All posts by Noel Turnbull

UK problems much bigger than Thames Water

England’s sewage problems are not only much bigger than those of Thames Water (see the last blog) but they also characterise broader policy failure across the nation.

Private Eye cartoon

(cartoon copyright Private Eye)

Moreover, Thames Water’s financial and sewage troubles are shared by other UK water companies and are now even creating what some are dubbing a Truss-style borrowing crisis. read more

The great vampire kangaroo and Thames Water

The UK’s Thames Water – infamous for pumping raw sewage into waterways – parent company has now defaulted on its debt.

Why should the failure of a UK water company be of interest to Australia and Australians? First, because it illustrates the failure of many privatisations to improve service and performance. Second, because it is symptomatic of problems throughout the UK not only in the water industry but also other services – from railways to NHS supplies. read more

Some reflections on Anzac Day and military service

As Anzac Day is less than 24 hours away I wanted to reflect on the day – as I do each year.

By the way, the blog doesn’t usually use the perpendicular pronoun, as regular readers would know, but this post seemed to require it.

Having watched my father march a number of times, and once taken the children to see him marching, I’ve only ever participated in one Anzac Day service, and that was as the guest speaker. Although I did participate in the Sydney and Melbourne Welcome Home marches – and also in the anti-war Moratorium marches – as did many other veterans. read more

Bring on the republic and spare us from the tabloids

There is nothing quite like the English tabloids. Vulgar, insensitive, intrusive, partial, guilty of illegal phone tapping and the hiring of private investigator to look at the lives of celebrities, politicians and others.

Insensitivity was perhaps epitomised by The Sun’s headline Gotcha after the sinking of the Argentinian cruiser General Belgrano and its blatant warmongering about the fate of a small island with some sheep farmers. read more

The Age of Eco-Anxiety

Back in 1947 the W.H. Auden poem, The Age of Anxiety, was published a year after he renounced his British citizenship for US citizenship.

Today the title could encompass an omnibus of community concerns and has also now led to awareness of what is being called eco-anxiety. That condition is the subject of significant research much of it summarised by Helen Pearson in a Nature article The Rise of Eco-Anxiety (11/4). read more

Abortion and the Presidential election

It looks increasingly likely that abortion will be one of the defining issues of the 2024 US Presidential election – and probably the Congressional ones as well.

Donald Trump seems to have realised that and is oscillating between claiming credit for Roe v Wade while frantically trying to pretend that states like Alabama have gone too far. read more

ABC beat up makes a zephyr into a tornado

In journalism and politics there are beat ups every day of the week.  But some are so outrageous that they make a zephyr breeze look like a tornado.

The ABC and others recently reported that Labor was losing support in the Calwell seat due to what they see as Labor’s support for Israel.

The evidence – two focus groups with 18 people in each conducted by the Redbridge Group. The conclusion from this massive sample was that Labor is rapidly losing support among Muslim voters over Canberra’s support for Israel and its war on the Gaza Strip and its citizens. read more

Nudge and climate change – a reappraisal

The use of nudge theory’s influence in politics was highlighted in a 2008 book by the economist Richard Thaler and legal scholar Cass Sunstein. It was an open invitation to governments to employ ‘nudge’ units which would magically convince the population to do the ‘right thing’ and avoid problems such as legislation and community backlash. read more

What do Australians think? Part 3 – Trust, politics, work and religion

If there is one thing the AuSSA survey shows is that the Liberal Party is out of step with women along with things such as religion.

Most respondents to the survey say they think equal opportunities for women have not gone far enough or not gone nearly far enough. But the Liberal Party might be heartened by the finding by the minority who believe it has gone much too far and the few who think is has just gone too far. read more

What do Australians think part 2 – family, work and politics

When it comes to helping the elderly with their everyday lives – from house cleaning to grocery shopping – most think government agency should be responsible followed by families. There is also overwhelming support for public funds to help the cost of caring for the elderly.

When asked about how many days a week people spend personally on household work (not including childcare) the cluster is around 10 hours with a similar amount of time looking after family members (eg children, elderly or disabled family members) although for some reason a tiny minority seem to spend more than 80 hours a week on it. This work seems to be fairly well shared between spouses. read more