Sunday, September 30, 2012

Galah in the pet shop

I laugh a little when some top notch journalist PR staffer tells us that "all politicians lie" and that we voters know that and we don't even mind so much.

Hilarious.  Or it would be if it were true.  The truth is that we *despise* politicians who lie.  And we also seriously dislike their spin and associated stunts that are designed to get us to pay attention to them.  If you don't believe me then #asktony.

But in the "old days" the lies and the spin didn't last very long - they were perishable thoughts ;-)  And the permanent record was difficult to find after the event - and so the politician's outrageous lie tended to be forgotten after a few days.

And while the mainstream media still control that record - and don't resurrect it very often - there is a new kid on the block.

Bob Carr calls it the "Galah in the pet shop".

There are a few citizen bloggers who take the time to record the misdeeds and the BS of our politicians and their cheerios in the media - and to make comment about it from time to time.  And we sometimes manage to re-play those misdeeds long after said politician hoped they had been forgotten.

For example - I am sure that "big Joe" thought that this little lie would have disappeared off the radar by now.   I am pretty sure that the voters of North Sydney will be interested enough to see if he does it again next time.

And if he does then I am willing to bet that the outcome will be a lot different.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Yeah - in my dreams

One of the main reasons that our politicians don't do enough to bulletproof our economy - is because they don't know what to do - take you for granted.

Because they are consumed with staying in office.  The primary focus of politicians is to win elections and to keep on winning them.  All so they can keep their snouts firmly embedded in the trough.  And when they have finished with that then they get shuffled off to a diplomatic post somewhere where they can swan about and spend your money without having to be accountable to you.

Their KPI's are built around electoral success - which is mainly about beating the opposition every three or four years - instead of developing and enhancing their communities and providing opportunity and security for their constituents.

And unfortunately many voters have unwittingly bought into this same shitty deal.  Large numbers of voters are "rusted on" to a particular political party and its ideology.  Or at least some imaginary marketing enhanced interpretation of its ideology.

It's as though these "rusted ons" have lost the ability to "understand" and "think" about alternatives.  They vote in a particular way - always have done - and always will do.  It's how the political parties have designed and built and operate our polity Virginia.

The "rusted on" attitude is exploited by politicians - who do crazy stuff in an attempt to capture the undecided vote.

The best example of this that I can think of is the Liberal's "climate change denial" policy.  Complete BS gets promoted because Mr Abbott knows that rusted on Liberals won't defect - and he might have a chance to add a few more "crazies" to his collection of "rusted ons" by announcing that climate change is "crap".

Does it work?  I don't know - but he thinks it does ;-)  Too bad about the planet.

The best way to get politicians to start talking and acting sensibly will be to stop being "rusted on".  Take some time to listen to and understand your local candidates and their political parties - and then vote accordingly.

Put the wind up them and make them develop and offer up policies that are in the interests of the nation and the people.  Introduce some reverse fear into the election process - where the politicians are fearful that the voters won't elect them until they start to behave.

Yeah - in my dreams.

PS: Matt Taibbi has a much better political story - here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dimwits in charge

Today Standard & Poor’s downgraded South Australia's credit rating to "AA" from "AA+" - whatever that means.  But I suspect that little game ain't over yet Virginia.

That particular state has been in terminal decline for decades - the local polity is so broken that there is just no possibility that a "white knight" will turn up to rescue the place anytime soon.

As in most Australian states the type of person who is attracted to state politics - is not the type of person who is needed to get the place working again.

What’s needed is a vision and a collection of ideas and some comprehensive understanding of how to execute them.  I will return to that in another post.  In the meantime you might like to type the word "innovation" into the search box on my blog and hit Enter - or even read this.

Instead what we have is a political class and a bureaucracy in terminal decline - who's only purpose, has become to chase revenue, obfuscate and annoy hapless citizens.

Here is a small example.  Recently I was cruising along in my classic Citroen on one of the least congested and most remote highways in the state - when a police cruiser clocked me for being over the 110 km/h speed limit.  Fair enough I was doing 124 km/h.  The situation was safe and neither I nor anyone else was in danger - and the fine was $320.00.

In my opinion - the penalty is way out of proportion to the crime.  The thing that gets in my craw are the arbitrary numbers that are involved.  So why isn't the speed limit 112.345 km/h - for example.  And "who" is to say what is safe - and what isn't.  Not the highway patrolman - whose *only* interest was filling out the revenue form and checking paperwork.

