I'm raising my daughter to be 'traditional wife' one day - and that it is perfectly acceptable to serve and depend on a man

This mother is actually ensuring that her daughter has a balace of influences.  Her daughter will get plently of feminist propaganda at school

My own experience of a traditional wife has been very good.  When I married Jenny I told her to ditch her job and enabled her to become a full-time wife and mother.  She was grateful for that and embraced the role enthusiastically. And just yesterday  -- 40 years later -- she told me that I am her highest priority.  Beat that!

An Australian stay-at-home mum has caused a stir by saying she is teaching her young daughter to 'serve' her family and 'depend' on her future husband. 

Jasmine Dinis is a self described 'traditional wife' who is raising her daughter to want the same instead of getting a university education or career of her own.  

Many were quick to criticise Jasmine's old-fashioned parenting style and pointed out while there is nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mum, the notion of a woman 'serving' her husband could be 'anti-feminist'.

'I'm teaching my daughter that it's perfectly acceptable to depend on a man and that serving her husband and bearing children will be her greatest joy,' the mum-of-one wrote in an online video. 

Jasmine has more than 145,000 followers across TikTok and Instagram as she posts snippets of her life 'encouraging traditional motherhood and marriage'. 

'In a world full of women teaching their children that their only goal is to go to university, get a good job and make money, I'm teaching my little girl to live a slow life, to be a biblical women that wants a husband and a beautiful family that she can serve daily,' she captioned the video. 

'That joy comes from God and family, not from a career.'

The controversial video was seen more than 3.4million times with viewers quick to slam Jasmine for 'deciding' her daughter's future. 

'I hope you will support her in other career options if she expresses she doesn't want what you wanted,' one woman said. 

'Ah yes. What could go wrong here???' asked another. 

'You don't know what her biggest joy will be. Let her decide on her own,' a third wrote. 

'Girls - don't depend on anyone else but YOU! You are your own rock, your own foundation, your own future,' added a fourth. 

But not everyone was outraged by Jasmine's sentiment.

'This is absolutely beautiful,' one woman said. 

'You're an incredible mother and living this way is fulfilling in the deepest level,' a second agreed. 

'She's teaching her daughter there is still empowerment in creating a home. If it doesn't apply to you that's fine,' another replied. 



My daughter’s planning an arts (humanities) degree. I’m proud (and quietly terrified)

As an Arts graduate myself, I have a degree of sympathy with the lady below but I think she is out of touch with the modern world. Instead of introducing kids to great literature and ideas of the past, a modern Arts degree is more likely to be dominated by "theory" aka Marxism. Arts faculties these days are little more than Madrassas of Leftism. They close minds rather than open them.

I greatly enjoyed the introduction to the humanities that I got from my education but I am not sure where you could get anything comparable these days. Find below what a humanities education can be

With year 12 exams now a sleep-in-filled month ago, my answer to the question of what my daughter’s plans are for next year is always given with a grimace and often followed by discussion about our society’s priorities. You see, my daughter is planning to do an arts degree.

I’m proud of her choice, despite all the jokes about highly qualified telemarketers or the core ability of an arts graduate to add the word “why” into the standard question: “Would you like fries with that?”

That’s because I deeply admire people whose motivation to study is to know more about history, language, culture and society, as well as to expand their critical thinking skills and understand our place in the world.

I’m also terrified she’s going to end up balancing on a see-saw with low career prospects at one end and a high HECS debt on the other. And yet, I read that current arts students are persevering with their course despite the soaring cost of their degree. I confess, I’m sticking my fingers in my ears and singing “la, la, la” when I think about how the 2020 Morrison government’s “job-ready graduates” scheme raised fees for arts courses by 117 per cent. (Yes, it more than doubled the cost.)

To be honest, I’d be quietly thrilled if my daughter was keen on one of the courses that had their fees lowered because they have a more direct link to a career. But the key word in that sentence is “if”.

