Soccer Shocker

Yeah, I know; “football“. Do I sound like I care?

In the lull between now and the scheduled start of The 2nd American Civil War (due once the jury are back in the Derek Chauvin trial), we can enjoy the light entertainment resulting from a group of English, Spanish and Italian soccerball clubs deciding to form an elite and exclusive breakaway super league.

Before I explain my absolute delight at this, some personal background is required and a quick description of what’s being proposed.

I’m originally English, I grew up in a city with a team that sometimes made it to the top level of wendyball, sometimes it struggled to stay afloat two divisions below. I couldn’t care less as soccerball bored the living daylights out of me. My winter sport was rugby, both to play and to watch. The thought of paying the equivalent of about a day’s wages to watch 22 millionaires in nylon shirts roll around on the floor every few minutes pretending to have been shot by a sniper, and then, after an hour and a half, for there to have been no actual result or often even any goals scored by either team, seemed a somewhat perverse way to spend one’s Saturday afternoons. Football is dull. It’s fine as a way to get nerdy kids to do some exercise in primary school but, as something grown ups should spend time and money on, there are many better activities.

Obviously, that puts me in the minority of English sports fans but I think I’ll cope with the social stigma somehow.

Over in Europe, a group of the best teams (and Tottenham) have come together with a proposal to form a breakaway league. It would seem the proposal doesn’t seek contributions from taxpayers, isn’t requiring a change in any legislation, doesn’t break any existing laws, won’t require any special treatment and is, frankly, a bunch of private entities exercising their rights to do business with each other. Fair enough, it’ll either succeed or it won’t and we’re not impacted either way. The employees of the clubs also have a free right to continue working for their club or seek employment elsewhere.

I’ll look at the English reaction specifically, mainly because my Spanish and Italian comprehension is not much use outside of a restaurant menu. Some context about those six English clubs and the league they’ve been playing in for 20 years; it’s called the Premier League (or the English Premier League or EPL) and was formed in February 2001….. following a hostile split from the previous established league. So these clubs have form, they’ve simply decided to ditch half their partners in elopement from two decades ago. The reason for the previous schism? To enable a more focused split of the revenue from TV rights negotiations.

Let’s focus in on one of the English clubs (chosen at random); Liverpool. Of the 29 players in the first team squad, it looks like 8 or 9 would be eligible to play for England. The remainder are ex-pats from various footballing nations such as Brazil, Spain, The Netherlands, some African countries and, erm, Switzerland. Of the 8 English players, I counted two who were actually from the city of Liverpool.

For reasons so far not adequately described to us, the proposal to form a new league has made many people livid. Which people?

  • Both sides of politics; both Boris and Keith have made public statements condemning it and promising to find ways to prevent it,
  • All of the clubs who weren’t invited,
  • The existing leagues and governing bodies,
  • Current sports commentators,
  • Ex-players,
  • Some fans.

Ok, so why are they upset?

An easy motivation to understand for many of the list above to object to the new league is, as Upton Sinclair might say, their salaries. If the answer to the question, “How do I get paid?” isn’t “From the new super league“, then we can be fairly certain the uninvited clubs, leagues, governing bodies, commentators and ex-players aren’t providing us quite the objective analysis they would like us to believe. Someone with more time on their hands might want to trawl back twenty years and check what loud voices such as Gary Linekar were saying about the schism resulting in the Premier League, for example. They’ve probably forgotten, so it’s going to be delicious as these historic hot takes are unearthed.

The politicians are currently providing the richest source of comedy on this, regardless of how irrelevant their opinion on who kicks a ball to whom is:

The British Prime Minister, Boris, has followed up his wonderful year of libertarianism and championing of the free market by suggesting he’s looking for ways to prevent 6 privately-owned companies and 80 employees from choosing to do business with other similar organisations and exporting English services to the EU.

The Leader of the Opposition (in name only, based on his “more lockdown, and sooner” tactics), Keith, has similarly come out with messages of sympathy for the working class and national sport of football, demanding something is done to prevent those 80 multi-millionaire athletes from changing employers.