It is sickening to realise that we citizens are being screwed silly - all to feed the dumb-arsed political machine.

But my complaint will make no difference - because in a couple of years the incumbents will get turfed out and another set of dimwits will be in charge and there won't be any corporate memory to guide them either.

The only question is "Why do we tolerate it"?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cranks and Crazies

An issue that we will need to deal with soon is the fact that our political parties have inserted themselves between the people and the parliament.

These days it's the political parties that *control* our polity.  They decide who gets to sit in the parliament, who gets to call themselves "dear leader" and which policies are offered up to the people at election time.

And because "not paying attention to politics" is baked into our culture - we voters haven't even noticed that anything is amiss.

But even with all that Mr Abbott finds himself between a rock and a hard place because his state Liberal colleagues have selected, endorsed and even managed to get quite a few *cranks and crazies* elected.

They usually populate the Senate - because Australians are apparently less interested in who gets to occupy those seats.  I would love to see a real analysis of Australian voters' knowledge of the Senate - it would probably blow your mind Virginia.

Recently we saw a South Australian Senator implode and there are a few others  scattered across the political landscape waiting for the right moment to claim their 15 minutes of fame.  I am personally wanting to hear the Lib Senate leader from Tasmania tell us his version of the *facts of life* ;-)

We already know that many Australian's will vote against their own personal interest - when confronted with glitter and shiny stuff and Lib BS.  The problem for the Libs is that they thought they owned the crazies - and could control them.  But it appears they were mistaken.

The crazies are just using the Libs to climb the ladder of opportunity - it's going to burn them and the voters who aren't paying attention - but it's hilarious to watch.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

F*ck You Australia

When Mr Abbott tells Coalition Members of our Parliament in both the House of Reps and the Senate - that he won't tolerate them *freelancing* - what he is really saying is "F*ck You Australia".

He thinks that as so-called Leader of the Liberal Party that he is entitled to tell your elected members what to do, how to think and what to say.

And most of your Liberal and National MP's apparently agree - because they tug their forelock and say yes sir - no worries sir - as long as you get us back into government sir - so we can get our snouts back into the public trough sir.

When the Australian Federation was created there was no thought for "political parties" or even for "political party leaders".  The intent of the founding fathers was to create a House of Representatives and a Senate - comprised of individual members who were elected by your vote - and who were accountable only to you and the other voters in their electorate.

The idea was that these House and Senate MP's would offer up to you and the other voters a compelling value proposition that would cause you and the majority of the rest of the voters to prefer them over the competing candidates - at election time.

Our founders designed a parliament where local competition was expected to result in a diverse and high quality selection of candidates being elected and sent to Canberra - to make important decisions for and on behalf of the nation and it's people.

And there was no concept of your elected Member being part of a "Marketing Franchise" - like McDonalds or KFC or Harvey Norman.

And yet that is how things have turned out.

Our MP's were supposed to think and act and behave in the "National Interest" and what we have discovered this week is that Mr Abbott thinks *he* can tell them what to do.

The "National Interest" seems to have somehow been replaced with "Mr Abbott's interest".

Funny but I can't recall ever being asked to vote for that - what about you?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Appalling

I am talking about the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.

Now I like to think that I am a reasonably astute and technically aware individual - I have been working with information technology for nearly forty years - and I have run a couple of statistical analysis software companies.

But I just can't navigate the ABS website.  It is impossible to find any real data at a state, regional or local level.  It is easily the most inconsistent and overloaded website that I have *ever* experienced.

For goodness sake - whoever is in charge - employ some proper design folks and let them determine the layout of your web pages.  Start again - because most of us have no idea what a Catalogue Number even is.

The ABS people might know something about data and statistics - but they clearly know nothing about data presentation and category navigation - let alone user interfaces.

It's one thing to have a high quality national statistics organisation - but it all counts for nothing if you can't disseminate the information.

Lets get this fixed now - for everyone's sake.

Slow Thinking Conservatives

Some of you will know that I spend a bit of time in South Australia - because I have family there and it's where I do a bit of *boat building*.

Mostly I hang out in a little seaside village that is hidden away from the rest of the world.  And that is just how the locals like it.

The location is great and the weather is mostly good but the place suffers in other ways.

