Tuesday, December 4, 2012

CANBERRA

You'd think life in a planned city should be perfect - so why isn't it?

I reckon it's that myriad of little compromises as the bureaucracy gets involved in attempting to implement ideas and turn dreams into practice. Not, of course, that the ideas people necessarily have it right either . . . although perhaps they've got more hope than the bureaucrats of making something liveable.

This is only my second article on the city in a decade.

As you can see, I think it needs to be improved . . .


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

THE GILLARD CHARACTER ISSUE

Julie Bishop's attack on Julia Gillard's set to continue today.

Three 'lines' are apparent in the way the story's being received and reported . . . 

ORGANISATIONAL PATHOLOGY

What can explain the current disillusionment with politics? Why has Labor lost its way?

I suspect that the role of the individual in the party has been subsumed. The structure rules supreme, cannibalising those who fail to submit to the new dominant ethos of the party - the extraction of personal wealth from the commonweal.

This was published in the Canberra Times today . . .


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

POLITICS & POLICY


Normally we hope politicians' decisions are driven by the best policy options. 

That's not always the case, as this column explores.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

FRAGMENTING THE ELECTORATE

My biggest problem is always attempting to cram too much into a column - particularly when I only have one opportunity a week to put my thoughts in writing.

Sometimes what I'm really trying to say only becomes clear at the end - when I'm revising for the fifth time what I'm attempting to say.

That's the case with today's column.

I went for the 'interesting' start. I suspect I should have just concentrated on the way the fragmenting of the electorate means politicians will have to find new ways of communicating with, and keeping together, smaller communities of interest.

See what you think . . .


Monday, November 12, 2012

2 NEWS STORIES

For my journalism tutorial.

The facts of the two stories I've asked you to write are below.

Remember, I just want quick, 100 to 150 word radio news stories. File them to the dropbox.

Good luck,


Sunday, November 11, 2012

KILLER COMPANY

TV Drama doesn't come better (for Oz journalists) than Devil's Dust, an accurate re-telling of the true events surrounding James Hardie's culpability for poisoning it's own workers.

I'm very proud to call Matt Peacock a mate.

I think he should sue the ABC, though. Those sideburns he's depicted with in the '70's were atrocious! Cigarets aplenty as well, of course. But what about the booze and the women? A very partial 'history' . . .


Thursday, November 8, 2012

MORAL TALES

Journalism is about reporting what's going on. But you need an eye to 'see'.

This piece describes the end of Mitt Romney's campaign for the US presidency.

But look at the way it wraps in so much more as well . . .

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-at-romney-headquarters-the-defeat-of-the-1-percent/2012/11/07/857d00f6-284a-11e2-96b6-8e6a7524553f_print.html


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

EDUCATION OR ROTE LEARNING


I began writing this piece the week a couple of months ago when Julia Gillard released her 'education revolution'. 

I was angry about her ridiculous prescription to ensure (how?) teachers were "in the top 30 percent in Maths and English". 

I tried exploring this idea . . .  but, surprisingly, haven't been able to find out how she will achieve this grand, yet completely unnecessary, objective . . . 

Friday, November 2, 2012

BEING PART OF ASIA

This is a brilliant piece about the failure of the government that's marked by one critical flaw.

I saw it as soon as I re-read it (the fifth time).

I mention Jim Thompson. Of course I mean David.

That's brain damage for you . . .


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

IDEA: IS EDUCATION THE ANSWER?

Yes, but it depends on the question.

If the aim is to boost income and productivity, well, the situation isn't as clear as you might think.

How do we know?

Try this study . . .


IDEA - DYSFUNCTION

A simple idea: the failure of our rhetoric to match our reality.

Journalists spend ages attempting to craft their stories to make them 'accurate'.

But what happens when you know that what you're meant to report on - be it the assurances contained in the government's 'Asia White Paper', or the solemn protestations of a politician pretending to assure us of 'x' or 'y' - is rubbish . . .


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

COMPETITION FOR FUNDS



The biggest question faced by the military is always money. 

The initial challenge is getting enough from the government, then fighting for a greater proportion of that pie. 

This analytical piece appeared in a Canberra Times Defence Supplement . . . 

Monday, October 29, 2012

MAXINE & JULIA

Maxine McKew's a great journalist - but that doesn't mean that everything she's written is objective.