The parents who are driving teachers out of the classroom
I’ve lived long enough to know that pursuing a course because of parental wishes or societal pressures will likely lead to drop-out or, like several people I know, to a completed degree but not a single day spent working in that field. And, let’s face it, many professions arising from courses for which HECS fees were cut by the Morrison government – to encourage participation – are not exactly inspiring at the moment. Teachers are leaving in droves, vets are experiencing high suicide rates and health workers are often overworked and underappreciated.

I’m heartened to discover that changes to HECS aren’t affecting students’ course choices nearly as much as the policy creators hoped. Research conducted in NSW (which, full disclosure, was led by my nephew Max Yong) showed that only 1.5 per cent of course choosers were influenced by price.

That’s good news because, while announcing free nursing courses makes for a great political soundbite, young people seem clever enough to know it’s a terrible idea to encourage uninterested and unsuitable people into a caring profession.

Frankly, it’s damn rude of a government to devalue those interested in bigger-picture thinking. I’d go as far as suggesting that increasing HECS fees for arts-based subjects is punishment for those not buying into neoliberal views. Especially when a HECS debt of about $45,000 (the rough figure my daughter’s facing, not including the costs of moving from a regional home to a city to study) might stretch out to a life-long burden.

Not only is it backwards logic to charge the highest prices for those courses that are less likely to set you up with a high-paying career (a point made by everyone from my nephew to the Productivity Commission), but surely we want to encourage deep and contextual thinking?

This is especially so in our era of quick-fire social media opinions and increasing mis- and disinformation. At a time when teachers are being told not to bring politics into the classroom, I reckon we need more people who understand the difference between political leanings and the complexities of history. For instance, introducing students to both the reasoning behind the creation of Israel and the impact on Palestine is not politics; it’s education.

If we cease to value thought and scholarship for scholarship’s sake, we might as well all give up and leave our world to AI businesses that are happily ripping off original thought in the name of profit.

We don’t always know what will come from study for study’s sake. When my father pursued a degree, then PhD, in the 1960s, pure maths was seen to have little real-world relevance, yet it is now appreciated for the transferable skills to fields such as computing and economics.

Who knows what jobs will be available by the time my daughter finishes her degree, which may or may not include history, English and Indonesian, subjects her amazing (public school) teachers inspired her to explore. Either way, as someone looking set to achieve a high ATAR, I think she should be celebrated for choosing arts over options that academic kids often feel pushed towards.

The truth is she has no idea what she wants to do when she grows up and, at 18, I reckon that’s OK. In fact, it aligns with the idea of studying humanities which, instead of being about concrete certainty and measurable outcomes, is about asking questions and probing possibilities.

I hope the current government reverses “job-ready graduates” as part of its review of the Australian Universities Accord, which is investigating the quality, accessibility, affordability and sustainability of higher education. Yes, that’s partly on a very selfish level as I don’t want my daughter to be burdened by study-related debt, but also because young people shouldn’t be punished for asking big questions about our world.


New study reveals very bad news for bread lovers

The Chinese authors of this study deserve credit for a very careful and thorough study.  In the end, however the results are no different from less well-controlled  previous studies:  Weak effects.  All the relationships were marginal, meaning that it would be a rare person who suffered ill effects from (say) eating bread.  A bread enthusiast living to be 100 could be expected

There are few things in this world as comforting as a fresh piece of bread straight from the oven.

Spread with some lashings of butter, a dollop of jam or a scrape of vegemite, most of us have grown up with this delicious snack and many enjoy it as part of our daily diet.

While most of us can admit that consuming nothing but bread may leave us with more vitamin deficiencies that a scurvy-riddled pirate, we may not realise the impact our carboholic tendencies are having on our health.

According to a brand new study featured in Nutrients medical journal, the humble loaf of white bread has sadly been found to increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC), also known as bowel cancer, regardless of genetic factors.

Alcohol was also found to be a contributing factor in a person’s chance of developing this cancer, in addition to the other negative impacts of the drug.