Take politics for example.

The place is seriously conservative - like much of regional Australia.  Both the State ‫and Federal MP's are "right wing" conservative Liberals and it has been that way for ever.  The really scary thing is that many locals don't even know what that descriptor means.  You think I am kidding don't you, Virginia ;-)

The current State MP has the second safest seat in the State parliament - with something like a 26% margin.  He could be a cardboard cutout and the locals would still elect him.  There are a few who think he is.

It reminds me of Michael Moore's attempt to get a Ficus elected to Congress.

Which brings me to my point.  Infrastructure - or rather the lack of it.

Over the past 42 years - the Liberal conservatives have been in charge for 12 years and Labor has run the State for 30 years.  That's 2.5 to 1 in favor of Labor.

Interestingly, those numbers also reflect the infrastructure investment that has been made in this place.  It's been woefully underfunded - particularly the important areas like education and health - don't even think about roads and water supply.

I suppose there will come a time when the locals will realise that they have been short-changed as a result of their political choices.  But I sometimes do wonder if anyone who lives there is actually paying attention?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Conservative Soulmates

Like their soulmates in the US and the UK - our conservative party has gone seriously off the rails.

The US Republicans and the UK Tories and the AU Liberals have been taken over by the mad right wing.  They have installed ideological and cultural warriors across their leadership teams and are doing their best to convince their constituents to "vote against" their own personal interests.

Dingbat right wing policies sometimes gain a little traction - because the full effect and intent is seldom advertised upfront.  It is only when the people actually develop an understanding of the impacts - that they realise they have been screwed.  Fortunately the process of learning and understanding is helped along when an arrogant State Premier can't help himself - and abuses his position ;-)

After which the people usually work the game out rather quickly.  Thanks for that Campbell.

The Liberal game plan is now pretty obvious to everyone.  And the amazing thing is that it has been discredited everywhere else that it has been tried.  Don't believe me - check out the impact of the Tories version of *austerity* on the UK economy?  The place has been royally stuffed.

Like when was it actually in the interests of the people and the nation to slash and burn the public service and sack public employees?  When was it in the national interest to hand vast sums of government money to international corporations to do the work of those public employees?  And who actually voted for any of that anyway?

The job of our political class is to look out for the nation and for the people.  But conservative politicians don't worry about any of that - because they worship at a different altar.

Might be a good time to revisit the intent of R.G. Menzies when he established the Liberal Party.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dingbat Ideology

Australian conservative politicians are going a bit ratty on us.  You can see evidence of that in the recent behaviour of SA Opposition Leader, Isobel Redmond.

She had a serious "brain fade" recently and let the cat out of the bag about her intent to demolish the public sector when the Liberals get into government.  She said that she wants to sack 25,000 public servants.  And when that became public knowledge - she recanted and said it was all a mistake.  Sure it was, Virginia.

Her soulmates in Vic and NSW and QLD have already begun to slash and burn the public sector.  Her only mistake was mentioning it.

All because Liberals have been captured by a dingbat right wing ideology that has it's origins with the tea baggers in the US Republican party.  They basically want to reduce government down to nothing and the quickest way to do that is get rid of the people who run the place.

Notice how they always want to sack the public servants - never the politicians?

They much prefer those "magical" budget surpluses to employing people or even educating their constituents or keeping them healthy and safe.  If you can kill the memory of how things work then you can re-build government in your own crazy image.

And their constituents don't yet know that this is really about the transfer of wealth to the *private* sector.  Sure the Liberals will decimate the public sector but they will also *outsource* many government functions to their mates in the "white shoe" brigade.

If you think that government is bad - wait until you see government services delivered by charlatans and crooks - trying to maximise their *performance* pay.

And it's not just the state Liberals who are doing it.  Mr Abbott has a similar - and much larger and more dangerous - plan.  His mates at the IPA inadvertently released his roadmap this week - which contains about 75 things that he will slash and burn.

They even confirmed this one.

Look it's fair enough for opposition's to have a different plan for government.  The only problem with the Liberals agenda is that they aren't up-front about their intentions.

They think they will sneak back into government under false pretenses and then slash and burn the place - and that Australians will be happy to let them.

I don't think so.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Design Tools

There has been a bit of discussion around the software tools that I use for by boat design projects.  So I thought that I would expand on some of those capabilities here.

