria and openly weeps he has been -derided ,slandered, defamed ,maligned for writing sloppy free speech column articles and weeps openly he has been thrown to the legal wolves by his employer for speaking the truth .

    this man is a hate preacher opportunist who will say anything ,anything at all as long as the price is right the
    despicable creep

  10. Karl Young

    Lance you can’t expect a psychopath to tell the truth or understand it.

  11. Cool Pete

    That abbott has no idea, and nor does bolt. It was as bad as Vaguely Smelly gloating about a cold snap in winter! A cold snap is not evidence that global warming is not occurring. And to blame the Greens for the Black Saturday bushfires is woefully inaccurate and dishonest.

  12. pierre wilkinson

    On seeing the picture, I automatically presumed the article would be about peter dutton… thankfully it wasn’t.

  13. martin connolly

    A lot of my schooling was in England and, as Rossleigh says, there was little talk of famine in Ireland – little talk of Ireland at all!
    But I was born in Dublin and have researched Irish history extensively and what he says about potatoes still being exported to England during the famine is exactly right.
    I have to agree with everything he says – I have draw the same comparison while talking to people here about the energy ‘crisis’. It should not have come to this, and was caused by greed, lobbying (some would call it bribery and corruption) and the ignorance of the general population. People need to stop sneering at politics and get involved. Politics and it’s outcomes controls our lives way more that most people would believe.

  14. Lance

    Karl -thank you -yes agree –explains all in one sentence.

  15. diannaart


    Excellent rant, especially about Potato Famine – I learnt more history after I left school – history was one of my worst subjects because all it consisted of was names and dates and relevant countries (mostly England).

    Does the public get any say in natural assets/resources in a capitalist system? Why would we expect any? Capitalism is about profit not morality.

    @Kaye Lee

    Thanks for those Pell references – I was looking for those because I knew Abbott, Bolt, et al needed a script from somewhere.

  16. robbie

    The Irish people did own the land it was stolen from them and the ones who fought back were shipped in chains to Australia over 40 thousand. You could not have a famine in Ireland one of the most fertile lands on earth we had a genocide

  17. jamesss

    One could be a little suspicious of a reduction of energy generation to create a little chaos. Is that the intent? Four years and nothing. Evil personified.

  18. Pappinbarra Fox

    Robbie: The Irish had their land stolen then were shipped to Australia to steal the land off the traditional owners. Genicide you say? Ironic what.

  19. Sue

    @ jamesss, the Libs are lining up the dominoes.
    Close power stations, export ALL oil and gas, shut down manufacturers, order military hardware worth $ billions that is virtually obsolete by the time its delivered, sell off public infrastructures (including all of our ports), fail to supervise bank offshore borrowing and onshore lending so that the public is exposed to potential financial shocks, destroy unions and conditions built up over decades, etc. The Libs are setting us up for a fall. Naomi Klein calls it disaster capitalism, its deliberate sabotage. On the upside, some of us can always retire to the Cayman Islands.

  20. helvityni

    Amen to that, Sue…

    Cayman Islands sounds good, better than the bird-poo Island where some LUCKY asylum seekers might end up…

  21. Jan

    Sue They also intend to blow out the deficit to then say “see we will have to cut back on welfare” Conservative Pollies will say just after many have bought their 6th or more investment property.


    allowing politicians with negatively geared property investments made possible by rax laws to vote on any tax laws is a blatant conflict of interest and coruption. where’s shorty on this…nowhere.


    robbie. u need to brush up ur facts. before aust another 40k irish convicts were sent to usa. also the famine came about because a new species of potatoe was introduced throughout ireland that did not take to irish conditions. that is also what happened under mao in china…new variety of wheat in that case that was not compatible with chinese conditions. conseqiently the crops failed and given only a few of the older varieties were left in place the total crop was inadequate. in ireland it was also the case that food was being exported to richer markets to get a higher price.

  24. Matters Not

    halfbreeder re:

    also the famine came about because a new species of potatoe (sic) was introduced throughout ireland that did not take to irish conditions.

    Perhaps you have a link to that historically erroneous claim? It needs to be corrected.

    Re the spelling error of ‘potato’ above – are you trying to do a Dan Quayle?

  25. Wayne

    The English landlords exported wheat and other food crops out of Ireland during the so-called Famine. The potato crop failed due to a blight, which I think was caused by excessive humidity.

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