Researchers from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine in China analysed 139 dietary factors and their impact on the risk of developing bowel cancer.

The 118,210 participants from the UK Biobank cohort completed online questionnaires about their food intake.

Following up with their clients after an average of 12.8 years, researchers identified that both white bread and alcohol increased the risks of bowel cancer, while six other vitamins and minerals – fibre, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and carbohydrate – decreased the risk of developing CRC.

The study found that the overall risk was influenced by both a mix of some genetic characteristics, as well as diet and lifestyle habits.

“After a mean follow-up of 12.8 years, we identified 1466 incidents of CRC among 118,210 UK participants,” the study read.

“Of these, 842 were colon cancer and 359 were rectal cancer. The mean age of the 1466 CRC patients was 55.87 years and almost 44.6% of the study population was male.

“Compared to the general population, CRC cases were more likely to be male and white, older, and less educated, and to have a higher TDI (tolerable daily intake), more family history of bowel cancer, a high BMI, less physical activity, more smoking, and a higher prevalence of diabetes at baseline.”

Misagh Karimi, M.D., a medical oncologist and colorectal cancer specialist, was not involved in the study but offered his reaction to its results.

“The findings of this study reaffirm the well-established connection between lifestyle and dietary choices and the prevention of colorectal cancer,” he told Fox News.

“These findings emphasise the critical importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle and dietary habits, which include limiting alcohol consumption and choosing a diet rich in high-fibre foods to mitigate the risk of cancer.”

While the doctor praised the study for involving a large amount of people, he pointed out that it was focused on a European population and further studies might be needed.

“This study also stands out because of its size and design,” Dr Karimi said.

“It involved a large sample population of 500,000 middle-aged people, a long follow-up period and a comprehensive assessment of dietary factors.

“As the researchers state, analysis was limited to a European population. To ensure the applicability of these findings to diverse populations, further studies are needed to validate these results on a wider population.”

Bowel cancer was the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2018, according to Cancer Australia.

In 2020, bowel cancer was the second most common cause of cancer death in Australia, with 5354 (2847 males and 2507 females).

Some common symptoms include a change in bowel habits, blood in stools, abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, weight loss, lumps in the rectum, unexplained fatigue and blood in the urine.

Earlier this year, another study published in the PNAS journal from a research team in Hangzhou, China, found that hot chips and other deliciously fried carbohydrate-laden foods may have a negative impact on mental health.

The study found that these types of meals may be linked to higher rates of anxiety and depression, with the impact found to be more pronounced in “young men, and younger consumers in general”.

The research demonstrate that the frequent consumption of fried foods – especially fried potatoes – was linked with a 12 per cent higher risk of anxiety and a 7 per cent higher risk of depression, compared to people who did not eat fried foods.

However, nutrition experts explained that the results are preliminary, and it is not necessarily clear whether the fried foods were driving mental health issues, or people experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety turned to fried foods for comfort.

Fried potatoes specifically were found to have a 2 per cent increase in risk of depression over “fried white meat”, such as fried chicken.



Can you be Muslim and vegan? What about Jewish or Christian?

From a Christian view point it is crystal clear that being vegetarian and non-vegetarian are both completely OK. The apostle Paul addressed the matter specifically in Romans 14:1-23

"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him"

Muslims respect the Bible so that ruling should be influential to them too

When Lujayn Hawari decided to become a vegan, she knew her parents would not take it well.

The 27-year-old Palestinian journalist grew up in Brisbane in a "moderately conservative Muslim household".

That meant praying five times a day, observing Islamic holidays and traditions, and eating what her mother cooked — including meat.

Lujayn's parents were initially very unhappy with her veganism, and saw it as an affront to their religion.(Supplied)
So when Lujayn made the decision to stop eating animal products in 2016, her parents were unimpressed.

"It was an argument [at] breakfast, lunch and dinner," she says.