The key design philosophy that I have adopted is to design and build "hi-tech" boats using "low-tech" and mostly "sustainable" materials.  So I am primarily interested in using plywood and other timber products - usually held together with epoxy and often with glass and sometimes Kevlar or other semi exotic skins.  I try to minimise the use of carbon fibre (cost) - but usually have a bit of it in each project.  I am currently testing some green (non petroleum based) epoxy products - and they look promising.

I am not interested in using solid fibreglass or other carbon intensive or petroleum based materials.  I have been using a bit of aluminium but have recently moved to lightweight steel space frames instead.  Too early to tell how successful that will be.

Basically I have four main pieces of software in my design kitbag.

* Hullform - for the hydrostatic related elements - to analyse the model hull displacement and related things.  I have used Hullform for many years now.  A couple of years ago Peter Rye made the source code available and I spent a bit of time building my own custom version which I have compiled under MinGW on Windows.

All my custom software is built with the GNU tools - because they just work.

* MOI - for the graphics design and physical layout.  This is easily the best 3D modelling software on the planet.  I have tried everything from the so called "industry standard" 2D CAD (mostly rubbish) to high end 3D Modelling and nothing even comes close - when designing a complex structure - quickly and accurately.  The thing that I really like is that it just works and keeps working.  It won't crash and destroy your model.  Michael Gibson is a bit of a hero - he has built a great product and deserves our support.  If you are interested in 3D modelling then you can do a lot worse than to use MOI.

* Monoc - my custom software to help with the analysis and design of my custom *monocoque* timber structures.  These are basically bonded plywood cores on laminated frames with longitudinal stringers - all wrapped in glass and sometimes poly or Kevlar skins - glued and encapsulated in epoxy.  I built this years ago and revisit it from time to time as product circumstances change.  It allows for optimisation of the final hull and deck monocoque structure - to achieve maximum stiffness with minimum weight.

* Perform - Someone else's custom software to analyse the *performance* of the combined "hull" and "rig" design - over a dozen or so standard but typical courses.  So what this does is simulate the sailing performance of the current design which then allows comparison and analysis between a number of competing designs.  A process of testing and elimination finds the best performing model.

So when we are close to the end point of any particular design then we will usually have been through an iteration of more or less than a dozen models.  The published design is usually the standout of that process.

PS - Nothing to do with boat design - but these guys are pushing the envelope with their design innovation.  Do any Australian's know why this can't/won't happen in Australia?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Escape Machine

When my day job takes me "on the road" and I have settled into my hotel room for the evening, I sometimes grab a nice bottle of wine - put my *boat design* hat on and think about what my next "escape machine" might look like.  Then I fire up my design tools and build a virtual version of it.

And when I get some time between work gigs then I can usually be found in my *workshop* actually building one of them.  Here and here are a couple that I prepared earlier.

Actually that's not strictly correct - this one is still in the shed - should be in the water later this year.

I know that engineering design and creativity and innovation are supposed to be dead in this country - but I can't help myself ;-)

The thing that makes it all work are the tools and the *knowledge* and the people who create them and use it.  These days it is possible to design any physical object by first creating a 3D model - and only building the real thing after you have proved and de-bugged the virtual design.  It's called virtual prototyping.  And surprisingly, it doesn't require tens of millions of dollars to be paid to US Corporations as incentives ;-)

I am guessing that our tertiary education institutions are all over this like a rash - doing their utmost to help our industry compete.  Or at least they would be if they didn't have *moron* right wing state government's slashing and burning the *education* programme.  Jeez we do stupid better than anyone - Virginia.

I have been thinking about a bit of a radical boat for a while now - as outlined here.  That idea has developed into something of substance - two 4.8 metre hulls - joined end-to-end at the cockpit.  It's basically a big double-ended and multi-chined sharpie - with water ballast, a centreboard and a sprit schooner rig.  It's the next one to occupy my *workshop*.

And by contrast - here is a fun little trimaran - and a radical catamaran.

Monday, September 10, 2012

David Marr #asktony

Here's the thing.

I don't much care for a clever and nuanced analysis of someone who has an agenda that is mostly about screwing people - and returning the nation to the 20th century.

Unless it is going to expose some truths - which of course it never would.

The single question of Mr Abbott that I and many other Australian's are interested in - is this.

