We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Craig Foster has won the victory over himself

The captain of the Australian women’s football team, Sam Kerr, is awaiting trial in the UK on a charge of “racially aggravated harassment” for allegedly calling a London police officer a “stupid white bastard”.

Craig Foster, a prominent former player for the Australian national team, the Socceroos, intially said that Kerr should resign if convicted, because racism is bad.


“Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself.”


“Craig Foster apologises to Sam Kerr after arguing her alleged remark to UK police officer was racist”, reports the Guardian.

Foster last week urged Football Australia to strip Kerr of the Matildas captaincy if the allegation was proven, to make a stand against racism. He said: “Interpersonal racism against a white person … is still racism.”

But on Saturday he explained that he had changed his mind.

“Like many, I mistakenly thought that comments that referenced any colour and were discriminatory, demeaning or hostile were a form of racism. I apologise to Sam for that mistake,” Foster wrote on X.

“Judging from the coverage, comments and conversations we’re all having, every day, there were major gaps in knowledge about how to deal with situations where the descriptor ‘white’ is used in a derogatory way.

“As many experts and leading anti-racism groups have pointed out, interpersonal comments can be offensive, abusive or inappropriate, however, racism can only be perpetrated against a marginalised person or group, which anti-racism frameworks are specifically designed to protect.”

Four points:

1) Anyone believe Craig Foster’s claim that he thought calling someone a “white bastard” was racist until “experts and leading anti-racism groups” told him otherwise? His apology was so obviously made under pressure that it came across almost as parody.

2) Calling someone a “white bastard” is racist. Obviously.

3) Calling someone a “white bastard” is not “racially aggravated harassment”. It was just words. It must be annoying being a cop and having people insult you quite often, but the only difference between this and a thousand other drunken outbursts is that the presence of the word “white” enabled the cop concerned to slap a ridiculous charge on Kerr.

4) I have a low opinion of the conduct of all of Sam Kerr, Craig Foster and the police officer.

Samizdata quote of the day – COVID: All Australian governments failed completely

In summary, Covid-19 posed very little risk to people of good health. The use of the tri-nutrient repurposed medicines approach can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of infections, the requirement for hospitalisation and, if commenced early, will prevent admission to ICU in severely ill patients. Covid patients should be managed initially by trained, qualified and experienced medical practitioners, nurse practitioners and scientists utilising nutritional immunology. The entire population should be educated as to the value of these nutrients and it should not be a difficult task. We could be pandemic free in six to to eight weeks if these approaches were adopted. Furthermore, other serious issues that have arisen from the poor management of the pandemic are the coercion to force vaccinate, the lack of informed consent provided to patients, the attacks on doctors and healthcare workers who spoke out about their concerns regarding the toxicity of the vaccines and lost their jobs, the very high levels of vaccination injuries and deaths and in particular the vaccine-induced deaths of Australian children, and the government’s refusal to withdraw the vaccines. All powerful reasons for a broad-based Royal Commission.

I speak on behalf of all the medical practitioners and health care workers who are trained in nutritional therapeutics, who understand the power of the above mentioned approaches and who know they work from the available science and experience, but, are too afraid of speaking out.

Professor Ian Brighthope. This applies to the majority of governments, not just Australia, but I heartly recommend reading the whole thing for the very valuable health advice.

Australia says no to The Voice

Writing in the Australian edition of the Guardian, Lorena Allam says, “Rejecting the voice shows Australia is still in denial, its history of forgetting a festering wrong” The “Voice” refers to the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, which is, or was, “a proposed federal advisory body to comprise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to represent the views of Indigenous communities.” A decisive majority of Australian voters rejected the idea. Both the Guardian articles I have linked to regard the referendum result as a disaster. Lorena Allam writes,

It will take us months and years to grasp the full impact. But it is already blindingly clear that the result has been deeply hurtful for First Nations people, regardless of how we voted.

“Regardless of how we voted” seems an odd way of putting it. While it is true that a majority of Aboriginal voters wanted the Voice, a substantial number of them did not. Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price is one of several prominent people of Aboriginal descent who campaigned against it. Why would they be hurt by getting the result they wanted?

The commenters below the line are apoplectic. The three most recommended comments are: “Further proof, as though it were needed, that Australia remains a profoundly racist country”, “Australia has looked into the mirror and racism, hatred and ignorance has stared back”, and this one by a commenter called MacGiollaGhunna:

I’m European and have lived in Australia for over half my life. Even though I’m Australian on paper, I always think of myself as European. I didn’t need today’s results to know why I will never say I’m an Australian. For the majority of First Nations, a sizeable minority are with you. I am so sorry. I’m on a suburban train now and it makes my skin crawl knowing most people on here voted no. I can only imagine how it must make you feel. Keep staying strong. No matter how many times ‘Australia’ turns away, it will always be your land. Always.

I wonder if these commenters talked to their neighbours during the campaign in the same way they talked to their political brethren after it. If they were at all typical of advocates for “Yes”, no wonder “No” won. MacGiollaGhunna wasn’t the only one who proudly denied actually being Australian. The last line of their comment is another example of the type of “Yes” talk that pushed people towards “No”:

No matter how many times ‘Australia’ turns away, it will always be your land. Always.

