Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The end of the "therapy 1990s" and a new Christmas spirit 

Paul Comrie-Thomson writes in today's "Australian":

"This year witnessed the beginning of an ethical revolution. Voters in Australia and the US overwhelmingly endorsed the proposition that doing good is radically different from feeling good. This U-turn away from sentimentality is also taking hold in Britain.

"At the Labour Party's annual conference in Brighton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair proclaimed: 'When I hear people say, "I want the old Tony Blair back, the one who cares", I tell you something. I've come to realise that caring in politics isn't really about "caring". It's about doing what you think is right and sticking to it'."
On a similar theme, Janet Albrechtsen, also in the "Australian", writes:

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for life. Trite, perhaps, but this old adage illustrates an iron rule of economics and the first principle of foreign aid...

"With Christmas upon us, we should remember that amiable, feelgood donations offer only temporary charity. While Oxfam [charity] last week rapped rich countries over the knuckles for having aid budgets half what they were in 1960, we should be trying to make a lasting difference to poor countries, and not just by salving our conscience with a gift or donation.

"We should give developing countries what they really want and need - jobs. Our jobs. The best way to do that is by offshoring or outsourcing jobs or whatever bogy word is used these days."
And across the Tasman Sea from Australia, Telecom New Zealand's Santaline is getting some unusual requests - from adults, who might not have been bad this year, but certainly won't to be bad after Christmas:

" 'Listen Santa, I want a new man this Xmas. I broke the last one,' reads one message...

"One grandmother, who said she had been good all year and would have to do all the cooking and cleaning over Christmas, was more specific about what she wanted. 'So, could you please send me an elf to do the dishes? Make him a cute little sexy one, and I would prefer that he can not talk, burp or talk about rugby or politics,' she wrote."
So - democracy for the Middle East, jobs and economic growth for the developing world, and men for New Zealand women.

What would you like for Christmas?


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