In theory, the fans should be the only voice of authority worth listening to. What is it they’re saying? Again, if they’re fans of the clubs who’ve been left behind they’re really pissed off. The themes I’ve seen tend to be complaining about the greed of the 6 clubs and their players. Others are complaining about the damage it will do to the sport at a national level but I’ve yet to hear a coherent explanation as to why this might be the case, particularly as the English national wendyball team has been unable to beat their way out of a wet paper bag in every competition they’ve played in since 1966.

Regardless of where one stands on the desirability or not of the proposed new league, what chance do the objectors have of preventing it and how might they score this goalpoint (see, I know all the technical lingo)?

It would seem the only way clubs could be prevented would be via heavy-handed and targeted legislation at a national level. Even that might be avoided by relocating to a different jurisdiction, these clubs are not without a few quid after all.

The players will have to balance the pay rise (or perhaps even avoiding the pay cut of staying in the new domestic competition) against an inability to play for their national team, as FIFA have stated they will be barred in future. However, anyone who believes FIFA will hold the line and do the right thing, has clearly not read any news about FIFA officials for many decades. After all, he who pays the FIFA, calls the tune….

None of these genius plans seem like particularly watertight tactics to prevent Soccxit ™.

Bill’s Opinion

Just like Brexit, this upsets nearly all the right people and exposes the logical inconsistencies in their reasoning. Hopefully it’s going to be as drawn out as Brexit with a similar end result, i.e. our “betters” get a bloody nose.

The arguments against a breakaway league from a league that started life as a breakaway league are, of course ridiculous.

The complaints of corporate greed are similarly stupid, particularly when made by people who see nothing wrong with three figure ticket prices for “dead rubber” fixtures and who also said nothing when the clubs issued their third change of official shirt in a 12 month period in a blatant cash grab from the punters for another 80 quid for a thin nylon shirt with a cost price of less than a tenner.

The argument that any English soccer player will give a flying fuck about not being able to play for the English national team makes sense in theory, but in practice there’s barely any eligible players at the six clubs today and the performances of the national side over the lifetime of most people reading this would suggest it’s not considered the career peak most regular fans might hope. I suspect for years many top level English players have secretly considered the Premiership or FA Cup as much more attractive competitions than a world cup. The pay cheque for those is still massive and the likelihood of achieving it is far greater.

Finally, the people who seem most exercised by this foray into Europe by those 6 English clubs are quite closely correlated with those who were least able to accept the democratic vote to leave the EU. My advice is buy a wheelbarrow full of popcorn and enjoy the spectacle of them trying to prevent the free movement of labour, capital and trade across European borders in an ever closer union.

So, Debbie McGee, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?

The circling of the drain leading us down to the cesspool of stupidity continues to pick up speed. The evidence for this is contained in this classic example of Sailer’s First Law of Female Journalism.

That law states; The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.

I’m not going to fisk the article in detail because it is both repetitive and boring. I hope you’ll agree I’m not doing it a disservice with the TLDR version thus:

On dating apps and websites, men can often be very creepy. Sometimes this manifests itself in an expressed preference for specific physical features and racial stereotypes. Some men find Asian women attractive.

That a journalist has spotted the phenomenon of creepy men on dating sites is not particularly interesting, at least it’s a break from “reporting” celebrity Twitter spats. What’s more curious is the reasons offered and the people offering these reasons.

At the risk of being a little cruel, I do need to illustrate the reference to Sailer’s Law with some pictures. These three academics have provided explanations as to why some creepy men on Tinder prefer Asian women:

And these women have complained about creepy men on Tinder:

I think this might be some kind of Woke Purity Test that we’re not supposed to notice what is immediately obvious to anyone with eyes, or if we do, we’re not supposed to say what we see.

The first picture is of Dr. Michelle Aung Thin, who doesn’t present any empirical data to support her claim that men who find Asian women attractive do so due to “Oriental stereotypes in historical and popular culture”.

Our second picture is of Dr. Sophie Loy-Wilson, who claims men find Asian women hot due to well documented “racism against Asian women in the 19th and 20th centuries”.

