February 10th 2018

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Blackouts due to closure of coal-fired power stations

EDITORIAL Behind China's push for global power

CANBERRA OBSERVED The left's appetite for change can't be satisfied

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY The Four Ideologies of the 21st century: Transgenderism, Libertarianism, cultural and Economic, and Radical Environmentalism

SEX-TRAFFICKING Meet modern slavery - in your very suburb

EUTHANASIA Delivering Victoria's death law: an unedifying spectacle

ENVIRONMENT Too hot? Too cold? Blame global warming

OPINION Report on child sexual abuse aimed at Church

FREEDOM OF RELIGION 'Equality' and equally disingenuous terms

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Saudis, Israel confirm Middle East alliance

OBITUARY To the memory of a multimedia Chestertonian: Tony Evans

MUSIC Straight to the heart: for the listener, at least

CINEMA The Commuter: And my criteria for reviewing films

BOOK REVIEW Essays take 'settled science' to task

BOOK REVIEW A pathway through a tangle of nonsense

BOOK REVIEW Quarterly Essay


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News Weekly, February 10, 2018

Australia Day volley

Pat Cash doesn’t want to observe Australia Day on January 26. He’s upset about ongoing poverty in many Aboriginal communities. But changing the Australia Day date will achieve nothing.

Since time began, every country has experienced population interminglings which devastated the old ways. A land like Australia was never going to stay a hunter-gatherer land. The best we can do now is to express mutual respect and – where appropriate – mutual forgiveness.

Mr Cash’s involvement in a charity working with Aboriginal families sounds great. Maybe more of us should do the same, finding ways to do good things together.

One very good thing to do is to let bygones be bygones – and to celebrate Australia Day together as one.

Arnold Jago,
Nichols Point, Vic.


Colour change

Peter Westmore’s observation at the NCC’’s 75th-anniversary dinner (News Weekly, November 2, 2017) that although its original target, communist influence in the unions, had receded into obscurity,, the principles it defends – humanity’s intrinsic worth and Christian values – remain the same.

I was reminded that when the Communist Party of Australia disbanded in the early 1980s, the academic staff of Newcastle University who had been communists promptly became greens.

If this was a more generalised phenomenon, it would go some way to explain the change in focus of the environmental movement from hands-on tackling of parochial and regional issues of direct human impact, to the one grand target of capitalism, under the guise of a worldwide environmental crisis, “global warming”. The ideologues behind the changed agenda for the NCC may in fact remain much the same.

This focus has the virtue of not requiring any modification of the lifestyles of its proponents and supporters, and providing lots of cushy jobs for global technocrats, so is of course supremely acceptable. The villains, capitalism and industry, are hobbled yet expected to provide solutions without impact on their self-righteous accusers.

Lucy Sullivan,
Celbridge, Ireland


Germany, SA follies

Renewable energy has fascinated people for many years. The sun reminds us every day of its power. Despite its potential and repeated promises of technological advances, renewable energy has been a disappointment. Australian renewable solar energy as well as other renewables remain unreliable compared to energy provided by traditional sources.

Nowhere is that clearer than in the heartland of renewable energy, Germany. Germany has long supported two incompatible ideas – engineering excellence and green totalitarianism. Angela Merkel’s support of climate alarmism, while preaching energy efficiency continues this discordant tradition.

In December the Germans saw only about 10 hours of sunshine. They suffered the same fate as South Australia recently which saw a shortage of electricity. SA was forced to import electricity from other states. The Germans were forced to import electricity from nuclear, gas and hydro sources from countries such as France, Russia, Holland and Sweden.

In Australia, to bridge the gap between traditional and renewable energy, we must not discourage or destroy traditional energy sources such as coal power.

Robert Bom,
West Rockhampton, Qld.


Darkest/finest hour

I thank Symeon Thompson for generally an accurate review of the film, Darkest Hour. Having seen the film I read the parts of Martin Gilbert’s book, Finest Hour: Winston Churchill 1939–1941, that deal with the period. From that point of view the film leaves a lot to be desired.

When Chamberlain was about to resign he wanted to nominate Halifax as Prime Minister. The film tells us that Halifax was reluctant but doesn’t tell us why. According to Gilbert, based on King George VI’s diary, Chamberlain tells the King that Halifax was reluctant “as being in the Lords he could only act as a shadow or a ghost in the Commons, where all the real work took place”. Furthermore, Labour’s Clement Attlee and Arthur Greenwood couldn’t “distinguish between the PM and Halifax, and are not prepared to serve under the latter”.

From the time Churchill becomes PM, the film portrays Chamberlain and Halifax as looking to overthrow Churchill because he wasn’t prepared to consider peace negotiations with Hitler, brokered by Mussolini. Gilbert’s account does not portray this undermining and, also, when Churchill became PM the issue of peace negotiations brokered by Mussolini did not come to the attention of the War Cabinet until 27 May 1940.

The film portrays Churchill as always opposed to a peace treaty but, nonetheless permiting a “theoretical exploration” of the prospect. However, Gilbert portrays it differently. There were five members of the War Cabinet present at the meeting to discuss the “repeated Italian request to act as an intermediary”. Apart from Churchill, Halifax and Chamberlain, Attlee and Greenwood were present. Halifax proposed agreeing to the Italian request, initially, not supported by Chamberlain. Churchill, according to Gilbert, “spoke emphatically against any negotiations”, but this did not end the discussion. Chamberlain began to support Halifax, but both Attlee and  Greenwood supported Churchill. The meeting was adjourned and was continued the next morning, by which time Churchill’s stance had been strengthened at a meeting he held with the 25 Ministers who were not members of the War Cabinet. These unanimously supported Churchill.

My understanding of what was meant by the term “theoretical exploration”, in the film, was that Halifax would sound out the Italians. Gilbert’s account gives no indication that this was agreed to by the War Cabinet.

Chris Rule,
Gilmore, ACT

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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm