Tim Blair


New Criterion



Sunday, August 24, 2003
REDEMPTION SPREADS this Sunday, firstly to Background Briefing, where the Pre-school's Gerald Tooth presents a feature on modest mega-philanthropist Charles Feeney without a trace of spleen or spite.

There is not even the suggestion that the money would have been better taxed out of Chuck's pocket and spent by some benign government on even better causes, like HREOC, or Auntie.

This Tooth should be withdrawn from the Pre-school and allowed to play with the grown-ups.

IT APPEARED THAT THE PASTOR was also seeking redemption for his appalling dealing with the South Australian Constitutional Convention last week.

It turned out otherwise, as Terry Lane was merely attempting to give some credibility to his attempt to impose on that suspect construction his passion for citizen-initiated referenda. CIR are the darling idea of the lunar right and Mr Peter Lewis, Speaker of the South Australian Parliament.

Despite the fact that the Convention met only because Mr Lewis made it a condition of his supporting the Rann Government, and the fact that he spoke in its favour in every plenary session, only a minority of the Conference's working groups gave the idea a high priority for action.

That's just playing with figures, barks the Pastor, when President Ron Roberts of the SA Legislative Council points it out. Then he quotes his own figures, showing how many groups had the wacky idea on their list, somewhere.

Then he calls in the crafty entrepreneur behind these rorts oops deliberative polling exercises, so she can assure us that those attending were as representative as Newspoll could make them, and as good as a random sample any day. So there.

It's funny that the Pastor, who used to preach to real people, seems never to have seen a group dynamic in operation. Perhaps his congregations all went to sleep.

On this occasion the dynamic flowing at the South Australian Convention defeated his preferred option.

A truly Gastropodian performance from Auntie's favourite preacher. I doubt he'll get to heaven now.