The third picture is of Dr. Shawna Tang, who has managed to get inside the mind of the man who murdered workers and bystanders in an Atlanta massage business, and can categorically state it “was evidence of Asian women being the subjects of sexism and racism, which could be traced back to colonialism in Asia”…. as opposed to his well-documented struggle with evangelical Christianity and a sex addiction. Probably no need to bother with a prosecution and trial then, eh?

Bill’s Opinion

Anyone who has ever dated other humans will know there are a bunch of bloody weirdos out there, of both all genders.

It is somewhat unfortunate the three academics who claim to know for sure why some men prefer young, pretty, lithe Asian women all look like they’ve fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch face first on the way down.

I’m sure it’s just one of those strange serendipitous coincidences these academics aren’t hot yet they are certain the reasons some men like cute women can be blamed on something something Hong Kong brothels during the Opium Wars.

I suppose we’re not allowed to call it racism when (comparatively) rich white men are targeted by young women in bars across Asia as highly-desirable future spouses?

In the meantime, if you find your fingers hovering to swipe right on a profile of a cute woman on your hook up app of choice, don’t comment on her ethnicity. Say she looks like she’s got a great personality or something.

Hanlon a minute

Hanlon’s razor is a principle or rule of thumb that states “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”.

This describes my default position whenever I try to parse the statements of politicians. Only their words however, not their actions; the motivation behind these are usually painfully obvious as the trusty revealed versus expressed preferences test explains.

Politicians’ words are often a tricky minefield to navigate though. For example, should the public be wearing masks to combat the virus? Well, no AND yes and you’ll be fined if you don’t keep up with the changes.

Experience has taught me to use Hanlon’s Razor as a safe heuristic to quickly make sense of a politician’s pontificating. For a single statement made by a single politician, it’s rarely wrong. They’re all dumber than bag of hammers and usually a one off statement is simply that lack of intellect revealing itself in verbal form.

When several, seemingly unconnected, politicians make similar or even identical statements, we should probably consider being a little more sceptical of relying on Robert Hanlon’s shaving device.

For example; in the same 24 hour period, Boris Johnson claims lockdowns, not the world’s 2nd largest per capita vaccinated population, reduced deaths and Greg Hunt’s suggestion that, even if Australia ever got its shit together and vaccinated the population, we won’t be leaving the country for several years.

Well, aren’t we just living in a very connected world, eh? Two senior government officials on different sides of the globe decide to downplay the effectiveness of vaccines, one of whom has spent the previous 6 months reminding his country on a daily basis that “normality” would return once enough people had done their civic duty and had the vaccine.

Coincidence? Conspiracy? Collective incompetence? Cowardice?

Your guess is a good as mine.

The one thing we can probably bet the house on is we will not be getting on a plane to an overseas holiday or be welcoming friends and relatives from overseas any time soon, regardless of vaccination status, vaccination passports or any other factor.

Bill’s Opinion

There’s been too many of these coincidences to be ignored. From the lockstep changes over last year of every national leader’s position on masks, school closures, lockdowns, herd immunity, not overwhelming the hospitals and now the effectiveness of vaccinations, the pattern has become too obvious to be ignored.

Hanlon’s Razor suggests we should consider a kinder explanation before assuming bad intentions. My view on these frequent coincidences is now not that we have incompetent leaders, I’ve always assumed that, but they compound their stupidity with cowardice.

No democratic leader is going to risk being accused of having “blood on their hands” by returning those freedoms we used to believe were rights while there is a risk of a single death by this virus. Regardless of any other cost.

Lastly, if your income relies on incoming tourism or overseas visitors such as students, what would the rational response be to Greg Hunt’s latest statement?

Yep, close up and go do something, anything, else.

“I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if a million Australian hospitality workers cried out and were suddenly silenced

Jenna Hates men…

….who won’t fund her friends’ Quangos.

Although, it’s probably a safe bet she hates men in general. You’d likely get about 3-1 from Ladbrokes if you could bet against her misandry, particularly since the messy divorce and the birth of his new baby.