Maryanne Demasi: Popular ABC TV science show presenter claims she was discredited and fired after pharmaceutical companies complained

She was absolutely right. There are big doubts about statins. See for instance below:

A former ABC presenter has slammed the national broadcaster and TV medic Dr Norman Swan after claiming she was axed, censored and silenced by her bosses.

Maryanne Demasi was one of the hosts of popular ABC prime time science program Catalyst when it was pulled off the air in 2016 after her reporting sparked a furious backlash.

Her two-part expose in 2013 on an alleged over-use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs was a ratings success - but was later banned from ever being shown again.

It claimed some people were taking the heart medication without need, but the ABC's Dr Swan warned people risked a heart attack if they stopped taking their prescribed drugs.

Three years later, a further report on the alleged health risks of wifi and 5G sparked so much outrage the show was axed completely in its then-current format in 2016.

Now Dr Demasi has compared the furore over her stories with the mainstream backlash against anti-vaxxers during the Covid pandemic.

In a speech to an 'Australians for Science and Freedom' conference at Sydney's University of New South Wales earlier this month, she blasted her former TV bosses.

Dr Demasi said health industry critics had hit back after the statins show aired and said 'the ideas in the program were 'dangerous' [and] expressed by 'fringe experts'. '[They] assured the public that statin drugs were 'safe and effective'.'

'Do those phrases sound familiar?' she asked the conference audience. 'The phrases became a fixture of the pandemic.

'One commentator at the ABC went on national radio and claimed that people would die if they watched the program,' she told the audience.

'Australians will recognise this character - Dr Norman Swan. He rose to prominence during the pandemic.'

She said the outrage against that show had been led by the pharmaceutical industry.

'Within days, all three of the major statin manufacturers complained to the network,' she said.

'So did the Heart Foundation, which was criticised in the program for its outdated dietary advice on heart disease, and of course Medicines Australia, the body that represents the Australian pharmaceutical industry. '

She said the media had jumped on the bandwagon attacking her after Dr Swan spoke out against the show.

'His comments about my programs sparked a slew of national stories,' she said.

'[They] accused the programs of killing people, claiming that ABC had blood on its hands, and asking people to sue the ABC if they'd had a heart attack after stopping their statins because of the programs.

'To enforce the narrative, the School of Pharmacy at Sydney University came out with a study claiming that the programs would be responsible for up to 2900 deaths because around 60,000 people would quit taking statins.

'Basically, they were accusing us of mass murder.'

A six-month internal review found the show had been factually accurate but the second part of the report had slanted unfairly against the statins industry.

'I gave more weight to the view of experts (such as Harvard's Prof John Abramson and UCSF's Prof Rita Redberg), that statins were over-prescribed,' she said.

'Which was rather ludicrous since the point of the program was to highlight the problem that statins were over-prescribed.'

She claimed TV bosses told her they'd been ordered to make the problem go away and took the episodes offline, apologised and vowed never to air them again.

Dr Demasi claimed TV bosses were deliberately silencing her from defending herself in a bid to stem the controversy

'This gave the false impression that we were admitting the programs were misleading,' she said. 'Consequently, I was attacked in the media, I was characterised as 'pseudoscientific' and any attempt to defend me was censored. 'I became the target of an orchestrated campaign to discredit me.'

She said TV bosses were deliberately silencing her from defending herself in a bid to stem the controversy.

'I was unable to challenge the criticisms against me,' she said. 'I was effectively silenced by my network and they were cancelling film shoots.

'They'd send me emails saying that I was not allowed to comment publicly or privately about these issues, or else they would consider it a breach of my employment conditions.

'I was told to stop emailing my concerns because my emails could be FOI'd and become part of the public record, so if I had anything to say, I had to do it by phone or face-to-face.'

She said the pressure was huge and she regularly faced internal investigations into her work before it went to air.

'Often it would take longer to defend a program than it would to make it,' she revealed. 'Because we were on tight budgets, this was simply unsustainable.'

'And finally, I learnt that the ABC was willing to silence its own journalists in order to appease industry. This had a chilling effect on other mainstream journalists.