Particularly when it comes to politics.

That's hardly surprising. One of the things that makes for great journalism is passion, and McKew's passionate about politics. This is (sort of) a review of her book, Rudd's chance to return to the Lodge (virtually negligible) and Gillard's prior knowledge of the coup (I believe she did know prior to the morning she announced her challenge) . . .


WRITING A STORY


I've written a few comments to help my students as they struggle with writing a news story . . .

SHE JUST DOESN'T GET IT . . .

Julia Gillard just doesn't understand. Why we are alive? To make money? To be a multi-factorial input for the production process? Or for some other reason.

Amidst all the verbiage launching the Asia White Paper today she listed the reasons we need to engage with the region.

Money, economy, security - all of the usual suspects were front and centre, just as you'd expect. Yet how utterly devoid of imagination!

The reason to be engaged with Asia is because it's interesting, exciting, challenging, fun and wonderful and to interact with foreign cultures . . .


Friday, October 26, 2012

FEAR & LOATHING IN THE BEEB

When you see old pictures of Jimmy Saville and hear his catch-cry - "Ow's about that then!" - armed with the knowledge that he preyed on young girls, it's difficult to restrain utter disgust at the way the BBC protected their pin-up pedophile for so long. 

But it can be difficult for a columnist to evoke feelings amongst readers. It's not enough to simply assert Saville/the BBC was/is disgusting - you need to create those emotions amongst the audience. 

I reckon this op-ed piece from Allison Pearson (London Daily Telegraph) is a great example of the style . .  . 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

ET TU, SUPERMAN

The unkindest cut of all.

Just like Brutus turning his dagger on Julius Caesar, Superman has departed the Daily Planet. He won't be using his alias as a reporter any more, because, let's face it, there soon won't be a paper to report for.

This extract is straight from the amazing;

http://www.grantland.com/blog/hollywood-prospectus/post/_/id/60460/superman-quits-the-daily-planet


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

BBC UNDERAGE SEX DRAMA COVER-UP

Over in the UK todays 'big scandal' is, understandably, the BBC coverup of the Jimmy Savile affair (the now-deceased preformer was, apparently, effectively able to utilise the Corporation as a procurement agency to provide him with underage girls for sex).

The BBC's current Director General appeared overnight at a parliamentary inquiry into the affair http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/jimmy-savile/9628228/Jimmy-Savile-George-Entwistle-heckled-by-BBC-reporters-after-brutal-grilling-from-MPs.html .

What astounds me is a comment half way through this report . . .


Monday, October 22, 2012

ANOTHER ELECTION

Another election, this time in the ACT. Another disaster for Labor.

Because of the usual strong Labor vote in the territory, Labor didn't lose and will probably be able to form government. The last time the Liberals came this close to having a Chief Minister was in 1995, just before the Keating government lost in a landslide.

This column considers the dynamics behind the vote:


Monday, October 15, 2012

SEXISM AND LOATHING


Last Tuesday, Julia Gillard gave a passionate speech about sexism in Parliament. 

It was strong, forthright, and failed completely to address the serious issue of criticism of the Speaker (who she was defending). 

Because I'm a man, I am, by dentition, unable to refute her claims. However, as I hope this column makes clear, I think it's unlikely she's won many votes as a result . . . 

REPORTING THE COURTS

Those in my journalism tutorials will be aware the next couple of weeks are involved with reporting the courts. Your assignment will be worth about a third of the marks for the course.

The details of the work are on the Moodle page.

This is a bit extra . . .


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A NEW FINANCIAL SYSTEM

Perhaps it's time for a new financial system.

If you were going to have one you'd have to begin by reforming the Reserve Bank, so perhaps that's a good place to start.

This column published in the Canberra Times considers the Bank, and then the banking system . . .


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

SEX SELLS?

I'm sorry about this post's title, but I was intrigued by something in a (London) Telegraph article by Willard Foxton.

"It may surprise you to learn who Britain's third most popular "porn babe" has been for the past couple of weeks. It was none other than the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton. Until last week, she was listed in the top five most searched UK "babes" on freeones.co.uk, a site which aggregates free pictures of mostly porn actresses, but also celebrities . . .