Anyway, the usual unreadable prose is offered today, relying on the tried and tested recipe of taking three unrelated reasons to clutch at pearls, then thread them together with a pure weft of golden tenuousness.

The conclusion to these appeals always seem to use the same formula too; everyone else must change and, by the way, pay.

Today, for example, something something consenting adults are having sex in Canberra, something something two allegations of sexual harassment, something something human rights, something something, you need to pay:

So much of this is easy. It’s about money. But it is also about will. And so far this government has not shown it has it. And I do not know whether even the current events are enough to push it to act. No matter what the now paused Gaetjens’ inquiry reveals, nor the Foster review nor Kate Jenkins’s review, nor last night’s embarrassments.

Bill’s Opinion

Do the left have any other emotional response than to project?

The people most likely to say words to the effect of, “the tories are fixated with money” just happen to be the ones most eager to get their hands on your money.

What’s particularly amusing is their inability to see the disconnect between the following two positions:

The government is venal, incompetent and analogous to some of the worst humans to have ever walked the planet”.

And:

This crisis requires government intervention and legislation to give them more power over our lives”.

Imagine the level of cognitive dissonance needed to simultaneously despise the power of the government but remain optimistic it’ll all be fixed once we replace them with the next lot and let them spend more of our money.

If you’ve lived long enough to suffer male pattern baldness or the menopause and you still have such childish thoughts, you may want to spend some moments in quiet reflection.

Finally, the William of Ockham solution to sexual harassment and worse in the Federal Parliament building is very straightforward; make it subject to the same legislation they’ve imposed on remote aboriginal communities and for the same reason.

Ban alcohol in the Australian Capital Territory.

What’s good for the goose is good for the Canberra.

Covid numberwang

Have we reached the point where there is any credibility left in academia or the news industry when they present numbers to us?

Here’s an example. London bus drivers three times more likely to die from Covid.

Well, that’s bad, obviously.

I came across this article because I’d been waiting for data to appear to help answer a question that’s been nagging my brain for some time. That is, what’s the relative rates of infection, hospitalisation and death for the workers who’ve been unable to work from home for the last year. I’m thinking of bus drivers and supermarket cashiers, specifically.

Read the article for yourself, but data points offered include:

  • 51 bus drivers have died of covid.
  • This equates to “three times” the rate of other workers (but the actual rate isn’t offered, nor is the denominator).
  • “….an earlier introduction of the lockdown on 23 March 2020 would have saved lives“.
  • The report confirms driving a London bus is one of the most dangerous jobs during the pandemic.”

If we accept the UK population is about 67 million, give or take a couple of million illegal immigrants, and the offical total of covid deaths is about 126,000, then the population fatality rate is just under 0.2%.

Despite the BBC article not bothering you with this detail, a search would suggest there were approximately 24,500 bus drivers in London in 2014. So, 51/24,500 x 100 = a death rate of 0.2%.

Obviously the UK-wide calculation is using the overall population, including retirees who would skew the ratio up, but also children who would skew the ratio down. But, as a sniff test, it suggests there’s not something wildly different going on with bus drivers, despite what the report claims.

The assertion that driving a bus is one of the most dangerous professions seems to be doing a little heavy lifting and one many cycle couriers and North Sea divers may want to take issue with.

The report’s conclusion seems suspiciously in line with precisely what Sadiq Khan paid them to write was expecting, i.e. evil and stupid Boris Johnson should have shut down the country earlier.

In other news, if nobody ever travelled by car again, there would be no more traffic fatalities and, in a specific example, if James Dean had taken a train instead of driving Little Bastard he might still be here today. Just because a statement is true doesn’t mean it’s helpful.

If you wish to bypass the useless reporting, the full 87 pages of the UCL report can be found here. Fair warning, it won’t improve your confidence in the existence of objective science, though.

The report attempts to parse diverse data sets on areas such as age, ethnicity, health, social status, housing, and methods of commute to work to produce a conclusion on why the death rate was so high (a prior assumption which we can challenge) and what could have been done or can still be done to ameliorate it.