'The message was that it would be career suicide if you tried anything similar.

'And it seems to be a very effective strategy because I don't think I ever saw another story challenging statins in the Australian media again.'

She added: 'I think the standards at the ABC have continued to slip. 'It's a shame, because the ABC was once considered a great institution.'


ROWAN ATKINSON: Our honeymoon with electric vehicles is over so, for now, my advice is to hang on to your old petrol motor

His point about old cars is well taken. These days there is rarely any need to buy a new car. My 2004 Toyota Echo still runs like a watch and has never let me down. It has only ever needed wear and tear items replaced and routine maintenance

I love electric vehicles — and was an early adopter. But increasingly I feel duped.

Sadly, keeping your old petrol car may be better than buying an EV. There are sound environmental reasons not to jump just yet.

Electric motoring is, in theory, a subject about which I should know something. My first university degree was in electrical and electronic engineering, with a subsequent master's in control systems.

Combine this, perhaps surprising, academic pathway with a lifelong passion for the motorcar, and you can see why I was drawn into an early adoption of electric vehicles.

I bought my first electric hybrid 18 years ago and my first pure electric car nine years ago and (notwithstanding our poor electric charging infrastructure) have enjoyed my time with both very much.

Electric vehicles may be a bit soulless, but they're wonderful mechanisms: fast, quiet and, until recently, very cheap to run. But increasingly, I feel a little duped. When you start to drill into the facts, electric motoring doesn't seem to be quite the environmental panacea it is claimed to be.

As you may know, the Government has proposed a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030. The problem with the initiative is that it seems to be largely based on conclusions drawn from only one part of a car's operating life: what comes out of the exhaust pipe.

Electric cars, of course, have zero exhaust emissions, which is a welcome development, particularly in respect of the air quality in city centres. But if you zoom out a bit and look at a bigger picture that includes the car's manufacture, the situation is very different.

In advance of the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow in 2021, Volvo released figures claiming that greenhouse gas emissions during production of an electric car are nearly 70 per cent higher than when manufacturing a petrol one.

How so? The problem lies with the lithium-ion batteries fitted currently to nearly all electric vehicles: they're absurdly heavy, huge amounts of energy are required to make them, and they are estimated to last only upwards of ten years.

It seems a perverse choice of hardware with which to lead the automobile's fight against the climate crisis.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of effort is going into finding something better.

New, so-called solid-state batteries are being developed that should charge more quickly and could be about a third of the weight of the current ones — but they are years away from being on sale, by which time, of course, we will have made millions of overweight electric cars with rapidly obsolescing batteries.

Hydrogen is emerging as an interesting alternative fuel, even though we are slow in developing a truly 'green' way of manufacturing it. It can be used in one of two ways. It can power a hydrogen fuel cell (essentially, a kind of battery); the car manufacturer Toyota has poured a lot of money into the development of these.

Such a system weighs half of an equivalent lithium-ion battery and a car can be refuelled with hydrogen at a filling station as fast as with petrol.

If the lithium-ion battery is an imperfect device for electric cars, concerns have been raised over their use in heavy trucks for long distance haulage because of the weight; an alternative is to inject hydrogen into a new kind of piston engine.

If hydrogen wins the race to power trucks — and as a result every filling station stocks it — it could be a popular and accessible choice for cars.

But let's zoom out even further and consider the whole life cycle of an automobile.

The biggest problem we need to address in society's relationship with the car is the 'fast fashion' sales culture that has been the commercial template of the car industry for decades.

Currently, on average we keep our new cars for only three years before selling them on, driven mainly by the ubiquitous three-year leasing model.

This seems an outrageously profligate use of the world's natural resources when you consider what great condition a three-year-old car is in.

When I was a child, any car that was five years old was a bucket of rust and halfway through the gate of the scrapyard. Not any longer. You can now make a car for £15,000 that, with tender loving care, will last for 30 years.

