Aug 072012

An observation by me on the biased opinions too often expressed and allowed to be dismissed as ‘conspiracy theory’ by certain vested interests on Twitter.

I’ll name them for the record – @markatextor,  @TheKouk, @1petermartin, @Drag0nista and @chriskkenny. Firstly, allow me to draw your attention to an article written by Peter Martin which is blatantly false and misleading. To wit….

Its findings (TD Securities Melbourne Institute price index) aren’t because energy prices didn’t rise. It reports a jump in electricity prices of 14.9 per cent and a jump in household gas prices of 10.3 per cent, almost all of which would have been due to the carbon tax.

Emphasis & emboldening is mine. Please do read the article as I have no intention of doing any more here than linking to it. This from someone who calls themselves an economist and writes for at least one major daily. Blind Freddy can tell you that one month into the new financial year and new fiscal quarter since the activation of the Government’s Carbon Pricing Mechanism, nothing has changed which can be appreciably measured as being due to the activation of this mechanism. Indeed, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see anything definitive one way or the other for at least two quarters, possibly even three. I read this piece, saw red and said so on Twitter including Martin’s twitter handle in my opinion. Silence, as anticipated. Journalists rarely if ever respond to we of the greater unwashed. Economists even less so it appears. The point of note being that not one conservative commentator picked him up on this falsehood. Equally, aside from myself, neither did anyone who supports the Carbon Pricing initiative. Perhaps Martin doesn’t attract that many readers.

Now, it transpires that Stephen Koukoulas, otherwise referred to as @thekouk, also an economist, wrote an article for Market Economics yesterday. It seems some on the ideological right, on Twitter at least, disagreed with that article, probably because it sets to rights some glaring errors being promoted by yet another of those vested interests. His Twitter critics started claiming that he should have “former Labor staffer” in his by-line or twitter profile. Why escapes me because as he states, he has never been a “Labor staffer” and is not a member of any political party. For the record, here’s Stephen Koukoulas’s bio:

Stephen Koukoulas has a rare and specialised professional experience over more than 25 years as an economist in government, as Global Head of economic and market research, a Chief Economist for two major banks and as economic advisor to the Prime Minister.

That Prime Minister happens to be Julia Gillard. The rest is available here. A very well versed exponent of his craft, and a very common-sense individual based on what I see him tweet and articles that he writes, from time to time. His financial analysis in my view is second to none and he’s a lot closer to the bone on the issues which count. That he seems to take some small delight in tweets like this one or even better, this one may to some indicate his political allegiance, but I ask ‘so what?’. It’s clear the man, like me, doesn’t suffer fools gladly. But I ask this question – and you’ll see exactly what I mean if you peruse @thekouk ‘s Twitter stream for today – why should his opinion as an economist collating salient facts and writing them up into a well formulated and easily understood blog post, attract venom & accusation of dissembling from conservative apologists? Why should he need to have his bio, including the fact that he was for a short time adviser to the Prime Minister on matters economic, slathered far & wide in order to appease the conservatively oriented? Koukoulas is a skilled professional, with the emphasis on ‘professional’. That conservative apologists don’t like what he writes, can’t find fault in his display of facts and more pointedly can’t dispute those facts is no valid rationale for the personal attacks which arose from those named above. I thought it was quite disgusting, albeit quite predictable all the same. It’s yet another indicator of the depths to which civil discourse and debate over important issues has sunk in this country.