On their own, the words “it will always be your land” could be meant in an inclusive way. But the use of scare quotes around “Australia” suggests very strongly that by “it will always be your land” the speaker means it will never truly be the land of anyone else; that the Australians-in-scare-quotes of European or Asian or African or anything other than Indigenous descent are forever interlopers. There’s a word for that sort of belief.

Sure, that’s just the view of one Guardian commenter. And the 121 people who recommended them. And the many similar comments and all the hundreds of people who recommended them. But that politically-correct suggestion that the Voice constituted an admission that only the Indigenous are the true owners of the land was widespread among supporters of the Indigenous Voice proposal, and certainly contributed to it being rejected.

The Guardian was correct to point out that claims that the Voice would mean Australians would lose ownership of their homes were false. The next sentence I’m not so sure about: “Variations of this claim include: Australians will be forced to pay reparations or the voice will increase taxes (ie, the voice will cost you money)”. There is a growing worldwide movement for “reparations” to be paid by white people to black people, as the Guardian never tires of telling us. As for “the voice will cost you money”, duh, of course it would have cost them money. Who else would have paid the salaries of all the proposed Indigenous representatives, not to mention all their assistants, secretaries, janitors, security staff et cetera other than the Australian taxpayer?

Tax the legal cigarette industry to death, watch the illegal industry replace it

Youth smoking has increased six-fold in Australia since 2019 despite the highest cigarette taxes in the world.

That is what is shown by the orange line on the graph in Snowdon’s tweet. The graph is taken from page 8 of the Australian government’s own publication, “Current vaping and current smoking in the Australian population aged 14+ years: February 2018-March 2023”.

If you seek to understand why this has happened, cross out “despite” and replace it with “because”.

In an article called “Introducing the Snowdon Curve”, Tim Worstall explains further:

There is an optimal amount of regulation, taxation, meant to discourage an activity. Going further than this actually increases the amount of the undesired activity, not decreases it.

If, for example, spirits were taxed so highly that it was near impossible to afford them then how much would home distillation rise? It’s possible to think by more than the drinking discouraged. We do not insist on that particular example, it is just an example.

But here with smoking the thing that everyone wants to discourage most is the teen smoking of cigarettes.


Australia, as the news keeps reminding us, does have a large illegal tobacco sector. The taxes, the restrictions, are worth people working in and supplying it – which leads to the real price of smokes and baccy to be considerably lower – thus consumption higher, than the legal status would suggest.

There really is a curve here. Restrictions can be so onerous that the society simply declares “Bugrit, millennium hand an’ shrimp” as with this example of teen smoking and Australian tobacco restrictions.

It’s possible to generalise this further too. Some of us have lived in societies where everything is so tediously regulated that no one bothers to obey any of the laws. This explains the Soviet economy and Italian driving.

There really is this Snowdon Curve, it is possible to have non-optimal levels of tax and regulation which end up increasing the amount of the undesired activity. As with the base Laffer contention, this is unarguable. That we are now beyond this point in many aspects of society, well, let the arguments begin.

I can relate to the way the Guardian spun this

On December 3rd 2021, New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel took all 10 wickets in one innings of a Test Match against India. He was only the third bowler in history to achieve this feat in international cricket.

On April 7th 2023, the Guardian‘s Elle Hunt joined the ranks of great spinners from New Zealand:

“With a text message sent to the wrong group chat, New Zealand’s Greens have never been so relatable.”

New Zealand’s Green party is in highly public turmoil after one politician sent a message seeming to criticise a colleague to a group of their other colleagues, apparently by mistake.

While the Greens’ Chlöe Swarbrick was speaking in the House on Wednesday, her fellow MP Elizabeth Kerekere texted a group of Green politicians and staff: “omg what a crybaby” – seeming to refer to Swarbrick’s failed amendment bill, aiming to reduce harm from alcohol.

After a colleague responded with “I think this is the wrong chat …?” – which ranks alongside “We need to talk” in its ability to instantly strike fear into the heart of its recipient – Kerekere deleted the text, then apologised for the “inappropriate message … which was not meant for this thread”.

The comments show Guardian readers wrestling with the difficult moral dilemmas thrown up by this situation. Swarbrick is female and LGBTQ. Kerekere is female, LGBTQ and Maori, seemingly giving her an unassailable lead. Then again, Swarbrick is vegan and sees a psychologist every week. And as the top comment by JunoNZ reminds us, “Chloe was trying very hard to persuade Parliament to advance a bill that would improve our terrible alcohol laws. These laws have a huge impact, especially on people living in poverty. And that includes some transgender people and their whanau as well as a disproportionate number of Maori and Pacifica, the groups supposedly of concern to EK.”

Bringing in “transgender people and their whanau” was a smart tactical move. Merely to mention transgender people, though a sound enough strategy in debates about the provision of bus shelters or the cost of electricity, would not have been enough to negate Kerekere’s Maori advantage, but, like all the best spin bowling, the sudden and logically unjustified use of the word “whānau” won by sheer audacity.