It's sobering to think that if the first owners of new cars just kept them for five years, on average, instead of the current three, then car production and the CO2 emissions associated with it, would be vastly reduced.

Yet we'd be enjoying the same mobility, just driving slightly older cars.

We need also to acknowledge what a great asset we have in the cars that currently exist (there are nearly 1.5 billion of them worldwide).

In terms of manufacture, these cars have paid their environmental dues and, although it is sensible to reduce our reliance on them, it would seem right to look carefully at ways of retaining them while lowering their polluting effect. Fairly obviously, we could use them less.

As an environmentalist once said to me, if you really need a car, buy an old one and use it as little as possible.

A sensible thing to do would be to speed up the development of synthetic fuel, which is already being used in motor racing; it's a product based on two simple notions: one, the environmental problem with a petrol engine is the petrol, not the engine and, two, there's nothing in a barrel of oil that can't be replicated by other means.

Formula One is going to use synthetic fuel from 2026. There are many interpretations of the idea but the German car company Porsche is developing a fuel in Chile using wind to power a process whose main ingredients are water and carbon dioxide.

With more development, it should be usable in all petrol-engine cars, rendering their use virtually CO2-neutral.

Increasingly, I'm feeling that our honeymoon with electric cars is coming to an end, and that's no bad thing: we're realising that a wider range of options need to be explored if we're going to properly address the very serious environmental problems that our use of the motor car has created.

We should keep developing hydrogen, as well as synthetic fuels to save the scrapping of older cars which still have so much to give, while simultaneously promoting a quite different business model for the car industry, in which we keep our new vehicles for longer, acknowledging their amazing but overlooked longevity.

Friends with an environmental conscience often ask me, as a car person, whether they should buy an electric car. I tend to say that if their car is an old diesel and they do a lot of city centre motoring, they should consider a change.

But otherwise, hold fire for now. Electric propulsion will be of real, global environmental benefit one day, but that day has yet to dawn


‘I could have gone blind if I hadn’t been able to go private’

image from https://static.independent.co.uk/2023/11/23/10/2G6A8420%20copy.jpga.jpg

This is very common with government heathcare but this instance from Britain is particularly disturbing.  It's a bit better in Australia.  Once you get into a government hospital the treatment is very good.  But the waiting list to get in can be very long, several weeks at least.  No good for anything urgent.

When her sight started to blur in one eye, Marianne Jones wasn’t too worried – but what happened next was terrifying and exposes the broken state of an NHS system failing millions of patients every day

Marianne Jones had always been short-sighted but, when her eyesight began to fail, she was facing a terrifying choice – pay now or pay with her sight later

It was three days before my silver wedding anniversary holiday that I booked an optician’s appointment to check out my suddenly blurry right eye.

For days previously, all I could see were wavy lines, distorted faces and floating blobs. I’ve been extremely short-sighted since I was a teenager (my nickname is Mr Magoo) and have check-ups more regularly than most. So, I was concerned but not overly so, putting my eye problems down to the strain of staring at the computer for too long. Still, I wanted to put my mind at rest before heading off for a 12-hour flight to Mauritius, for a celebration we’d saved long and hard for.

I hadn’t planned for the potential dire consequences of my symptoms, or the very British drama that came next. One hour later, on a Friday afternoon, the optician studied a scan of my problematic eye and declared I needed emergency treatment for what appeared to be fluid leaking into my retina.

I was told to head to the A&E department at Moorfields NHS Eye Hospital in London, as soon as possible. “You never know, they might treat you straight away,” my optician offered, not very convincingly.

I fear he knew what was coming. I arrived at Moorfields bright and early the next day as an emergency out-patient. A kind security guard pointed out the reception area, where I fumbled with the paperwork and tried to return it through the wrong gap. By now I could only make out dark shapes through my bad eye and even putting one foot in front of the other was disconcerting. I was nauseous, disorientated and alone, my husband having driven to the Midlands the previous morning to drop off our dog with relatives.

