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Missing the pint – Westminster politics should avoid becoming too sober

May 7, 2012

I can’t resist sharing this with you – an editorial from the Financial Times of May 4, warning that politics should not become too sober (click here to read).

I remember the late Senator Jim McClelland telling the Liberal Peter Baume that if he got elected in the 1974 double dissolution he would have to get used to drinking ‘a bottle of claret a night’.

Even though I’ve become a non-drinker, I find myself warming to the sentiment. But perhaps here, as in the UK, it’s too late to turn back.

  1. wiccedwoman permalink
    May 7, 2012 9:15 pm

    Bob, when will you formally convey the recently leaked evidence (minutes from a 17 Oct 2005 Crime Commission meeting), proving Schapelle’s innocent? History will damn your silence, and brutal indifference – and tomorrow (8 May 2012), I’ve got a box of around a 1,000 flyers (to hand out to Brisbane rail commuters on their way home), about your criminal cover-up. And that’s just the start . . .

    • Bob Carr permalink*
      May 8, 2012 4:01 pm

      As I wasn’t Premier in Oct 2005 I would have no access to report of a Crime Commission meeting held at that time. In any case the body was not subject to my direction, nor did it report its meetings to me. Brisbane lawyers will be taking a lively interest, therefore, in your publication.

  2. Paul B permalink
    May 8, 2012 6:03 am

    Speaker John Bercow in today’s London Telegraph spoke of an increasing number of MPs and staff at Westminster having problems with alcohol. Like an increasing number of people who grew up in the wake of the sixties there is nothing about alcohol to my knowledge which merits its legitimacy in the eyes of the law as compared to illegal substances of equal or less harm. The vested interests have huge investments tied up in the sale and production of alcohol and throw up all manner of scare campaigns about other substances to keep them out of the market and protect their investments in alcohol. In this way they rig the market against competition to their product.That’s the truth. Alcohol is a dangerous drug like the others. Alcoholics are as sad and pitiful as any other addicts but our society has difficulty with the truth in this as in many other areas. Alcohol is exempt from the opprobium other drugs attract.
    The FT (whose founder attended school in Orange NSW) article follows the incident in the Commons bar where a Labour MP pleaded guilty to assault of other MPs. And fancy journalists advocating drinking. Well, I never. In the wake of the expenses scandal, a new responsible service of alcohol regime now exists at Westminster and Speaker Bercow had little choice in the matter after the expenses scandal. Pray, one wonders at the hypocrisy of politicians who set all manners of laws about substance abuse in the work place, at home and behind the wheel and who then advocate drinking on the job themselves. To quote Alf Garnett on Barbara Castle’s drink drive laws, you can’t be drunk in charge of a car but you can be drunk in charge of a country. Says it all really! Lord Hurd had some interesting observations on alcohol in politics which are worth reading.

    • Bob Carr permalink*
      May 8, 2012 3:51 pm

      Good quotes. Very funny.

  3. Ivan Pagett permalink
    May 8, 2012 8:50 am

    I don’t want to worry you Bob but I think you have aged noticably since you cut out drinking the tiny amount of wine that you previously enjoyed. My sister sent me the following observations.

    1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

    2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

    3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

    4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans..

    5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

    Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

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