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What Does Gas Have In Common With Potatoes?

Every now and then some idiot will tell you that schools should stay out of politics and just teach facts. Of course, some time later we’ll have some politicians like John Howard saying the trouble with state schools is that they don’t teach values and he’ll send out a pretty poster of that illegal immigrant Simpson with his donkey listing the values which every school should teach. A few years after that some politician – strangely on the same side as John Howard – will announce that schools shouldn’t be teaching values and that they should stick to the facts and not all this rubbish about equality and rights and…

Anyway, it seems whatever history or values schools teach, you’ll always have someone lamenting that we shouldn’t be teaching this or we should be teaching that, and isn’t it terrible that kids today have never heard of a Petrarchan sonnet, let alone studied one well enough that they can write one instead of all this gangsta rap or whatever kids are into these days and…

So, I’d like to add my voice to all those who say isn’t it a shame and say, “Isn’t it a shame that we don’t learn about the Irish potato famine of 1845 to 1849?”

Of course, when I use the phrase “Irish potato famine”, I’m suggesting that there was a famine that was somehow caused by the Irish or potatoes or something like that but in actual fact what we had was the failure of capitalism in a major way. Or rather, the success of capitalism.

Ok, let me explain. To the Irish, it was the great hunger and a million people died and further million people decided that they’d better move somewhere else so that they could eat. Now, I’m not going to pretend to be an expert here and give you a long history of the potato blight that wiped out crops in Europe and led to problems where farmers relied on a single crop, but there is one point that I think is worth pointing out.

Even as people were starving, potatoes were still being exported because of the various arrangements to do with absentee landlords and rent and…

Ok, I know, I know. We don’t want a black-armband view of Irish history here.

On a completely different topic, isn’t it funny that gas is in short supply but we still have enough to export?

Maybe we could find a way to use potatoes as an energy source… but if we did, we’d probably find that there was a shortage.


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  1. Max Gross


  2. pierre wilkinson

    could we really export potatoes?
    I know a really big one that would improve our current conditions if we could.

  3. Greg Hill

    We don’t want to lose our tax windfall just because other Australians are suffering do we?

  4. totaram

    pierre: I disagree vehemently. Exporting a certain very large potato is likely to be counter-productive at the present moment, in my view. The current benefits of keeping this potato in the domestic market are akin to the benefits of keeping gas and coal in the domestic market and disallowing export. I am sure a little reflection will convince you of that. 🙂

  5. leefl


    Quite apart from the issue totaram has raised, there is a practical problem with your extremely tempting suggestion. Who the blody hell would be willing to import it?

  6. leefe

    pierre: Quite apart from the issue totaram has raised, there is a practical problem with your extremely tempting suggestion. Who the bloody hell would be willing to import it?

  7. Jack sprat

    Simpson belonged to the radical left organisation ” The industrial worker of the world ” and wrote to his mother that England should have a revolution to rid itself of it’s millionaires and lords. It’s ironic John Howard would use him as a poster boy

  8. totaram

    Jack Sprat: Like any typical “conservative ” politician, John Howard depended on the very shallow knowledge of history of the populace to push his own rewritten (reimagined?) history (minus the black armband where necessary) and execute his culture war. Hence his use of Simpson (very likely without knowing the background). Ignorance is indeed bliss!!

  9. Chips M. Ash

    Globalism has meant a sort of intertwinng of the world economy to a shape acceptable to the very elites in the true sense, who have lion’s share compared to all the rest.

    Done through FTA’s, defence pacts and when in doubt, war, Its all serviced by Intelligence and durveillance in a computerised, ordinance controlled, design and ideas production from large sections of arts humanities, media etc to offer a fair rationale to the sometimes uncomfortable, rubes.

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