Judge for yourself whether this was achieved and whether or not objective scientific analysis was used.

Bill’s Opinion

Personally, I’m none the wiser on two important questions:

Have front line workers been disproportionately infected or killed by the virus, and if so, why?

The report has convinced me of one fact, however; this is a multi-variable problem and seeking a single reason is pointless. 87 pages of pointlessness, in this case.

Some clues can be found within the report, if one looks hard enough though. Once you get past the headline conclusion of, “keeping everyone at home earlier would have stopped bus drivers from catching a virus and dying from it“, there is a tell tale admission in the second recommendation:

2) In the longer term, early interventions on ill-health prevention are needed to reduce obesity in the population as a whole, with responsible employers playing their part. In particular, measures are needed among younger London bus drivers who have higher rates than other young people of the same age.

Finally, he who pays the piper, calls the tune. This is a flawed and political study, primarily for the purpose of shifting blame on to the Mayor of London’s political opponent.

The clue is even in the organisation name, the Institute of Health Equity.

Equity. Whenever one sees that noun, it’s a clear signal you are dealing with disciples of Critical Theory and should treat the call for action with the same credibility as the Heaven’s Gate Cult.

A year on and we still can’t trust any number offered on the subject.

Australia’s lack of ambition

Stars lobby for Netflix to face 20 per cent local content quota.

Seriously? Just 20%? You’re selling your talent short, guys.

Why not 50% or even 75%? If “Australian content” is so good, surely we should be pushing for more of it? Who doesn’t like “Australian content”?

In fact, why not 89.56161 (recurring) %?

Who on earth wouldn’t want to be faced with pages and pages of Netflix options of shows featuring stars and A listers such as Simon Baker, Marta Dusseldorp, Bryan Brown and Justine Clarke?

We’ve all enjoyed their back catalogues, haven’t we?

Well, at least you’ve heard of these people, right?

Clue: Baker has starred in a USA TV crime series. As for the others, your guess is as good as mine; it’s probably safe to assume they’re panellists on some crappy quiz shows on the ABC.

Anyway, we digress.

This call for legislation mandating the origin of the entertainment offered by Netflix raises many questions. Questions such as:

  • Why is there so little Australian content on Netflix?
  • Of the existing Australian content, how popular is it with the Australian public relative to content from other countries?
  • What’s the international worth of this Australian content? Are other countries lining up to buy it off us faster than we create it?
  • Who the fuck are these so called “stars” and couldn’t they even get Huge Ackman to join them, given his track record of turning up to the opening of anything more significant than an electricity bill?

Bill’s Opinion

There’s a few things going on here. Firstly, this is a very Australian response to the reality and impact of market forces; seek government intervention in the form of protectionism, regulation and subsidies.

From car manufacturing to baked beans, there isn’t an industry in the country that, even before the luxury communism of covid, didn’t benefit from taxpayer largesse. Australia went from being a nation of ex-convict sheep farmers without a chance of leaving to a nation of farmed sheep without a chance of leaving.

More amusingly though, this is the type of lunacy we get when people who get paid to play “let’s pretend” for a living try to interfere in economics and business. That they’ll even get an audience in Canberra for this stupidity also tells us much about the IQ and real life experience of the political class.

In the meantime, anyone with an understanding of economics or recent experience with paging through reams of unpalatable viewing options of woke, race baiting, climate change pushing, unfunny, uninteresting and, frankly, preachy bollocks on Netflix, will be able to tell you what the likely unintended consequences of this will be; cancelled subscriptions.

If your “Australian content” is so good, sell it to us and the world like France does with series like Bureau des Legendes or Dix Pour Cent. Don’t force it on us like medicine.

Toot toot chugga chugga big red car….

Consent craving

As is often the case, multiple stories on a similar theme are suspiciously appearing in the media and on people’s Creepbook feeds at the same time.

Exploring the reasons behind the coincidence of the trend, the narrative, can be the theme of another day.