"Indeed, I feel a little guilty writing this piece, as my own disapproving post on the Middleton nudesgenerated 300,000 hits for the Telegraph." 

So, will the words "Porn Babe!" and "Middleton nude photos" spike traffic to my blog? I'll let you know what the stats are soon . . . 

PS. Foston's post is at: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technology/willardfoxton2/100007870/how-those-kate-middleton-topless-photos-make-a-fortune-for-online-porn-sites/

Monday, October 1, 2012

EXIT WOUNDS



The war in Afghanistan continues - yet there's been little analysis of what's occurring from an Australian perspective. 

Until now. One of the former Australian commanders, Maj Gen John Cantwell, has released an extraordinarily honest book about his life. 

This was my take on the book . . . 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

PAYING FOR STUFF

Governments love announcing they're going to spend money. It's just raising taxes they don't like.

At some point, however, the mis-match between revenue and expenditure becomes just too great.

This column suggests that point was reached long ago . . .


Friday, September 21, 2012

QUESTION THE DOGMA

This excellent piece by another blogger;

http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/myths-of-ancient-china.html

makes the simple point that it's vital to question every bit of received dogma.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

SEX AND THE BRAIN

A brilliant post by Emma Jane talking about Jane Eyre. The best line is three-quarters of the way down.

She says what makes the novel work is not the sex (which isn't there) but rather that it "it is full of explicit encounters involving the sexiest organ in the human body – the brain."

http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/this-latest-bit-of-mummy-porn-is-a-total-turn-off/

NEWS AND FEATURES

Of course the big gaffe that everyone is focussing on is the current one . . . that supposedly 47 percent of US citizens don't pay taxes and only budge on the ones that do.

But there was an earlier gaffe, that US columnist Gail Collins nails here.

JOINTERY


My bad. I'm afraid I thought I'd posted this week but hadn't. 

This column was prompted by the Williams Foundation Seminar at the Australian War Memorial last Thursday. I'm sorry I wasn't able to credit the Foundation in the piece that appeared in the Canberra Times. 

The column itself had to be filed effectively five days before it was published because of new requirements to ensure it gets on the Fairfax website. This is extremely unfortunate and explains why it did not even mention the biggest story in Defence this week  - the shifting of the Secretary, Duncan Lewis, to become Ambassador to Brussels . . . 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE

How do you work out what's happening and what is going to happen next?

These are some random ideas and jottings:


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED

It's quite possible that last week's Special Forces raid in Uruzgan was all appropriate and above board.

On the other hand, perhaps not.

The point is we don't know, as this column seeks to make clear . . .

PS ON THE DAY THIS COLUMN WAS PUBLISHED STEPHEN SMITH ANNOUNCED AN INQUIRY WOULD BE CONDUCTED INTO THE KILLINGS OF THE TWO AFGHANS.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

MATHS AND ENGLISH

Julia Gillard's announced a new schools "revolution".

She values education and particularly the skills she identified as vital, such as Maths and English.

So let's use those skills to ask if there are any journalistic questions we'd like to have answered . . .


THE MILITARY AND THE SOCIETY THEY SERVE

Since this column was written more issues have arisen about the way the military and society interrelate in Australia, nevertheless, this is a beginning . . .


Saturday, September 1, 2012

FRIENDLY FIRE


War is terrible.

The senseless waste of a death at the hands of someone who was supposedly an ally reeks of something worse; an incompetence that should never have been allowed to occur.

Saying nothing will allow the tragedy to continue, which is why I was spurred to write this column for the Canberra Times . . .


EVERYTHING STOPS

Three diggers were killed in Afghanistan on Thursday when an ANA soldier opened fire on them.

One was from Canberra, although the names have not yet been released.

It is a terrible event. We can best remember the sacrifice of the soldiers by carrying on with our duties, as this post on The Strategist sought to make clear . . .


Thursday, August 30, 2012

ASKING QUESTIONS

The invention of the internet was supposed to usher in a blossoming of knowledge.

Instead it appears to have strengthened the voices of ignorance, as this column from yesterdays Canberra Times suggests . . .


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

REPORTING TUT: HOW MANY JOURNO'S

Not many people managed to find out how the job market for journo's has changed over the past decade or predict how it may change in the years to come.

