1Q: Is there merit in catch-up politics?

This is the latest in the series of cross-blog answers to a specific question. This week’s question from economist Joshua Gans:

The government is accused of playing catch up politics, but is there some merit in such an approach?

Despite the obsessions of most pundits who predominantly postulate about political positioning rather than the substance of policy, in my experience most people in the general community are interested in whether something will improve things, not whether it’s good politics. This assessment of the likely real-world outcomes of politicians’ actions is what should be used in considering the merits of any idea. Whether that idea can be viewed as ‘catch-up politics’ is really of secondary importance.

When there is a sense that a politician is only adopting a position for political reasons, including playing catch-up, it can suggest that their commitment to the idea is less than whole hearted. That can be used to inform a judgement about how likely it is that the policy ideas will be probably followed through, but it doesn’t really go to the merits of the ideas themselves.

I’m all for catch up politics when it means catching up with good ideas that should have been implemented ages ago. I hate catch up politics when it means catching up with bad ideas that have turned out to be politically popular. In other words, the measure of merit is in the idea itself, not in whether the idea is just catching up with what someone else has already said or done.

Read other peoples’ take on this question at:

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  1. u ideas are of general merit in my view andrew. for example think of the quality of the person rather than the ‘group’ label. i.e., form views of a person based on what u think of the person’s actions, rather than an assumed general set of characteristics of the group in question.

    how do we measure the quality of a person or can we, u or i, measure ANY aspect of a person’s charcter? e.g., integrity, honest, fair, and so on.

    it takes skill of the highest order to be fair in an unfair social exchange system.

    it is easy to be fair in a social exchange system that is FAIR i.e., is democratic or just.

    why? people learn very quickly, including kids, when they make an error[s] in any given [set] social exchange?

    i have just checked on the ideas of a book of proverbs by david crystal – really first class stuff to learn ALL languages, since the ideas can be easily translated across languages. thus, this gets around the idea that serves as a barrier to social unity.

    i gave one that realted to the ONE oz proverb that made it into the book, BUT it is pure quality.

    see p: 399 on if u stop u-dreams u are as as good as ded, from oz aboriginal people.

    einstein said some thing similar – vision & a creative passion of a pos kind can fuel BIG ideas of general social utility.

  2. Couldnt agree with you more Senator.I just read McMullans of the ALP new approach to the poor from countries other than Australia…yeah catch-up with him,so he knows what its like not to be a Labor boring somebody.There but for the grace of my non-One Nation party membership and pollie salary goes I. He cares so much for the poor overseas,it should be now realistically directed to the city poor…and nudge nudge wink wink, forget about any number of homeless in Australia who could say exactly the same thing,and, wouldnt be quoted.Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  3. i sent a book called “descartes dream” with VERY extensive comments to p. garrot – i did not get a reply, although i did send it via the lib member at nowra? stiil, no matter, even if garrot did not get the book.

    i put some stuff on a buffon-laplace GLOBAL grid – this was some tech fluff to confuse ^& infuriate the SSS. who are the triple “s”? guess.

    as u well know, big_$$$ is identical to big TROUBLE from any number of sources.

    i also send [via the same route] “why flip a coin…” to then miniSTER of education, nelSON – with some veRY comments on demoCRACY & stats & nuke games of a high or low oder.

    did nelson get the book?

    i did NOT hear from either.

    it is easy to assume [and polite] that the lib-rat sent it no-where or some where else?

    no matter – any people who it was NOT meant for will get no-where, except infuriATED^i?.

    still, i am running out of books & still these airs simply do NOT get the idea!

    are foreign & domestic security agents sniffing around, like a pack of mongrel dogs, with no plACE to vent their spleen?

    i hoPEE so.

    will they get any thing? yes. a LOT of sarcasm & sneers & **** :=: moles out of mounts of assES?

    pathE*tic worms.