Meanwhile, the current cause du jour is sexual harassment, rape and murder of women by men.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but I’m certain we can all agree those are bad things. Reducing them from our societies should be high on the priority list of everyone.

Note, I didn’t say “eliminate”.

It seems to me, the nexus of anger is to be found between the concepts of reduce and eliminate.

There’s clearly anger. Anger at the murder of Sarah Everard, anger at multiple sexual assaults and allegations of sexual assault by various political workers in Canberra, anger at domestic violence and the fact it’s committed mainly (but not exclusively) by men.

One of the banners at the Australian protest stated we should, “End Rape Now”. I would love to hear the placard owner’s thoughts on how a transition to that world might be achieved.

Banners at the London protests took issue with the fact it isn’t always safe for a lone female to walk on the street.

These statements of protest are clearly well-intentioned uses of rhetoric and hyperbole, but are they helping?

To return to that nexus; if you believe a world with zero rapes is possible, calling for a curfew for men would make sense.

If you rejected that idea, though, the screaming around the theme “all men are rapists” has the effect of drowning out a more sober discussion about practical actions to achieve reduction.

A related conversation was had between a group of fellow parents at our local high school recently; “the school should teach our children about consent“, was the cry.

An unpopular opinion was offered by one foolish soul:

a) I send my kids there to learn maths, English and science. I’ll teach morality, thanks.
b) If your kid doesn’t already know how to respect other people’s bodies by Year 7, YOU are the problem.
c) “Consent” has a specific legal definition which no teacher I’ve met would be capable of teaching in a one hour struggle session.
That went down like a cup of cold vomit, obviously.

Bill’s Opinion

Unusually for Spiked, this is sensible take on the problem.

It is not safe to walk home alone. It’s never been safe to walk home alone. Regardless of whether you are female or, and I cannot stress this strongly enough, male.

As Brett Weinstein stated recently, we are all descendants of rapists and murderers. The statistical probability you aren’t is so unlikely it’s not a credible option. Genetically, we have the capability within us. The miracle is that it doesn’t happen with much greater frequency.

To consider a zero rape world feasible is to believe millions of years of genetics can be overridden for 100% of the population 100% of the time.

If this describes your view, may I politely suggest you meet more human beings.

If you have a son, teach them to keep their hands to themselves unless invited. If you have a daughter, teach them most men are lovely, but some are cunts and they don’t often wear badges to explain which group they are a member of.

In the meantime, if you want to feel safe walking the streets, don’t do it after 6pm if there’s a “man curfew”; the men who stay home won’t be the ones you need to be concerned about.

Meghanivelli’s The Prince

Marry him or marry me

I’m the one that loved you baby can’t you see?

Ain’t got no future or family tree

But I know what a prince and lover ought to be

I know what a prince and lover ought to be

When is a prince not a prince?

This may be a silent question in many British minds currently.

When you “resign” from being a prince, do you cease being a prince?

What if we say you’re no longer a prince? Or the royal family say you’re no longer a prince?

Perhaps you cease to act in a way we would associate as “princely“? Still a prince?

Yes, probably.

Plato’s work on ideas and forms might help us here. Or, for those who are “bears of little brain“, like me, let’s think about my Grandad’s broom instead:

Grandad broke the shaft of the broom and replaced it. A few years later, the brush of the broom was too bare to be usable, so he replaced that. The broom was handed to my father who, in turn, had to replace the shaft and the brush a couple of times. I have the broom now and I’ve replaced both components too.

Is it still my Grandad’s broom?

As an idea, yes. As a form, no.

The British monarchy is something that doesn’t usually exercise my mind. When I think of it at all, I consider its current iteration as being of marginally more benefit than cost.

Why?

Similar to the way the US constitution uses the concept of God as a source of inalienable human rights, the UK unwritten constitution has evolved to view the Queen as the omnipresent benevolent figurehead, due considerably to her incredible personal discipline of keeping well out of matters of current affairs.

The corollary of this is the Napoleonic code in Europe, where human rights come from the government. Anyone who’s ever met a politician would find that concept repellent if they thought about it for a moment.

