“’When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less’.” That was Lewis Carroll writing in the 19th Century when words meant something. Now words mean less rather than more, especially when spoken by politicians. It is a … Continue reading Listen to the Wordsmiths: When words are hogwash
You’d think a US Republican presidential candidate would be aware of one of the tenets of good speech-making: Know your audience. Mitt Romney’s audience in Houston was the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), one of America’s oldest and most respected civil rights organisations, established in 1910 to … Continue reading Mitt Romney: Who am I talking to?
“Australia has an enduring national interest in ensuring that Afghanistan does not again become a safe haven for terrorists.” That was Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivering a comprehensive statement on Australia’s involvement in the war against Afghanistan and plans to withdraw our troops in a speech to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute this week. But … Continue reading The Lesson of Vietnam: How to lose hearts and minds
I was reluctant to write about the Trayvon Martin shooting in the US because regular readers of this blog know that I have often focussed on racism in America and Australia, and I didn’t want to be accused of having an obsession. But the reaction to the decision to charge George Zimmerman (pictured left this morning), … Continue reading Fear and loathing behind the gates
“The fat lady’s singing. No matter how you put it, it’s over. There’s no way he’s going to be able to stop Romney at this point.” That’s Howard Dean’s former campaign manager, Joe Trippi, talking about Republican candidate Rick Santorum after the front-runner, Mitt Romney, won primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia … Continue reading Pundits declare: The party’s over