There was already a queue, but not a huge one. After handing in my “cheese counter” numbered ticket, I joined a row of other patients on plastic chairs. One woman was sobbing, her husband with his arms around her, another couldn’t open her eyes and had to be led around by the professional but harried staff who looked like they hadn’t sat down in a long time.

Two sets of tests and three hours later, I was ushered into a tiny, blue-curtained booth, where a registrar told me that I had a condition called Myopic CNV, brought on by my short-sightedness and resulting in blood vessels growing where they shouldn’t and leaking into my retina. It’s not common and it is very serious. The treatment – an injection into the eye – took seconds, was easy to administer and had a high success rate. But speed was of the essence and I was already approaching the danger zone.

I kept hearing the words “urgent” and “emergency” and it suddenly occurred to me that I was in real danger of losing my sight.

I’m almost certain that, had I waited the full three weeks, I would now be blind in one eye

A member of staff was dispatched to find the next available slot for treatment. Naively, I presumed it would happen that same day, but she returned to report that the next emergency NHS appointment at Moorfields was in three weeks’ time.

The registrar said what I was thinking: “That’s too late”, and picked up the phone to call hospitals nearer to my home in Kent (I’d chosen Moorfields that day because it was the easiest hospital to get to on public transport). Eventually, she reached a registrar at the ophthalmology department of Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup. More “urgents” were used and I was put into their system. I asked how soon the hospital might contact me, the registrar hoped it would be soon but gave me the phone number to write down. I must call them first thing Monday morning, she told me. I thought it was odd to be asked to chase up my own emergency referral, but sensed that she had been here before.

My worried husband and delighted dog arrived back home that night to find me in a state of panic, the sight in my eye having become progressively worse. I wasn’t in pain but could see almost nothing but dark shapes. After two sleepless nights and the day I should have been jetting off to the sun, I shakily called the hospital phone number. Over the next two hours, I repeated this dozens of times, but the line simply rang out before cutting me off.

The craziness of being unable to contact the hospital I’d been told to chase so that I didn’t go blind, led to us quickly making the decision to go private. I simply wasn’t prepared to play Russian roulette with my eyesight.

I called Moorfields – this time its private wing. They answered straight away. The price of the consultation, scan and one injection came to £2,799. I could be seen immediately. So, that lunchtime I had the surreal experience of walking past the A&E department where I’d been 48 hours earlier and round the corner to its private hospital, with shiny sofas, vases of hydrangeas and serene staff who had time to chat about their weekend.

Within the hour I’d been talked to, examined and scanned by a consultant who also worked over the road at the NHS hospital. He told me he needed to treat me immediately. I was too shocked to feel squeamish as he led me to a surgery room and injected medication into my eye to help restore my vision (you’re awake but anaesthetic drops mean it isn’t painful).

For a perverse crumb of comfort, I asked him what would have happened had I gone on holiday and taken my chances with the NHS appointment. He informed me that, in his opinion, my eye condition was so severe that had I left it another week there was a 30 per cent chance of me losing the sight altogether, a statistic that increased with every passing day. I’m almost certain that, had I waited the full three weeks, I would now be blind in one eye.

I have now become just another statistic, with four in five high street optometrists saying their patients have paid for private procedures in the past six months. There are about 640,000 people waiting for an NHS ophthalmology appointment, more than any other speciality – accounting for roughly one in 11 people on a waiting list of a record-high 7.8 million people. Being told an easy treatment was effectively out of my reach unless I paid for it, brought home that our NHS is not only broken, but shattered and in tiny pieces on the floor.

Two days before my sudden visit to Moorfields, prime minister Rishi Sunak walked through its doors to learn about the research being carried out in the world of artificial intelligence. I couldn’t help but wonder whether the real-world problem of humans not receiving urgent treatment in time was discussed.