  4. i have just had a quick read of the oz constitution – this is, of course, the most important document for any nation, family or person, of any age, or …

    i was looking for the word “fair” – there is a great deal of info that is not included that is captured by “advance australia fair”, which SETS the agenda for the high court to interpret the CON.

    “less is more” from t. sizer [19??] is VERY good, since the high court can make it up as they go [a bit like the cia or other corp fascists].

    i have a great deal of confidence in justice m. kirby to set the tone & agenda for an IMAGINATIVE & *creative* CLARIFICATION of the meaning of the terms in the CON, stARTinG with the word FAIR.

    if the high court were to read my ideas, when i have a lucid moment [an error to be sure], they will fine an outline of HOW to go from the WHOLE hole of oz soul.

    i have also noted that the GG can dismiss the gov at ANY moment the GG chooses – i think he has ample grounds, based on the evidence in the public domain. of course, the GG would have to approach the HC to get an opinion?

    the con has the INTENT, or WILL, implicit in the document – further, the con has inconsistent legal ideas in the OATH, where the oath is on GOD. let us assume god is JUST or FAIR.

    thus, the high court has a basis in law.

    do ALL religions assume god of any type or class is FAIR or JUST?




    hence, the HC CAN cut# ANY LAW THAT IS UN_FAIR or against god.

    the gg knows the state of play & he is vastly more trust worthy [i.e., he will put oz FIRST], than hollow-worth, the prior gg?

  5. 12 months ago, after the rape of a male youth at Maningrida NT, the community submitted an application to the commonwealth under their family violence program thro’ Mal B’s dept. for assistance to respond to the community’s issues. Sadly, to this day they have not recieved a response. Howard cannot be allowed to continue deny that since he came to power Aboriginal communities have regressed substantially mainly thro’ the axing of program monies. First cuts were made o womens programs and the rest is history. The pressure must be kept up in making this government more accountable in its lack of services to Aboriginal communities – sure we have had problems since colonisation and my experiences in institutions from the mid forties but what we see now is a result of Howards last 10 years

  6. i really like andrew’s comment below.

    i have made more ‘errors’ than u can poke a stick or bone at at abc, but i like to think that i invented a few new errors, that is my creative edge in social trade, about any thing that is about justice.

    strategy are the big rules that assist us in our creative edge to develop our own measure of REASON.

    so, i have given u an outline for METHOD for u to BUILD & create u own mode of reason, with u own values for gain & pain, and a means to make fair decisions & actions in u-local & ‘global’ conTEXT.

    a meta-rule that is that one should adopt a POS attitude for u or i focus e.g., my focus is justice & zero else means much at all.

    so, a dream, such as a global system of justice is only possible if u&i think it is possible, else it will NOT be possible i.e., we will continue to have mental & physical genocide globally, forever[?].

  7. so, can we ‘fix’ the problems we are faced.

    the picture is grim – i read chomsky on usa foreign policy; it does not make pretty reading. can it be fixed?

    i think oz can make the changes it needs to make, whereas the usa cannot.

    based on usa foreign policy statements, the usa military gurus have [or in the process] of being in the position of military dominance [total]. this is NOT in any one’s interests.

    the problem with sort of power being in the hands of one ’select’ group are obvious.

    oz & usa systems of governance are in dis-array. i have given u all systems to FIX this problem – i would even be happy to work with the lib/nat party [whom i think are just plain incompetent].

    the usa cannot fix their own problems due the strategic importance of a neo-con elite, a jihadist president all supported by a buch of christian fanatics [who in fact are the anti-thesis of democracy].

    now u might think christians can do a lot of damage [e.g., per catholic church] – we have under-estimated the real danger of a small focused group with a ROCK solid set of dogma i.e., the big danger is NOT from foreign ‘terrorists’ but from within. the corp players have supported greed for a long time via corrupt pollies, media & ‘advisors’ [who are not accountable to any one].

    my guess is there a number of democrat senators who [in usa] who agree with me e.g., leahy or feingold i.e., they know WHAT the problem is but lack the tools to do any thing about it.

    i think this usa admin’ should be impeached for war crimes – there is ample evidence to support such an action.

    if usa continues, then the incentive for a pre-emptive strike will become over-whelming i.e., we may as well go down WITH the ‘enemy’.

    in fact, there many things by chomsky that i did not know but ‘guessed’ – after all, some regimes are predictable.

    i urge downer to read chomsky. he has ’spies’ at senior levels in dfat [e.g., LOOK for a wolfowitz look-alike with the spook troop].

