Nov 142006

The Prime Minstrel is singing sadder tunes these days.

“I fear that the cause of international trade reform may have been somewhat damaged by the outcome of the congressional election in the United States with the election of a significant number of protectionist Democrats,”

This sort of commentary on the recent change in politics in America clearly doesn’t sit well with Australia’s best political string strummer. He also tried to dismiss the reaction of George W. Bush to the thumping he himself admitted his side of the divide had received, by dismissing Donald Rumsfeld from the position of Secretary for Defence. The same man he’d spoken of weeks earlier as doing a sterling job and worthy of support. Little Johnny Howler waved Bush’s reaction aside as simple ‘gesture politics’.

There are certainly some gesture politics being played out in this country right now. Evidence Howard’s sudden embracing of climate change as a reality.

“I think we all recognise that we have to examine in the time ahead how we might devise an emissions trading system, which properly cares for and accommodates the legitimate interests and therefore, maintains the competitive advantage that this country enjoys in the industries that are familiar to you,”

Clearly, the realities of climate change have come home to the Minstrel, even if only from the perspective that he must pay attention to the clammering of the electorate to the extent of addressing business and industry concerns of being left out of a globally accepted carbon trading regime. Call it Kyoto or call it something entirely different, the impact is precisely that same, albeit delayed. I am reminded most poignantly of the world Dylan penned forty years ago.

Come gather ’round people where ever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone,
For the times they are a’ changin’!

Come writers and critics who prophesy with your pen
And keep your eyes wide the chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon for the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
For the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a’ changin’!

Come senators, congressmen please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside and it’s ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a’ changin’!

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