The inadequacy of political “kindness”

In response to a Times article called “How I watched the halo slipping from Jacinda Ardern”, a commenter called Iain Thorpe made a very good point:

There are deep problems with “kindness” as a political philosophy. If kindness is the answer to all problems, then the problems must be caused by unkindness. And people who disagree with you must be unkind people. Obviously you don’t have to listen when unkind people try to tell you anything. And you certainly don’t have to offer them the same concern or compassion as other people. Their unkindness is their own fault. You don’t have to do anything for it, or for them. And so “kindness” ends up being without empathy, the opposite of inclusion. Adern’s inability to deal with people who disagreed with or were disadvantaged by her government’s policies was striking. She seldom even attempted to speak to them and seemed incapable of winning over anyone who opposed her.

Samizdata quote of the day – a pox on antipodean authoritarianism

We almost certainly haven’t seen the last of Ardern. No doubt a plum job at the United Nations, the World Health Organisation or some other ghastly supranational body beckons. Nor have we seen the last of the elitist politics that she came to represent. It’s high time we had a reckoning with this ‘kindly’ authoritarianism.

Tom Slater

Swatted by Siri

“How a personal trainer’s smart watch caused 15 armed police officers to turn up to his Sydney gym while he was teaching a client”Daily Mail.

Apparently, Jaime Alleyne, who is a a Muay Thai and boxing trainer, called out “one, one, two” followed by “good shot” to a client he was sparring with. He was not wearing his smart watch but it was still active – and 112 is one of the Australian emergency phone numbers. Mr Alleyne said, “Next minute about 15 officers including undercovers showed up, with several ambulances parked out the front, and that’s when I started bricking myself.”

He would have had no need to fear an over-zealous response from the UK emergency services. They would still be waiting for a risk assessment.

You were entirely in the tank, Jacinda

‘Jacinda Ardern has announced she will quit as New Zealand prime minister ahead of this year’s election, saying she no longer has “enough in the tank” to lead’, reports the BBC.

‘Ms Ardern choked up as she detailed how six “challenging” years in the job had taken a toll

Labour Party MPs will vote to find her replacement on Sunday.

The shock announcement comes as polling indicates the party faces a difficult path to re-election on 14 October.’

The only shock was that she chose to jump rather than be pushed. Still, she can comfort herself with the thought that though her support inside New Zealand may have diminished, she remains much esteemed by the great and good worldwide.

Greenpeace Aotearoa lives in hope

I am not being sarcastic when I say that I admire the way that Nick Young, writing for Greenpeace Aotearoa (the country formerly known as New Zealand), at least has the guts to admit that Sri Lanka’s ban on chemical fertiliser was a disaster. In a piece called “Sri Lanka’s fertiliser ban and why New Zealand can phase out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser”, he gives his reasons for supposing that despite Sri Lanka’s experience, it will work next time. He is enthusiastic, for instance, about the prospects for the Indian state of Sikkim which has also prohibited chemical fertilisers. He writes,

The key thing to note is that it wasn’t something that happened overnight. And it didn’t happen because Sikkim’s shoppers suddenly decided to buy organic food or because its farmers woke up one day and decided to switch to organic with no support. It happened because the Sikkim Government used policies, public investment and a transition plan to make it happen.

It is strange to me to see someone delight in the fact that the choices of shoppers or farmers, the ordinary people whose lives would be affected most, played no part in this change.

This Guardian article is five years old now, but I would bet that the problems it describes have not gone away: “Sikkim’s organic revolution at risk as local consumers fail to buy into project.” More recently, Pawan Chamling, who as the then Chief Minister of Sikkim did much to put the policy in place, said that the current Sikkim government “has put Sikkim’s organic mission on the back burner”. He writes,

The organic mission has been totally wiped out of the government’s vocabulary and State budget. Not a single penny has been allocated towards organic farming. Even more alarming is that chemical fertilisers are being brought into the state and are freely sold in the market.

Freely sold and freely bought. Farmers making their own decisions. How awful.

Despite everything, I have nothing against organic farming. But the way that Sikkim being “100% organic”, a source of pride and a key part of Sikkim’s identity according to Mr Chamling, withered as soon the government subsidies dried up suggests that the change was never, if you will forgive the metaphor, organic in the first place. It was imposed from the top down. It had no roots.

Battleground Melbourne Documentary ‘FRIENDS & FAMILY’ Pre-Release


New Zealand as Neverland: where children never grow up

“New Zealand smoking ban: young to be barred from ever buying cigarettes”, the Times reports.

New Zealand will ban young people from ever being able to purchase tobacco under world-leading plans to make the country virtually smoke-free within four years.

No one who is under the age of 14 today will ever be legally permitted to buy cigarettes in a drive to eradicate smoking from the country under new legislation to be introduced early next year.

Each year the legal smoking age, now 18, will be increased, with new age groups added to the ban list until the country is almost smoke-free.