"What will Mr Abbott do to advance the interests of the nation and the people - when he becomes Prime Minister - specifically"?

In other words - I want to hear about the five or six priority things that he will focus on and tackle from day 1 - all in his own words?

Only when we hear and understand them - will we be able to judge the man and his programme.

Sorry, but every thing else is "fluff and bubble" and made up BS all designed to obfuscate.

Be present & be pleasant

I had a quite serious conversation over the weekend with an old and experienced political staffer.  The conversation really opened my eyes - and the booze wasn't too bad either ;-)

The standard approach of all politicians everywhere is to "Be present & be pleasant".

What this means is that our politicians need to be seen - everywhere and anywhere.  Hence the "Be present" bit.  Being seen means being as "over exposed" as possible within their local community.  They will usually become members of as many local sporting and social clubs as possible.  And often the local business or farmers association and even the local council are good targets for aspiring politicians.

The whole point of it is to get themselves out and about and in front of as many of the *locals* as possible.  Plus it will often get them into the local media - who often have nothing else to report on except sport.

But usually their actual intellectual contribution is minimal - because that hinges on the "be pleasant" bit - which is the hardest thing for someone with a working brain to do.

Apparently it is vital not to "piss anyone off" and so there is a standard process used by successful politicians everywhere - to listen intently and agree with everyone - when engaged in conversation.

The idea is to be a great and frequent listener - and an infrequent speaker.  In other words, they need to pretend to be interested and concerned enough - that you will feel satisfied when you have unloaded your gripes on them.

The only speaking we expect from them is when they are opening a new sporting facility and in that process they are heaping exorbitant praise on the locals for building and staffing it.

Of course it is all a charade. Because politicians are concerned with getting elected - not with fixing your problems.

But the thing that is really interesting about all this is the character and personal makeup of the people who do it - term after term.

There are few people with the self discipline to get elected regularly.  The ones who do are naturals - which also means they are the wrong people to change things.

So next time you get to choose a political candidate - vote for the bloke with the opinion and the big mouth - at least he has the passion to do something - other than get elected.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lawyers doing rocket science

Far too much political discussion in Australia is built around fairytales and myths.  "The Liberals are always better at looking after the economy", "Labor is always better at education and health", "Liberals are the party of small business", "Labor is the party of big government".

It's all BS of course.  But the politicians and their partners in crime - our *world-class* media think we citizens are too stupid to engage in a real adult conversation - so they  incessantly recite these fairytales.

And they think the *rusted-ons* will blindly repeat their mantra's and vote accordingly at the next election.  Well it worked as recently as 2004 - when the most deceptive politician in recent history asked us - "Who do you trust"?  And we gave him 3 more years and he gave us WorkChoices.

Things would have continued along as they always have - except for two things that have changed everything.

Firstly, the Coalition elevated a "man of no substance" to their leadership - and they seem determined to keep him there - regardless of the wants and needs of the people.  The folks who are currently running the party of Menzies are not clever enough to understand that they would already be in government if they had taken a "moderate centrist" path instead of the "dingbat right" path back in 2009.

Secondly, our government would be doing much better if they hadn't promoted the "B" team and if they hadn't tried to become Australia's second conservative party.  It is inconceivable that an actual Labor government is still waging an unwinnable war, allowing foreign troops to establish bases here and spying on our citizens.  That's what happens when junior lawyers think they are good at strategy or politics ;-)

And then there is the question of competence.  Yes it is true that government is complex.  So is rocket science - but we don't allow lawyers to design and build and operate the space shuttle do we?

The time has long passed when it was acceptable for fools, charlatans and other miscreants to use government as a play thing for their fantasies.  We need a much greater level of competence and accountability in and around our polity.

And we need it to be focused on the national interest and the interests of our people.  Not the friggin politicians and their mates on the gravy train.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Two Stars - Just above woeful

There has been a bit of discussion recently about how our Prime Minister has been badly treated - by the usual suspects in our media and the local blogosphere.  The main offenders are apparently old white males who are annoyed about *something*.

And I do agree that PM Gillard has been under a bit of pressure.  And some of it has been unwarranted and maybe even unfair - if not downright sexist and nasty.  I don't think personal abuse is OK at all.

But having said that I don't think our Prime Minister is up to the job.  It's nothing to do with her persona or her gender.  It's about her experience and skills and ability.  From what I have seen as a politically engaged and active citizen - I rate her performance as "Two Stars - Just above woeful".  And I don't think that I am the only one ;-)

Australia deserves better - much better.