This burden of stoic and silent “duty” clearly sits uncomfortably on the shoulders of the following generation of royals. Charles has at various times expressed many half-baked opinions on climate, architecture, town planning and agriculture.

William wants us to stop having as many children as him, because he’s learned about Robert Malthus.

And Harry’s opinions are, well, whatever the fuck Meghan tells him they are.

Bill’s Opinion

“Prince” Harry is still a prince and, unfortunately for all of us, will be until and after he dies in a tragic road traffic accident on the way to the 2023 rugby World Cup final in Paris.

One has to have some sympathy for the fellah, though. Apart from the glaringly obvious massive privilege of his birth into a level of luxury and comfort us plebeians can only dream of, he was also handed the disadvantages of being a bit dim and ginger.

This seems like an impossible version of the game, “would you rather?”. Would you rather be poor and intelligent or massively wealthy and thick as mince? Tougher to pick than a broken nose.

Basically, he’s that mate you know who woke up one Sunday morning next to a “10” and then burned every bridge of friendship and family in order to keep her. Anyone who tried to suggest to him that her personality was attractive in inverse proportionality to her looks was ostracised immediately, preferably in a loud virtuous display to further prove his love and devotion to his girlfriend.

If the white Fiat Uno doesn’t get him on Le Peripherique, he’ll most likely top himself about three months after she grows bored of him. I’ll give it another two years, maximum.

“What about justice for the victim?”

For those of you (about half, looking at the stats) outside of Australia, a quick catch up on the background of this story:

It has been alleged a senior Federal Minister raped a girl in 1988. The woman committed suicide last year. The police have investigated the rape allegation and have found no evidence compelling enough to recommend prosecution.

Whatever the truth is, the situation is tragic. Tragic because a person was so disturbed they felt their only option was to end their life, and tragic because a man has a cloud of suspicion hanging over him but he and we have no way of seeking closure, either via a conviction of a crime or full exoneration.

Such is the imperfect world of criminal justice, unfortunately. That it happens all the time doesn’t make it any more tolerable, but there’s not a huge list of credible alternate systems with which we could replace the current version.

Many column inches have been partisanally hacked out on the subject, with the predictable red team/blue team split determining whether one is suddenly in favour of creating a shadow justice system or a moralistic championing of “the rule of law”. We could take these opinions seriously if they were in the context of a back catalogue of previously applying the same standard to their own side.

Very few, if any, are.

One such example is the TV appearance on ABC’s QandA of MP Anne Aly. She interrupted an opponent’s defence of the legal system with the words, “What about justice for the victim?“, scoring a solid 9/10 as a soundbite on the ABC’s show, which, as anyone who can tolerate watching it knows, is a show designed purely for soundbites rather than epistemology.

However, as a statement likely to take the sum total of human knowledge forward, it scores minus 1 million out of ten.

It’s a perfect example of the loaded question fallacy. The question assumes a crime has been committed and the victim is the female. Neither of which has been actually proven.

We expect our politicians, almost all of whom have no real world experience, to be partisan hacks. Their incentives are set to deliver such outcomes, so it’s unsurprising when we receive such mendacity.

What remains of journalism is delivering similar one-eyed tosh, too. Here’s one at the Grauniad which conflates three totally separate issues and ties them up with an obvious and predictable bow of duh patriarchy.

Humour me for moment as I lay out Katherine Murphy’s three unrelated topics:

1. Julia Gillard’s “misogyny speech” – more on this below.

2. A current ongoing rape investigation – let’s hope due process is followed.

3. An allegation from 1988 – the weak argument leaning on Le Coefficient de Gillard.

The Gillard speech is this particular type of journalist’s emergency grab bag whenever there’s a weak argument requiring support.

What they choose not to realise is the world divides into two groups;

1. People who think Gillard’s speech was analogous to MLK’s “I have a dream”, and

2. Those who saw it as a desperate ad hominem attack to divert from the awkward fact she was a dead duck PM relying on a highly compromised MP to cling to power.

Nobody in the history of the world has ever been convinced of an argument by being directed to Le Coefficient de Gillard.

