Friday, 20 April 2018

What the papers reckon 20 April 2018 - comment from Australia and abroad

A Higher Sanctimony - The Wall Street Journal, USA

Now comes Mr. Comey’s memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” which is an attempt at revenge and vindication. With the help of special counsel Robert Mueller, Mr. Comey may succeed at the former. He fails utterly at the latter. The main lesson from Mr. Comey’s book is that Mr. Trump’s abuse of political norms has driven his enemies to violate norms themselves.
The most notable fact in the book is how little we learn that is new about Mr. Trump. The tales of Mr. Comey’s meetings with the President were leaked long ago, and on the specific facts they are plausible. Mr. Trump is preoccupied with his critics and the validation of his presidential victory. He is clueless that his bullying and flattery would repel Mr. Comey, who thinks of himself as Eliot Ness as written by David Mamet in “The Untouchables.”
The book mainly adds Mr. Comey’s moral and aesthetic contempt for Mr. Trump. This may be catnip for the press, but it isn’t new and doesn’t amount to an impeachable offense. Mr. Comey’s comparison of Mr. Trump to a “mafia” boss is hilariously overstated. Don’t they call it “organized” crime? And what about that code of silence known as omerta? The Trump White House can’t keep anything secret.

Privacy laws should apply to parties, too - The Globe and Mail, Canada

On Tuesday, backbench Liberal MP Frank Baylis described Canada’s current legal framework governing online platforms like Facebook as the “Wild West.” He’s right. … But at the same time, there is also nothing to control how Canadian political parties collect and use the vast amounts of data they gather to target, sway and mobilize voters. The good news is there is a simple solution to that particular problem. Both Liberal and Conservative members of the Commons privacy committee expressed support this week for calls to subject political parties to federal privacy laws. That’s a good idea. Making parties play by the same datacollection and protection rules as banks and airlines – and subjecting them to the possibility of being investigated by the privacy commissioner’s office – holds both practical and symbolic value.

Costly failure - Daily Mirror, London

WORKERS being an average £1,773 a year worse off by 2021 underlines how Tory austerity is hitting living standards.Falling wage growth and relatively high inflation, before we even include benefit cuts, are eating into household budgets, cheating those in work as well as out of it.
Conservative claims that the real value of pay packets is finally rising are not true when matched against Retail Prices Index inflation, which includes housing costs.
Tory austerity has failed, the so-called longterm economic plan has failed and the longest squeeze in wages in history is failing workers.

Responsibility lies with Chief - NT News, Darwin

ENSURING the implementation of the fracking recommendations are followed to the letter of law could make or break Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s political career.
The decision to lift the fracking moratorium was the right call for business which was desperate for a new injection of cash and jobs from a new industry.
But making the decision to allow fracking in the Territory also made Mr Gunner the face of the industry, whether it is positive or negative news.
Any environmental disaster which may come from any of the recommendations not being correctly carried out will have his name branded all over it.
Given fracking is such a divisive topic, any kind of failing in this area could be enough to turn voters who were not completely sold on the decision to turn.
It would also give another voice to the passionate anti-fracking lobbyists who held protests outside Parliament House this week and justify their concerns.

Protecting India - The Times of India 

In a significant defence reform, a new integrated institutional mechanism called the Defence Planning Committee has been set up under the chairmanship of the national security adviser. It is tasked with preparing a national military and security strategy, assessing external security risks and defining security priorities. ... Realisation seems to be finally dawning that defence preparedness isn’t solely about buying the most advanced aircraft or warship. It also entails strategic diplomacy and prudent resource allocation based on available financial capacity. The new committee should get all stakeholders in India’s defence to pull in one direction.

Welcome voices in Folau saga - The Press, New Zealand

At a time when rugby hierarchies around the world have been keeping their heads tamely beneath the parapet, it should come as no surprise that the first ones to break cover were a couple of halfbacks – a breed not best known for keeping their mouths shut. Brad Weber and TJ Perenara should be applauded for speaking up against Australian back Israel Folau’s view that God’s plan for homosexuals is that they are bound for hell unless they ‘‘repent of their sins’’.
Folau has every right to hold the opinions he does, however archaic they might be. But others have a right to reject them just as strongly. For too long, Folau’s employer, Rugby Australia, has been reluctant to take a stance on the issue, and many others in the game have been only too happy to follow its timorous lead.
So it is to the enormous credit of Weber and Perenara, along with respected referee Nigel Owens, that they have been willing to add their voices to the debate

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