  8. how do i KNOW that there is a wolfowitz look-alike?

    i went to canb’ to see if pollies are really as stupid as i thought [not ALL].

    in the gallery was dick smith 25/7/5?

    i also called into dfat before applying for polly asylum in russia [dfat got there before me].

    i sat and watched the spooks float by in coffee shop down stairs [i stunk to high heaven due to the fact i was homeless & had been sleeping in the car for a week].

    there before my eyes was ‘wolfowitz’ down to MANNER, eye movement, mode & variation of speech, appearance etc…

    i turned to two other aussie spooks sitting on my right [i was at the entrance], then looked back at the wolf. i thought to myself, u D*CKheads need to GET PARANOID!

    it was easy to pick the ossie drongoes!

    then, after finishing off two coffees [i ate 4 sacks of sugar as brekkie], off i trotted to see if the kgb, fsb, etC… could find a home for an old soldier.

    our security services are just amazingly STUPID – the usa is even WORSE.

    HOW is it that israel can commit genocide & the usa just accepts this as ‘fair & reasonable?

    WHY does the oz government think it is fair & reasonable? we wonder about the SOURCE of terrorists? our foreign policy and hysteria built up by THIS gov is a large part of the problem.

  9. of course, kacala above is only a comic?

    she or he needs to get a life in my view – i KNOW he is a 12+ girl who is sitting out in the out-back some where in the ***.

    so, when are u as U going to tell some jokes?

  10. I think the doctor is a man of relatively young age and high IQ.

    Now here’s the thing. The whole world has been carried away by Me Syndrome in conjunction with The Seven Deadly Sins.

    Few people really care what happens as long as it isn’t happening to them. We see it in the local community and on the global scene.

    The USA doesn’t care about genocide, or warring Muslims, or thousands of its soldiers dying.


    Yes, terrorists are mostly found in extremist groups – generally groups that have broken away from others due to dissatisfaction with doctrine, beliefs or behaviour – but some operate as lone individuals with no particular indoctrination.

  11. maybe u should read noam chomsky, “interventions”, 2007,

    i will base all my future ‘essays’ around his book, with some variations on titles in each of his essays.

    the last essay is on “the great soul of power”, p213
    the “western intellectuals, whose crime is far greater, because they cannot plead fear but only cowardice and subordination to power.”

    i think this states my views about many pollies & academics that i have given in the past.

    does andrew have power that he could use that he has not used in the past?

    yes & no. andrew has the power of DISTRIBUTION of good ideas & strategy &, if he chooses, a good set of advisors WITH good info data & ideas with respect to the policy at hand.

    at a general level, an adaptive strategy is best that conforms with andrews skill set [future or present]. as he makes ‘errors’ he needs people who will tell him when an error ie an error i.e., at times, we do not know at error until we get feed back.

    i am sure that there are some advisors who work for andrew who have a different agenda to andrew? how do i know? greed, & arrogance & revenge play ALL sides of the polly fence.

    at times i leave an error there as it is not worth fixing [too much time]. e.g., i check what i write, and leave stuff if the MEANING does not change; else, i make the change after i have a quick read.

    thus, quality feed back is crucial to evolution/learning for any person, else we keep making the same errors [i have done this far too often!].

    al my essays are about justice & fair play & so applies to all & any area in andrews blog – this will never change.

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