Journalism isn't called the 4th Estate (after the clergy, nobility and commoners) for nothing. Telling stories about society is, and always will be, important.

How many people do this, and how well they're paid, is a different matter . . .


Thursday, August 23, 2012

REPORTING TUT: THE ONLINE MEDIA

This post considers the importance/relevance of the online media.

It seems to me one of the most vital elements of journalism is editing. The knowledge that someone else has done some of the sorting and correcting inspires confidence and results in a broad audience. But today the old model of journalism is under threat.

Who will do the editing in the future?


REPORTING TUT: SAME FACTS - VERY DIFFERENT STORIES

The same facts can often be used to justify two different 'takes' on an issue, depending on your point of view.

Here's an example of different interpretations of the same statistics. This time with regard to Climate Change. How would you interpret the statistics?  What qualifiers would you leave in?


REPORTING TUT: NIALL FERGUSON, NEWS OR COMMENT


Where exactly does the boundary lie between News (note the capital letter) and commentary?

Take Niall Ferguson. As an historian, he attempts to anchor his arguments in fact. News is, of course, fact. But our definition of fact can still be problematic.

An article he wrote has polarised opinion in the US and fired many liberals with fury at the way he has misrepresented facts, as I attempt to show for anyone in my Tutorials who's interested . . .


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

REPORTING TUTORIALS


Hi to those in my reporting tutorials at the University of Canberra.

Because I'm still new to Moodle I'm going to maintain this as a duplicate site - providing general information about the course, some working notes for the particular weekly tutorials, and finally some more general thoughts about journalism with, hopefully, some extra reading you may be interested in following up on.

Enjoy!

And, by the way, I can always be contacted on nicstuart@hotmail.com by anyone . . .


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

SHOW ME THE MONEY


Another way of beginning this column would have been to reprise Tom Cruise's movie role; the one where he's obsessed with getting people to say. "show me the money".

Because that's what government is all about. Money.

As this column attempts to explain . . .


Saturday, August 18, 2012

A FAREWELL TO THE SATURDAY COLUMN

It might appear as if two columns of about 1,000 words each a week really shouldn't be too difficult to manage . . . but it has been an enormous drain over the past two years.

So I'm shutting down my Saturday contribution.

I hope you enjoy this one, published in the Canberra Times today . . .


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH ALEX SLOAN


This is a podcast of an interview I've just done with Alex Sloan on 666 ABC Canberra.

Gosh she's a great interviewer. And a lovely person too.

The radio is at:

http://www.facebook.com/666canberra/posts/470983916259236

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS WEEK

It's Brain Injury Awareness week. How ridiculous!

Those living with a brain injury are aware of the injury every minute of the day. As are there carers.

But I suppose we've got to bring the rest of society along with us. This is my effort to do so . . .


Saturday, August 11, 2012

COMMON GROUND


I've always believed that governments should supply the necessary services the community requires.

Particularly for the disabled.

Unfortunately, here in Canberra, the Territory government appears to have some difficulty 'finding' the money, as this column tries to show with one vital project in particular . . .


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

WAYNE'S WORLD


I've never really liked Bruce Springsteen, I'm afraid, as this post probably makes clear.

I'm more a "Dead Kennedy's" man.

I love the lyric from 'Holiday in Cambodia', with it's suggestion of hypocrisy . . .


Saturday, August 4, 2012

POLITICAL CHOICE


We expect far more political choice today than we used to in the past.

Parties aren't just expected to balance the budget - there's a whole range of smaller issues that we expect to know about before we vote for them.

This is all having an unforeseen effects, as this column explores . . .


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

OLYMPIC FEVER!

It seems the Olympics were here just the other day . . . and now they're back.

What are the factors that elevate a performance, and a person, beyond the everyday?

This column makes an attempt to discern the elements that propel individuals to greatness, both at the Olympics and in their everyday lives . . .


Saturday, July 28, 2012

KILLING INFORMATION

One of the vital ingredients to adequate decision making is good information.

Without this we are reduced to groping around blindly.

This makes the stupidity of AusAID's cancellation of a contract obtaining relevant intelligence in Afghanistan bizarre, as this column in todays Canberra Times attempts to make clear . . .


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

THE GREEN JUGGERNAUT?

