Tuesday, May 19, 2015


This piece begins anchored in the current domestic debate about the Budget, but that's not what it's about.

This man doesn't even know what's coming
courtesy SMH

It's about this.

outback australia image

The new wave of computerisation of work will change everything,

As I wrote in the Canberra Times, not even journos are safe . . .

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


When one is never enough.

This column, written first, appeared today in the Canberra Times . . .

Monday, May 11, 2015


There's an inevitable tendency to regard elections as immutable; a "decision of the people's will"; something that will "change everything".

Maybe that's true.

Outside No 10 for another 5 years
Courtesy The Telegraph

This piece for the Strategist considered the two significant ways in which the UK has changed . . .

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


I'd been tempted to headline this yarn as "split over ISIL", or "Andrews and Abbott disagree about why we're in Iraq". 

Unfortunately, although possibly justified neither of these assertions are quite true. 

Defence Minister Kevin Andrews at the RUSI

When we went into Iraq Tony Abbott insisted Daesh was a "death cult".

The key point is that Andrews specifically rejected this as a reason to deploy forces. 

He drew a more logical picture of why we're involved, by distinguishing between nation-states (which, implicitly, one can deal with) and other forces (operating outside the Westphalian system), as this column for the Canberra Times details . . . 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Name Of the Rose . . .

There's a brilliant short passage at the beginning (p15) of Umberto Eco's book, the Name of the Rose, where the ageing Benedictine narrator puts down his feelings about the declining state of the world:

"the young no longer want to study anything, learning is in decline, the whole world walks on its head, blind men lead others equally blind and cause them to plunge into the abyss, birds leave the nest before they can fly, the jackass plays the lyre, oxen dance. Mary no longer loves the contemplative life and Martha no longer loves the active life, Leah is sterile, Rachel has a carnal eye, Cato visits brothels, Lucretius becomes a woman. Everything is on the wrong path . . ."

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I've been terrible in not keeping the blog up-to-date, I'm afraid. 

This is Tuesday's piece for the Canberra Times. 

Reuters image

This is about Gallipoli - or today. 

Or this column is about today - and the past . . . 

Saturday, February 14, 2015


It's possible to justify choosing any of the new submarine bids. 
The Swedish/Australian one? We did that last time and it worked. 
The French? Has the potential to go nuclear. 
The German? Worth pursuing. 
The Japanese? Possibly, but not if it locks us into an alliance with Tokyo; will be built in Japan; and if the Japanese won't explain any of the advantages publicly. 
How many hulls in this picture?
We'd be better off without one, as I suggest in this piece for the Canberra Times . . .