Ten years since the GFC!

First, just in case you notice some changes in format here. I am now posting via Chrome, as Microsoft Edge in my Windows 10 no longer displays the log-on box from WordPress.com. There are also issues, I suspect, with Facebook chat — where a cousin of mine noted that Edge is only good for downloading a better browser!

OK, last night on 7.30 we were reminded that it is ten years since the Global Financial Crisis, to which our then Labor government responded — comparatively — quite brilliantly. See Inside Australia’s GFC response: Government wargamed financial disaster scenarios.

So I looked back to my blog for September 2008.

Self-portrait?

22 SEPT 2008

Interpret this as you will! 🙂

pers

And:

Strange things in the boot of Malcolm Turnbull’s limo…

28 SEPT 2008

Consider Eric Abetz. Now here is a man who knows left-wing bias when he sees it: any lack of resemblance to Quadrant or deviation from the Australian Christian Lobby is clearly a Communist Plot. Now he wants Q&A “regulated” — not just the show, but the audience — despite the good showing his new leader made there last week, and despite the fact that, much as I hate to admit it, Q&A actually made me warm a little towards Julie Bishop!

SENIOR Liberal Eric Abetz believes the ABC TV political talk show Q&A has failed in its attempt to provide a representative cross-section of the community because the audience was overwhelmingly made up of Labor and Greens voters.

The figures, provided to a Senate committee, show that for seven episodes there were on average double the number of Labor and Greens supporters in the audience as Coalition supporters.

In some episodes, Coalition supporters made up as little as 10 per cent of the audience, with an average of 20 per cent. Labor and the Greens accounted for as much as 54 per cent of the audience, which participates, with an average of 50 per cent.

Senator Abetz said: “The ABC has to immediately rectify these figures for the remaining episodes of Q&A this season.”…

Just when some were thinking, or Malcolm Turnbull was having us believe, that this creepy Howardism was dying Eric lands feet first with his hobnailed boots firmly on our faces. Thanks for reminding us why we wanted the Howard government to go, Eric! Well done. We will be very careful to scrutinise the blandishments of Malcolm Turnbull from this moment on…

And:

Turnbull triumphans, Wall Street requiem

17 SEPT 2008

 

To take the parochial first, Malcolm Turnbull is now the Leader of the Opposition here in Oz, around three months later than I expected he would be. As the Sydney Morning Herald notes, Now Rudd has a contest. Sure, Turnbull has an ego the size of Jessie the elephant — who lived incidentally in the old Sydney Zoo where Sydney Girls High now is. But then, Disraeli was hardly a shrinking violet, to cite a 19th century English Conservative in comparison. The Rudd government had better perform now, difficult as that will be with an Opposition scenting blood and still playing spoiler. I know that’s politics, but I really wish they could do better than that. One of the best things that could happen for the sake of the country would be for people like Nick Minchin and Tony Abbott to go completely out of fashion. Their approach to politics damages the rest of us. They think it is about winning a game; I think it should be about winning respect and caring for the country. However, the rise of Turnbull does put an intelligent, capable person in the position of alternative Prime Minister, and that has to be an advance. One hopes the Liberal Party moves right away from the narrow, anal, and even at times quite evil, legacy of John Howard.

Annabel Crabb in the Herald this morning did amuse me with this though:

Accounts of the Turnbull ego do differ across the broad church of the Liberal Party.

Some argue it is Milky Way-sized, while his intimate admirers and defenders (whose ranks are fast swelling with opportunists) argue it could probably be squeezed into Wembley Stadium.

The chances of him finding anything about yesterday genuinely humbling, however, are about as good as Zimbabwe’s new power-sharing agreement panning out well.

Now for Wall Street. I could go into cliche mode about the wickedness of capitalism and the sin of greed, but while I may have such thoughts anything I would have to offer would be utterly banal. So I turn to a couple of people much better informed than I am. First, here in Oz, there is Ross Gittins: Worrying only makes things worse.

One good thing about our modern problem of information overload is that, no matter how bad the news, we never focus on it for long. Another day, another crisis. The end of the world is so last week.

I came to that conclusion in the aftermath of the great Wall Street sharemarket crash of October 1987. It was hugely dramatic and quite frightening. And just because most people don’t know what these things prove, doesn’t stop them concluding they must be Very Bad. Sometimes I think the less you understand, the more dire the conclusions you draw. Just to help things along, the media carried pundits predicting that, as in 1929, the great crash would precipitate another great depression (thereby revealing their towering ignorance of the true causes of the Great Depression).

Always one to react against predictions of death and destruction, I limited myself to saying it made a world recession likely. Wrong. In the end it had hardly any noticeable effect on any economy. I had figured that the scare it gave would prompt people around the world to pull in their heads and thereby bring on a downturn. But I reckoned without the media’s ever-shrinking attention span. After a week or so the crash that was going to end it all hardly rated another mention. The punters soon forgot about it…

Second, in the USA I suggest John Taplin. That links to his September 2008 entries….