Has the Green electoral juggernaut finally been halted?

If so I argue it is because they have stopped being a conservative, environmental party and changed to become a party of the hard left. . .


Saturday, July 21, 2012

DEFENCE SPENDING



Being in Opposition allows a politician to be critical. 

But managing to find the answers is another thing entirely, as this column dissecting a recent Tony Abbott speech in Washington suggests . . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A WINNING COALITION


The aim of politics is to build a winning coalition, but unfortunately this insight appears to have escaped the Labor Party. 

The other political requirement is compromise, but this time it's the Greens that appear to be unaware of   the requirement . . . 

Monday, July 16, 2012

FEMINISM ONE

I made a significant mistake in this column. I accidentally suggest, three-quarters of way down, that the really important things in existence are "living the good life, having children, and being a real contributor".

Of course you don't need to have children to live a good life, and I apologise for the implied linkage . . .


Friday, July 13, 2012

AMBITION


People may enter politics for altruistic reasons, but personal and political ambition is always there.

This post considers the conflicts that will be worked out over the ensuing months until parliament resumes again: Gillard vs her party; Abbott vs Turnbull; Labor vs Greens.

This is somewhat different from the piece that appeared in the Canberra Times on Tuesday . . . 

Monday, July 9, 2012

RHETORIC AND REALITY

Sorry, thought this was posted earlier but there seems to have been a problem.

Nic.

There's an increasing divide between the war and the words surrounding what's actually happening.

This column displays two instances of the divergence . . .


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

THE WORLD DIDN'T END

Which do you prefer; which is worse.

It's either the third day of the Carbon Tax or the sixth day since the government failed to do anything about the asylum seekers . . .

This column, for a change, examines the failure of rhetoric from the Opposition, rather than the failed policy making of the government . . .


Saturday, June 23, 2012

EDITING - THE REAL SKILL OF JOURNALISM

The media is changing.

This column examines the negative effect of managers that don't understand the business can have on a company . . .


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NEW WARS

Spock wouldn't have been confused. The Spaceship Enterprise would have heard his words ring through the control room.

"It's war Jim, but not as we know it", Spock would have said.

Hence the following meditation in the Canberra Times . . .

Monday, June 11, 2012

SERVICE RIVALRY


Each Service genuinely believes its method of fighting war and resolving conflict is the best. That's why we have inter-service rivalry. Of course each general/admiral/air marshal wants promotion . . . but they're also convinced they've got the answer.

I reckon a recent speech showed this rivalry is back - in a big way - in Australia.

Monday, June 4, 2012

OLD THINKING IS NOT ENOUGH


In decades to come we'll look back on the predictable causes of the current economic turmoil and be able to say precisely how institutions should have reacted. 

But the real problems are embedded in the economic system. This story simply considers the dysfunction of a central bank which considers fighting inflation one of its primary tasks . . . 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

AN ONION SKIN

Australia announced this week it will take over the lead role in Oruzgan.

There is a story behind this, but I don't know or understand what it means yet. What I've done here is simply attempt to revisit some of the complexity involved.

Of course, even this sketch is far too simplistic . . .

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

WHAT NATIONHOOD SHOULD BE ABOUT

This column is, again, critical of Julia Gillard. I've attempted to use rhetorical devices to make it interesting to readers. But the key point is located three-quarters of the way down.

A nation state needs to look after its workers. I don't believe the move to get foreign workers to mining projects is in this country's best interests. As a result I'm critical of any PM who allows this to happen . . . 

Monday, May 21, 2012

THOMSON FEVER

It's impossible to ignore the Thomson affair any longer.

Naturally I have no knowledge about the alleged illegalities themselves. This column refers merely to the fact that the government - and Julia Gillard - has already been 'convicted' by most Australians.

It needed have been this way . . .


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

MATCHING DEFENCE POLICY TO SPENDING


There's been a sudden, dramatic change to Australia's defence policy. 

In the past we've focussed on objectives first, and then insisted we'll find the money to fund these. Next years Defence White Paper will make it clear that that formulation has changed.

The number one priority is to keep defence spending constrained to less than two percent of GDP. This means abandoning the objective of acting as an "independent middle-power", as this column seeks to explain . . .

