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20 May 1994. Thought for the Week: " in the ultimate analysis a body of people constitute a nation only when they passionately believe that they 'belong together', and are restless and unhappy if they are divided, or subjected to rulers whom they regard as alien. Nationalism is ultimately a matter of sentiment...When it takes root among a people, it doubles their strength. When they feel that they are linked together not merely by common subjection to a master, but by powerful natural affinities, their loyalty, their pride in their nationhood, their capacity for resisting foreign enemies, are vastly increased. The nation States of Europe, once established, have shown a toughness, a coherence, a steadfastness even in disaster, which States of another kind whose unity depends wholly upon loyalty to a personal ruler have never been able to display."
Ramsay Muir in Civilisation and Liberty (1940)
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE BRITISH
by Eric D. Butler, who returns to Australia after
a four-week tour of the United Kingdom
I was struck on my recent visit by the lack of any deep passion concerning major issues. Perhaps symptomatic of the current British public mood was the lack of any real interest in the completion of the tunnel under the English Channel. There is no doubt that this is a major engineering project, but to many it offends a national psyche developed over a long period of time. The British traditionally have felt themselves to be an island nation, related to, but not part of, Continental Europe.
The debate about the European Community continues, with a deep division inside the Conservative Party. But one detects a general attitude of resignation about the whole affair, with a widely held view that, "In the long run, it is not going to work, so do not let's worry too much about it until it starts to affect us directly".
The British are notorious for losing every battle in a war except the last one. It is certain that as the size of the European Community is expanded, there will be an increase in problems. The new Italian Government has already made it clear that it strongly rejects the concept of a United States of Europe. I found widespread distrust of a Germany determined to dominate any Federal European structure.
I was reliably informed by a British scientist who advises the bureaucrats at Brussels that they are now of the opinion that "full employment" can never be restored to Western European industrial nations: that mass unemployment with associated social and other problems must be accepted as permanent. Any attempt to create "full employment" under present finance economic policies would merely add to growing environmental problems. These problems are now exercising the minds of a number of responsible scientists.
In spite of the type of pressures which modern debt-ridden societies impose on the family, the fact remains that most of the researchers into British society overlook the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of families living normal lives, and managing to cope with their problems. They do not make the headlines. These are the people referred to by Prince Charles in his recent major address, one that has been given relatively little publicity outside the United Kingdom.
There is widespread interest throughout the United Kingdom in the Keating attempt to destroy the system of Constitutional Monarchy in Australia, many pleasantly surprised to learn that it is not "inevitable" that Australia will become a Republic. But there is little doubt that if Constitutional Monarchy can be destroyed in Australia, this could have a serious effect on the future of the Monarchy in the United Kingdom. Australia is now at the cutting edge of a great historical battle, one that in the long term will have a decisive effect on the future of Western Civilisation.
THE PRINCE CHARLES BOMBSHELLS
In his recent address, delivered to a meeting of British newspaper editors, Prince Charles provided a magnificent example of genuine leadership. He has demonstrated that he is a man of genuine independence of thought and is not prepared to be dominated by what is generally regarded as "fashionable" and "politically correct". A small item in the British Jewish Chronicle has noted that Prince Charles declined an invitation to see the Zionist propaganda film, Schindler's List. The violent reaction to the Prince Charles attack on "trendy dogma" was revealing. The radical Socialists along with their many philosophical bedfellows were outraged, one claiming that the Prince "had lost his marbles".
Prince Charles urged that ordinary people stand up to the intimidation of self-appointed experts and tell them they had it all wrong. "If we do not, we shall forever live with the consequences. There is perhaps an inherent danger from those who love to parade a kind of dogmatic arrogance without listening to the views of ordinary people. All around us we see evidence day after day, of the short lived theories and fashions which can undermine our Individuality, undermine our confidence and take too mechanical or untrusting a view of human nature. The result can be damaging - sometimes devastatingly so - to our confidence and the way we behave."
Prince Charles warned against the "single-issue "fanaticism", or pressure groups. "The misnamed fashion for what people call 'political correctness' to testing everything, every aspect of life, every aspect of society, against a pre-determined, pre-ordained view." "The intimidation is palpable," said Prince Charles. "Any questioning, in a perfectly polite way, of the current fashions, usually elicits a vitriolic response - whether it is a wish to teach people the basic principles of English grammar and to rescue the idea that there is a vast difference between good and bad English or suggesting that in certain circumstances it may be necessary or sensible to administer a smack to your child."
In a moving eulogy of the thousands of "ordinary people" serving their country in different ways, Prince Charles said, "instead of decrying and destroying, we should take pride in our national assets". This powerful appeal to old-fashioned values has come like a tonic. He declared, "For what it is worth, I happen to be one of those people who believes strongly in the importance of well-tried principles and in those more familiar things in life which help anchor us in the here and now and give meaning and a sense of belonging in a world which can easily become frightening and hostile."