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Shire: Jannali, Cronulla, family

Is it really a week since I posted this on Facebook’s Sutherland Shire Heritage page?

aileen

That’s my sister-in-law Aileen and my niece Christine (Parkes) in front of The Cotton Shop, Box Road Jannali in 1959. My mother owned The Cotton Shop, a very successful dress shop — until she broke her spine falling over a vacuum cleaner in the shop. The business went on under a manager and in the early 1960s moved to Sutherland, but was never the same without my mother running things. In Jannali she had customers coming from all over Sydney, not just The Shire. On Facebook Mark Wright said: “Mum remembers it mate. She knew Mrs Whitfield.” That’s nice.

Couldn’t help reflecting that in 1959 I was in my final year as a student at Sydney Boys High, and that it was also the 8th term of Prime Minister Robert Menzies! He seemed to me then to have been PM forever, though I did dimly recall his predecessor. Menzies continued until 1966. They built them to last in those days!

1966 I began teaching at Cronulla High School, now in Scott Morrison’s electorate. My second HSC class there — and the second HSC ever! — have a reunion planned. I have been invited, but am not sure I can make it. Night-time events in Sydney are an issue for me these days, but I will surely be there in spirit.

Class of 1968 member Paul Weirick has also sent a list of those attending. Brought back lots of memories.  Fortunately, I had been able to attend a couple of events around the 50th anniversary of the school itself — so I haven’t totally missed out.

prefects1968

That number 75 again!

Hmmm. Best just repost Ninety years on – family thoughts.

The following telegram arrived from my father on 20th July 1943, my mother’s 32nd birthday. She was still in hospital in Hurstville recovering from my birth. The nurses called me “The Air Raid Siren”. I wonder why. They also called me “Dopey” after one of the Seven Dwarves. I still have the ears.

telegram

I had a real name of course: Neil James. Later in Sutherland and among my Christison relatives I would routinely get the double version to distinguish me from my uncle, Neil Christison. You see my mother had promised her mother, Ada Christison (nee Hunter) that if I were to be born close to 6th July, Uncle Neil’s birthday, she would name me after him. He was then in the RAAF and it was a tense time. Neil was only 19 that birthday in 1943. And so I got his name.

Or the version everyone used.

royandad1

Roy and Ada Christison in Shellharbour 1929 or early 30s. He seems to be smoking—something I never saw him do!

My uncle’s actual given name was Nelson. You will see where that came from on this post – an inheritance from Grandma Ada’s side of the family. Her mother (1845-1925) was born Isabella Ann NELSON in Westmorland, England. My mother’s middle name was Isabella – a fact she often hid! The story goes Isabella Hunter died thinking she was back in the Lakes District. Homesick. “Nelson” however preferred Neil.

You will recall that Uncle Neil didn’t quite make it to 90, but had he done so I would have marked the occasion – as I would since I carry his name. See also Christison on my previous blog, and my 22 May 2014 post Another gathering of the clan – and Sutherland draws me back… 2.

canberra551

In Canberra 1955. I am looking across the path at my Uncle Neil and Aunt Fay. The other woman is a friend of theirs whose name may have been Judy, if memory serves.

Why does the number 75 freak me out right now?

All will be revealed in due course.

Or maybe not!

Meanwhile I recall that 1958 was the 75th anniversary of Sydney Boys High School, and even more I recall that I was there for it — indeed was on the editorial committee of The Record, the school magazine, for its annoversary issue. Can that really be 60 years ago?

1959sbhs2b

Here are some of my contemporaries in our final year, 1959. And no, I wasn’t a prefect.

But I was a librarian…

1959_001

Back Row: R J Wills, D K Sweeting, A Zaneff, E H Oliver, R G Byres, R J Evers, R S Dye
Middle row: T F Naughton, R J Smith, P W Shenstone, R D V King, J A Levi, I A Scott, G F Cohen, I J Stewart
Front row: J W Fuller, R W Strong, S R McGill (vice captain), E R Jeffrey Esq (deputy headmaster) W L Young (captain), K J Andrews Esq (headmaster), E R Sowey, I D Toll, R Scouller

After all, I was only seven years older than them…

Had an email from one of the people shown in the following repost, inviting me to a reunion of Cronulla High’s Class of 1968 later this year. Oh my!

More on yesterday’s Shire excursion

The Classes of 68 and 69 may be found here.Flies_away

prefects1968

prefects1968aprefects1968bDr Colin Glendinning

Left: Paul Kelly, T Griffiths, Paul Weirick, R Priddy

Centre – Colin Glendinning 1968 — Right and in 2011.