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

IT'S ABOUT TRUST - THERE IS NONE

Late again. This was printed in the Canberra Times on 31 March as I attempted to find a reason that might explain the disaster that engulfed Queensland Labor . . .


Friday, March 23, 2012

A SHINY BIG NEW GUN

Far too often procurement decisions for the military end up following the path of lease resistance. That seems to be the only way of explaining Australia's forthcoming decision to buy the South Korean built K-9 Howitzer . . .


Saturday, March 10, 2012

REAL CHANGE WON'T BE HAPPENING, NOW

Before embarking on a course of action, it's always important to choose the right 'mission'.

That's the disaster that accompanies the series of 'culture reviews' Defence has undergone over the past year. They'll change nothing.

Far better to consider how it might have been done differently . . .


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

RUDD REDUX? CARR DID.

Political lives rarely end in glory.

The contrast between  Kevin Rudd and Bob Carr is instructive.

Perhaps it's got something to do with the motivation behind their actions. Or perhaps it's just luck . . .


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

BRAND NEW DAY

A new start. Again.

This time, of course, it will all be different. Apart from the stuff that's the same.

This was written and filed to the Canberra Times hours before yesterdays ballot (forgive the boasting). nothing has required any changes . . .


Saturday, February 25, 2012

A SOAP OPERA

One of the particapants in Labor's leadership challenge has likened it to "a soap opera'.

If only. Commercial soapies have a beginning, middle and, most importantly, an end. Will Labor's? I doubt it. At least until an Abbott government is installed, anyway . . .


Friday, February 24, 2012

IT'S ON - WELL, ALMOST

Kevin Rudd is about to announce he's going to challenge.

Of course, he's saying he's going to "consult with his colleagues" first.

Ho ho. He's a joker, isn't he?

This is the form guide for the challenge . . .


Monday, February 20, 2012

THE POISONOUS CHALICE THAT IS THE LEADERSHIP

My partner keeps telling me to act from the best of principles. She believes that if your heart is pure, and you intend no ill, everything will be for the best. You need to operate with a clear conscience.

This is something that this column explores. But only right at the very end.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

THE OFERMOD

Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd appear locked in a deathly embrace. Neither will relax their grip until the other first abandons their desire to become PM.

Surely the only way to stop the ongoing disaster that is Federal Labor is to conscript a third person to lead the party.

These are some thoughts on the leadership battle . . .

Monday, February 13, 2012

CHANGING MISSIONS IN AFGHANISTAN

The Mission in Afghanistan has changed. It is no longer to defeat the Taliban. Now we're concentrating on Al Quaeda.

This is because we can't defeat the Taliban . . . but that's another story.

This article was published in the Canberra Times on the weekend . . .

Friday, January 27, 2012

Values

I'm going to attempt to blog more regularly and paste more than just my columns.

This comes from London's Daily Telegraph. It is by Peter Oborne.


Now we turn to the case of Stephen Hester, the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, who is reportedly pressing for a substantial annual bonus in addition to his already colossal £1.2 million salary. There are no questions of integrity with Hester, as there are with Huhne and Laws. However, an extremely important issue is at stake, concerning the values that guide Britain as a nation.The key point to bear in mind is that Mr Hester is not a banker. He is a civil servant, heading an organisation which is 84 per cent owned by the British government. His immediate boss, Robin Budenberg, the chief executive of UK Financial Investments, earns just over £145,000 a year. Mr Budenberg in turn reports to Sir Nicholas Macpherson, Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, who earns at least £175,000.It is outrageous and insulting that Mr Hester should insist on such a huge salary, and beyond belief that he should be insisting on a bonus. Furthermore, it is important to bear in mind that he is by no means the hungriest RBS employee. His colleague John Hourican, the head of RBS’s calamitous investment banking division, is reportedly demanding more than £4 million.Consider this: supposing that Mr Hourican gets his bonus, it will pay him approximately £11,000 every single day – as a state employee. In just three days, it would surpass the amount that a young corporal, risking life and limb in Afghanistan, gets in an entire year.

Monday, January 23, 2012

SETTING THE AGENDA

Back again.

This is actually my third column for 2012. I'll post the others over the next couple of days. I've been a bit slack in keeping up to date.

This is about the need for Australia to keep "making things" and the importance of government in ensuring it continues to do so . . .