Make a Difference

Day: January 25, 2009

Gay MPs Demand Death Sentence for Disagreeing With Them

No that is not an overstatement. Members of the European Parliament have called for the suspension of all aid to Nigeria following the Nigerian Parliament’s unanimous support for legislation prohibiting marriage between persons of the same gender.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country. Despite recent reforms, it still needs help to overcome violence, poverty, lack of educational, transport and medical infrastructure, etc. A reduction in aid will mean less support for local agriculture, fewer medical resources, reductions in vaccination programmes. People will die.

I have encountered the same kind of liberal love and inclusiveness in some church and environmental groups. All the talk is of tolerance and valuing diversity. Until someone actually expresses a divergent opinion.

And by the way, I have a gay brother, and brother in law, whom I love dearly.

Why Can’t the Liberals Win an Election?

Or even a single seat in a by-election? How many elections now is it since the Liberals had a victory? (Not counting the minority government of Colin Barnett in WA).

For non-Australian readers, the Liberals are the conservative party in Australia – we’re on the opposite side of the world, so this is perfectly logical, really.

But some things to note about the Frome by-election (South Australia’s first since 1994).

First, it may still be too close to call, with only thirty votes between the leading candidates, and the certainty of a recount.

Second, there were three conservative candidates: the Liberal Party’s Terry Boylan, the National’s Neville Wilson, and popular Mayor of Port Pirie, the independent Geoff Brock. The conservative vote was thus split three ways. The National Party candidate directed preferences to Geoff Brock, who appears to have won the seat. If those preferences had been given to Terry Boylan, he would have won comfortably.

Third, despite Premier Mike Rann’s claim that the result (the first ever loss of a by-election in SA by the opposition) is devastating for the Liberals, there was a net loss of 16% in the Labor Party vote.

While losing the seat is disappointing for the Liberal party, the result, with its massive loss in the primary Labor vote, is surely much more concerning for the Labor Party.  A swing of even half this amount across the state would see the return of the Liberals to power.

That said, this does confirm there are some real issues for the Liberals. The Liberal Party, both state and federal, has continuing difficulties finding credible leadership, and maintaining clear policies which are distinguishable from those of the Labor Party.

To regain their position as the pre-eminent political force in Australia, the Liberals need: strong leadership; clear and consistent conservative policies; to reinvigorate their partnership with the Nationals; to take more note of local issues; and to be more open to fielding popular local candidates.

Simple really.

What Lifting Excommunication Means

It does not mean the Church agrees with every opinion expressed by the person concerned. It does not mean the person has been ‘reinstated.’ It simply means that the Church no longer regards the person as being outside its fellowship, and therefore excluded from salvation (always allowing for the hope in the constant mercy of God, it should go without saying).

So there is no reason at all for anyone to be up in arms because the Pope has lifted the excommunication of any person who has reaffirmed his commitment to Christ, even if that person happens to be a compete idiot who would do himself and the Church a big favour if he left his moronic opinions unsaid.

Why is This News?

Debt collectors chase outstanding school fees.

In the category of making a flock of pigs out of a sow’s ear, the article claims that parents are unable to pay fees because of the worsening economic situation. This despite the Association of Independent Schools specifically saying they haven’t noticed any increase in the number of parents having difficulty making payment, and that this time of year typically sees some schools taking action to recover outstanding debts.

Oh Yeah, That’ll Work

Hamas says it will be the only body to oversee relief efforts in Gaza.

Given Hamas’ record in the prompt and careful delivery of aid, giving this job to some other organisation might produce a better outcome for the people of Gaza.

Mahmoud Abbas says (of course) that the Palestinian Authority should be in charge of relief efforts. The PA has a history of indolence and corruption, but at least they are not formally committed to the destruction of all Jews, everywhere. So there is some realistic prospect for peace between Israel and a Palestinian State lead by the PA.

But there has been a serious decline in the already poor relationship between Hamas and the PA, with reports over a hundred Fatah members in Gaza have been murdered by Hamas in the last few weeks, many of them tortured to death, and at least three having had their eyes gouged out. This makes it seem likely that giving the PA responsibility for aid distribution in Gaza would lead to renewed fighting, with the potential for much greater loss of life than in Hamas’ conflict with Israel.

Egypt or Jordan are not likely to want to take responsibility for aid distribution, when this would expose them to violent retribution from Hamas, and by proxy Iran. Much as I hate to say it, this may be a time when direct UN responsibility for the distribution of aid is the only option likely to produce positive outcomes for the people of Gaza.

More on aid from Israel to Gaza: “More than 37,000 tons of staple foodstuff and emergency medical supplies entered the Gaza Strip through one Israeli crossing from the time Israel began its military offensive until it declared a unilateral cease-fire on January 17.”

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