In Victoria yesterday, there were blackouts because the system couldn’t cope with the demand. The energy market operator cut power in a number of places to stop the grid shutting down.
Of course, this prompted the Federal Energy Minister to talk about the need for “reliability”, which is code for let’s build more coal-fired powers stations. This argument would be more persuasive were it not for the fact that Victoria’s problems were largely due to failures in two of the state’s three coal-fired power stations. Apparently, when coal-fired power stations break down, this is a reliable breakdown whereas solar or wind have unreliable breakdowns.
Still, I don’t see the need for the government to do anything about energy policy. After all, Josh Frydenberg gave a stirring speech about how his party believes in “the invisible hand” of capitalism while that Bill Shorten believes in the “dead hand of socialism”.
Now, I know a lot of you lack faith in things “invisible”, but let me explain in a way that you’ll understand. The phrase “the invisible hand” was first coined by Adam Smith a long time ago. So long ago that it was before Menzies was in short pants. Any phrase that’s been around for that long has something going for it, surely. And basically it means that like God, the forces of the market will move invisibly through the world and fix things. (Ok, you don’t have to believe in God to use this analogy. In fact, when you consider the plagues and striking down of the first born and various other retributions that religions have laid at God’s feet, it’s probably better for capitlism if you don’t!) For example, if I own all the food supply in a town and I charge too much, eventually the invisible hand will lead me to reduce my price because I’ll have starved so many people that the market drops because of all the dead people. If people were to lose faith in the “invisible hand” at such a time, the “dead hand of socailism” may take over leading to chaos when people storm my silos and take the food without paying the market price. I believe this is refered to as the dead hand because they will start distributng food to people who’ve done nothing to deserve it and therefore are kept alive when they should be dead.
Anyway, as we know from Josh’s stirring speech, the energy market would take care of itself if we’d just stop getting in the way of the invisible hand. Mind you, it isn’t easy to avoid an invisible hand, because, well, one can’t always see it and so one doesn’t know that one is actually in its way. In simple terms, when demand for energy is high, suppliers can charge more so it’s in the interests of the market to ensure that there isn’t too much supply or else they’d lack the capacity to price gouge when we have an extreme weather event. The Greens, Labor and all those on the left are trying to stop extreme weather events by joining international agreements to stop climate change, drastically reducing the opportunities for profit for the energy suppliers.
Mr Frydenberg went on to warn us about the gathering “storm clouds hanging over the global economy”. He then became rather confused by telling us that his party’s plan could bring about “growth, aspiration and budget repair”. A political party which plans to bring up such things sounds suspiciously like the “dead hand of socialism”. What if we doin’t want to aspire? Are we sent to re-education camps?
But more confusing was his pitch that his party would be a “steady hand” in such troubled times. If we’ve got an invisible hand, then surely that would be the right hand, making Josh’s party’s hand the left hand… which – given they have a plan for the economy – makes them the “dead hand of socialism”.
This is nearly as confusing as the “Australian of The Year Awards” taking place on January 25th. I mean, remember the furore when Triple J shifted their Hottest 100 to January 27th? Surely to hold the awards on any other day than the 26th is the same sort of lefty nonsense!
Speaking of awards, the award for “You’re Not Going To Ignore What I Did And Get Away With It!” has to go to Matthew Flinders. Dead and buried under a railway station, when Scott Morrison announces the replica of Cook’s ship will re-enact the voyage and go round the country, up pops Matthew more than two hundred years after his death to remind us all of his place in history. “Hey,” his bones seemed to be saying, “I’m generally acknowledged as the first person to circumnavigate Australia, even if I did have an indigenous person on my ship who the history books don’t bother to mention.”
Perhaps, we could have Flinder’s bones sent out here to accompany Cook’s ship and a replica of Cook as they make their way round the coast preaching reconciliation and the need for Australia Day to be forever 26th January because that was two days after the First Fleet landed at Botany Bay and the day that two French frigates sailed into the bay as the British were packing up to go to Port Jackson.
Speaking of ships, Michael Keenan has decided to join Kelly O’Dwyer and spend more time with his family. One wonders if the candidate who replaces them will announce that they are standing because they wish to spend less time with their family! In other circles, this phrase is a euphemism for “Everyone now knows that I’m incompetent or dishonest but we figured it would be better to try and hide it rather than publicly sacking me!” However, in this case, I find it completely plausible that they really are choosing to spend more time with their family than spending more time with Uncle Scottie, Craig Kelly, Tony and the rest of the merry men in Canberra.
Of course, Jane Hume’s announcement that she wouldn’t be contesting Higgins because she was “enjoying being a Senator” begs the question, “Compared to what?” In this case, I believe that she has looked at the internal polling and realised that the seat is no certainty, even on a margin of ten percent and that she enjoys being a senator much, much more than being a failed lower house candidate. Or possibly she’s heard the rumour that certain people are trying to get Costello to stand so that he can be Opposition Leader come June. Whatever, I have it on good authority that the Liberals internal pollling suggests that when it comes to campaigning in the Victorian seats where they still have a chance, then they should throw all their resources into the other states.
Peter, I believe, wants to spend more time with his family, but we’ll wait and see what happens.
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