Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Catching up

It's been a while since I was here but it's been a busy few weeks.

We had another trip up to Singapore with a side trip to KL. Singapore was back to its normal uncomfortable humidity, the rains having returned after the very unusual dry spell I posted about in February.

To KL the budget airline Air Asia had the schedule that suited us and it was sort of OK. Like so many of the 'budget' airlines it isn't much cheaper than the full-service carriers by the time you pay all the extras - an $89 advertised fare more than doubles in reality.

The real problem, and surprise, was the airport. It was designated KUL so I assumed it was the usual KL International, but it wasn't. It was a very old airport way out in the bush somewhere and in this age of terrorism the lack of security was mind boggling.

The aircraft park on the tarmac, passengers clamber down the steps and wander about in confusion.

There are a couple of employees waving passengers in the general direction of the terminal & exit and vague signs dotted about. Incoming and outgoing passengers, international and domestic, are all wandering about together, past the luggage collection/distribution area, past all the parked aircraft and the other airport sections.

Not a sign of any security people anywhere.

Back in Oz we had to go up to Newcastle a couple of times, then overnight to Canberra, then a Saturday drive to Sydney airport -Saturday is the busiest day on the roads and it wasn't a fun drive. All of that used up a week.

That's the traveling done for a while so we can relax and get stuff done around the house and garden. There was good rain while we were away so the weeds are doing well.

And then the budget of course. The media has been saying that Abbott has reneged on his promise to lead a government of no surprises. I disagree. He's acted in exactly the way I expected him to.

In spite of us being one of a handful of countries with a AAA rating, with an economy the envy of the world, he and Smokin' Joe have continued their scare tactics from their time in opposition, screeching endlessly about a budget crisis, a budget emergency, a budget disaster.

All bullshit of course, as the leading economists keep telling us, but it suits their extreme ideological agenda.

Abbott hit the radio waves this morning, trotting out the cliches and sound bites written by his spin doctors and, as is his way, repeating each one so the hacks would be sure to write them down.

Young people must 'earn or learn' he repeated several times, the Medicare payment to visit bulk-billing doctors is a 'co-payment' - that's worked already, with all the media using the 'co-' in all reports.

The budget-we-had-to-have is all the fault of the previous government, naturally, and nothing to do with ideology.

All right-thinking people will accept that there's a long term budget problem if we don't take steps to put strategies in place now, but this lot haven't done it. No vision, just politics and ideology.

Hit the weakest and neediest in our society while protecting the big end of town and big business.

A tough budget in the first year, blamed on the previous government's profligacy, most of the actions delayed until after the next election, then the next budget will be easier and the last one before the election will be designed to buy votes.

The only surprise for me with Abbott breaking so many pre-election promises is that he's broken so many in one hit and so early. I thought he'd spread them out more than this.

It does confirm the cynicism of our politicians and the contempt they have for the rest of us. Say anything to get into power, con the gullible and once in power forget all that and do what you really intended to do all along but didn't have the guts or honesty to put on the table.

And where's the Opposition? MIA.

They've done it again with the wrong choice of leader. Smokin' Joe caused giggles in parliament calling him Electricity Bill but he's more like Beige Bill, dull, boring, uninspiring. His shadow Treasurer's missing in action too, in fact the whole shadow cabinet seems to have disappeared.

A pox on all their houses.

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