THE BUDGET: KEATING COASTS
Almost all criticism of the 1994 Budget was muted,
It is probably true, as some of the financial gurus claim that the l994 Budget is as much former Treasurer John Dawkins' work as it is Mr. Willis' work. In the context of the election cycle, the 1993 Dawkins Budget was the "tough medicine" Budget, which took the Treasurer months of protracted negotiation to force through the Senate, under quite legitimate fire from the W.A. Greens and the Democrats.
Do we forget the provisions of the Dawkins Budget? The main features were the massive fuel tax hikes, ostensibly to discourage the use of leaded petrol, and the politically damaging wine tax among many other charges increased in order to scrape together enough to finance the deficit. The international financial "markets" had pressured Mr. Dawkins to minimise the deficit.
It appears that Opposition Leader Hewson could
find little to criticise in the 1994 Budget, to the disgust of some
of his Coalition colleagues, who again mutter about replacing him. In
fact, so successful was the Keating/Willis 1994 budget that within days
the announcement of Alan Border's retirement forced the Budget back
to the financial pages.
Keating and Willis gamble upon economic growth of 4.5% as a result of the recovery, to produce increased taxation revenue. If this gamble doesn't come off, then there could be dire forecasts of a Budget deficit "blow-out" by about April 1995. But by then, the election could have been held if the omens favour the A.L.P. early in the year. In fact, as Mr. Keating warned, if the Senate does not pass the new employment proposals from the White Paper, this would provide the "trigger" that he could use to dissolve both Houses of Parliament.
A double dissolution could see the Green Senators eliminated by the succeeding election, and the Democrat numbers cut considerably. An election campaign could be dominated by the A.L.P's. ambitious employment programme, and the Budget handouts for Aboriginal health, breast cancer research, mental health care, the homeless, and the politically correct Aboriginal National Land Fund.
On the other hand, the tax increases, like the massive new corporate tax increase in the fringe benefits tax, and the increased departure tax, are so well hidden to be almost invisible. The biggest Budget gamble of the lot is the expected business investment increase of 14.5%. If this does not materialise, then presumably Mr. Keating can blame "the market" or the business sector!
NO CONVENTIONAL ALTERNATIVES
It is difficult to believe that Dr. Hewson could heavily criticise the Willis Budget. What alternatives does Dr. Hewson have? Within the conventional financial rules of the debt economy, he would do exactly the same as Keating has done: whatever he thought he could get away with. No alternatives are available unless a change in the conditions for the creation of new credits are contemplated. Although such "funny-money" alternatives become more and more desperately required, they are as far from the financial agenda as ever.
BEHIND THE GROWING WORLD MADNESSThis is the title of Eric D. Butler's coming address to the Melbourne Conservative Speakers' Club on Monday, June 6th. Behind the madness in world politics there is a design. Eric Butler has just spent four weeks in the British Isles, and a week in New Zealand studying "the state of the battle" in those areas. His observations and opinions will be given to supporters on Monday, June 6th, at the Melbourne Conservative Speakers' Club.
RURAL FAMILIES SHOW STRAIN OF HARDSHIP
from Port Lincoln Times, South Australia,
"Committee presiding member Bernice Pfitzner said the lives of farming families in some rural communities had been severely affected by the downturn in the rural economy. "'The Committee has heard some very disturbing evidence about the impact this is having on rural people,' Dr. Pfitzner said. "She said some children from farm families blamed themselves for their family's financial difficulties and had approached school counsellors to find out how they could be adopted or fostered. "She said the rural crisis had placed severe psychological strain on children and some had attempted to commit suicide.
"The Committee had been told rural families were facing increased isolation, particularly as a result of the regionalisation of services which had increased the cost and time taken to use them. "Dr. Pfitzner said farmers were resorting to unsustainable land management practices to maximise their incomes. "This included intensive cropping rotations, neglecting soil and conservation, weed and pest control programs. "She said some farmers, faced with a cash crisis, were selling assets including machinery, at prices well below their true values.
"Dr. Pfitzner said the inquiry was still in its early stages and most of the evidence the committee had received had been anecdotal. "'Although interesting it (the evidence) may not provide a true measure of the dimensions of the problem and it needs to be assessed against more rigorous, quantitative information,' Dr. Pfitzner said. "She said the committee would take further evidence from people and community organisations and would travel to most of the severely affected areas for public meetings. "She said the Committee would take evidence from Murray, Mallee and Mid North farmers at the end of July, however it would not travel to Eyre Peninsula.
"Dr. Pfitzner said Australian Bureau of Statistics figures suggested Eyre Peninsula was not one of the most disadvantaged areas when income, education and occupation were considered. "Eyre Peninsula people could submit written or oral evidence to the Committee. "The interim report follows the release of the rural debt audit on Wednesday. "The audit said 5% of farmers were non-viable and 18% were facing varying degrees of financial difficulty. "However, the audit results suggested there was optimism for the rural sector with three quarters of the State's farmers viable."
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