Bill’s Opinion

Whilst legally obliged to vote in Australia, I choose to spoil my vote with increasingly realistic depictions of genitalia.

The reason for my conscientious objector status to casting a vote is because I am holding out for a voting option of a candidate who is willing to explain a standard and show they are prepared to hold their own side to it.

When they arrive on the ballot paper, I’ll vote for them.

In the meantime, if your view is, for this exceptional case of an allegation from the year before Taylor Swift and the entire cast of Hogwarts were born, we should suspend our justice system and do something else, perhaps you want to look around at your closest male friends and family and ask yourself, is this the future standard you want them to be held to?

Just expanding on this, do you want your father, brother or husband to be expected to resign from their job because of an unproven allegation from 32 years ago?

Alternatively, perhaps let’s accept the imperfect current system of criminal justice as the best we’ve found to date. If you have an alternative, you are more than welcome to describe it and start a movement to persuade us. Please keep Chesterton’s Fence front of mind if you do, though.

Jenna Hates MOPs

Today’s target of stern disapproval is a piece of legislation that performs no function other than enabling Ministers to hire staff.

The emerging facts as we know them:

Yet another Liberal Party staffer has alleged she was sexually assaulted by a parliamentary colleague, this time in Parliament House.

Yeah, that’s bad. It’s only 18 months since a similar alleged incident occurred in the offices of the same political party.

To be fair to Jenna Hates, she nearly continues along a non-partisan route of argument as if she might be interested in seeking truth:

Is the Liberal Party the worst workplace in the world? Is Labor any better? Can women only speak out after they leave?

That’s the second last time we hear about Jenna Hates’ side of the aisle though.

At the beginning of 2020, the Liberal Party released its National Code of Conduct, which insists any victim of criminal conduct should report the complaint to the police and parliamentary staffers should refer the matter to Parliament or government departments. Labor is in the final stages of updating its code of conduct and harassment policies and procedures. In its draft form, it at least says it will support the victim through the complaints process.

So, in summary; the code of conduct says “if the law is broken, tell the police“. Labor’s forthcoming version may add the coda, “and we will support you“. Lovely.

Jenna Hates seems to have also spotted a reversal of William Wilberforce’s famous campaign success:

Parliamentary staffers are the Uber drivers of the political process – they have no rights at work. They are hired and fired at the whim of the member of Parliament, under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act (MOPS).

The staff have no rights at work?

Wait. What??

What is this legislation that makes indentured labourers out of political staffers? Has anyone informed the UN or the International Court of Justice in The Hague?

This is the act of parliament she’s referring to. It may be worth a few moments of your time reading it (which would be more effort than Jenna Hates bothered to invest). The spoiler is, there’s nothing in the legislation giving immunity of prosecution for criminal acts nor overturning existing workers’ rights. It’s basically a vehicle allowing Ministers to use public funds to employ staff. That’s it.

Sadly, the premise Jenna Hates has wasted a column to assert is simply not true; the staff have all the protections any other junior employee has in the workplace.

The problem Jenna Hates has missed is these simply aren’t effective when very junior staff with huge ambitions are put in an environment with more senior staff with bad intentions and these two elements are mixed with alcohol. Taxpayer funded free alcohol too.

What has been alleged to have happened is simply what is always a risk in every workplace across the country when the edges are blurred between professional life and social life.

Bill’s Opinion

If Jenna Hates could think in a non-partisan way for just five minutes she would realise the alleged rapes and sexual assaults are not a problem unique to one political party, one parliament, one city or even just one country.

This is a uniquely human problem which can be reduced but is unlikely to ever be completely avoided.

If she were serious about preventing rape in the Federal Parliament, she’d write a column calling for an end to taxpayer funded parliamentary piss ups rather than trying to suggest the staff in Canberra are plantation workers being abused by the slave owners.

Then at least she wouldn’t be guilty of knowingly funding a rape culture with her taxes if that change were then to occur.*

* That’s a joke, I don’t really think she’s funding rapes, I’m just playing by her idiotic debating rules.