And quite a few of her Ministers are not up to scratch either.  It's not a personal or ideological thing with me.  It's all about my expectations around the quality of our leaders and their skills and knowledge and ability.

I have a strong sense that *somehow* we have ended up with the B team.  There are so many top quality Australian's - why have we ended up with mediocrity all over our polity - Virginia?

I was going to provide examples - but there is simply no point.  Anyone who reads my blog will know my position.

And in case anyone imagines that I prefer the Coalition - I think Mr Abbott and most of his frontbench are actually worse than Labor.  They have done *nothing* to prepare themselves to govern since 2007 - and it shows.  There is just *nothing* about the Coalition that would cause progressive and thinking Australian's to vote for them.  They have been captured by a rabid right wing ideology that will decimate the place if they ever get to pull the levers.

Not to mention an old media mogul - who thinks he owns them.

And we are not going to take it anymore.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

If Only

If only Australia had leaders with the qualities of this man and of this woman.

Can you imagine if one was Prime Minister and the other was Leader of the Opposition?

It really wouldn't matter who was in which job.

If only.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Here is what I would do

The polls are bad, the opposition is leaderless, the press is disintegrating, the mining boom is collapsing and the people are restless.

Must be time for another government handout ;-) Just kidding Virginia.

So if I were Julia then I would be planning an election.  Preferably a double dissolution election - for October.

But even a half senate election will be good enough to throw a bit of chaos into the mix.

Fairfax have lost their corporate memory and the Murdoch press is looking sick. Rupert will be lucky to evade jail when Lord Leveson reports.  Channel 10 is near death and the old Packer mags - including the Womens Weekly have run away to Germany.  All the usual suspects are cacking themselves about their future.

And I am loving it.

Big changes in our media dynamic are a good thing.  Not so much for the preening insiders - but very much so for we outsiders.  Because our media needs a big shakeup and has needed it for a decade or more.  The lies and the bias might survive for a few moments longer but eventually Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt will go the way of the dimwitted dodo.

The only reason they survived so long is because of what little Johnny did to dumb down our education system - and our students - who have since become right wing bloggers ;-)

But back to the election.  October will be a perfect time because by then Labor will have most of their ducks in a row.  All the big policy items will have been outlined and discussed.  And the biggest and most important of those is education.

And where will the Coalition and the mining magnates and the Murdoch press be with their combined opposition programme?  Seriously, who cares?

Perhaps they can enlist Gina's persuasive capability for a few words in support.

The only possible stain on Labor's agenda will be what Nicola Roxon is proposing to do around national security.  But I wouldn't worry about that too much because none of our voters have a blue clue about the implications - and about 30% of them won't even mind if she wants to store our communications data for a couple of years.

So go for it Julia - October looks good to me.

Monday, September 3, 2012

I have expectations

I have expectations about our polity that are just not being met by either Julia or Tony - Labor or Liberal.  And that is causing me angst enough to complain about it.

I expect that our party political leaders will have our national interests at heart and will work 24/7 to advance those interests.

Not your own interests or the interests of a foreign power or even the interests of a media mogul or of some weird right wing ideology.

If you can't do that then I wonder what your purpose is - and why you are even here?

I expect our government to outline a serious programme of reform and then to vigorously pursue that during its term.  All the while updating us with regular status reports - and from time to time seeking guidance from us when altered circumstances intervene.

I expect that cabinet ministers will be active and statesmanlike and pursue this reform regardless of the antics of the opposition or the circumstances of government.

I expect our opposition to be as focused on the national interest as our government.  And to develop and offer up their thoroughly researched, considered and competing programme of reform.

Elections ought be about citizens making judgment on these competing reform programmes.  So they will need to be properly understood and debated.

Which is the main reason why we need a new media ;-)

I expect the wellbeing of our citizens and our nation to be the sole and complete focus of our government and our opposition.  There should be no situation where a citizen who is in trouble abroad is abandoned by our government.  Nor a situation where a war is started without reference to our people.

And when some of our MP's and their leaders find themselves sitting around in opposition then I expect them to use that time to up-skill and educate themselves in preparation for when they are able to offer something to the nation as an alternative government.

Does any of this sound like the situation we find ourselves in today?