I walked out of there almost £3,000 lighter, but not blind. Three weeks on I have still heard nothing from the hospital in Sidcup and wonder if I ever will. I’m now back in the NHS system and have been referred to a different hospital for a follow-up appointment. My condition is one that will need regular monitoring, quite possibly for the rest of my life and I couldn’t possibly fund this privately even if I wanted to. I frequently think about those other distressed souls that I shared the emergency waiting room with a few weekends ago. How many of them had savings to raid or a supportive family to offer help? I wonder which of them needed emergency treatment that day to save their sight and who was offered the appointment that I turned down. The one that quite possibly came too late.



Aussie living in London reveals British things she thought were weird after making the move

She is absolutely right about British customer service.  When I would walk into a London shop for any reason,  all the staff would pretend I did not exist.  But I never tolerated that for more than a minute.  I would simply say in a loud voice "I hate being invisible".  That would be an electric shock to the staff concerned.  They would literally run to serve me. Why?  I had done that most abhorred British thing;  I had "made a scene".  I can be something of a stentor at times so that would have helped too

She mentions her shock of British customer service and that when she first arrived, she thought 'everyone was so rude'.

She said 'No one says hi to you when you first walk into a shop, people will literally just ignore you customer service wise.

'When I went and got my phone plan down, I sat down and was like "hey I want a phone plan' and they're like 'yep no worries".

'The girl turned around tapped in her computer for no joke 20 minutes, did not say a word to me and didn't even look at me.

'I was like is this normal? This is the most awkward thing I've ever done.'



Widespread costs of living shocks

I am one of the older generation who are not much affected by the crisis. We usually own our own homes so have no rent to pay and have built up savings through a lifetime of work.

But the reports below do bother me and I wonder what I could do to help. I already provide ultra-cheap rental accomodation to four people but I will have to think of doing more

Just about everywhere you look, there are worsening signs that Australia is no longer the lucky country – for just about all of us.

Just about everywhere you look, there are worsening signs that Australia is no longer the lucky country.

From record-high rents to skyrocketing mortgages, a cost-of-living crisis to the alarming emergence of a ‘working poor’ population, the country faces an unprecedented storm of factors putting pressure on millions of people.

And very few Aussies are immune.

“We’re seeing a new demographic of people turning to charities for support over the past 18 months,” a spokesperson for St Vincent de Paul Society in New South Wales said.

“It has been very concerning to see a growing number of people in employment and families on dual incomes reaching out in a time of desperation because of the cost of living.”

Whether paying a mortgage or renting, working for someone or running a business, earning a little or making a lot, this is a startling look at just how tough things are right now.

Skipping meals or not eating at all

An estimated 3.7 million households are battling serious levels of food insecurity, not-for-profit Food Bank revealed in its 2023 Hunger Report.

Food insecurity describes the need to make “unenviable choices about what and when they eat” such as skipping meals or going whole days without eating.

Foodbank’s research shows an extra 383,000 households are grappling with food insecurity than a year ago.

More than a third of the population – more than the total number of households in Melbourne and Sydney combine – are having to “compromise their meal choices”, the organisation said.

The proportion of Aussies who are experiencing “some level of distress in meeting the most basic needs” when it comes to putting food on the table is racing towards 50 per cent.

“Food insecurity is waking early and sending your child off to school with a rumbling tummy and empty lunch box because you’ve been forced into an impossible choice between paying the rent or buying food that week,” Foodbank chief executive Brianna Casey said.

“Food insecurity is living at home alone as a pensioner, convincing yourself that three meals a day is a luxury, and that two – or even one – will suffice.

“Food insecurity is rushing to the fruit platter at a working lunch in the office because fresh fruit and vegetables have become a treat, rather than a dietary staple.

“Food insecurity is now having a mortgage, a full-time job and a side hustle, yet food is a discretionary spend in the household budget.”

Cutting dangerous corners

As the country brazes for a particularly hot summer, the Australian Council of Social Services warns vulnerable households will go without cooling as a result of cost pressures.

An ACOSS survey released in October shows 74 per cent of people on income supports are slashing spending on cooling, while 62 per cent are cutting back on the use of lighting.

“As we head into a summer of extreme heat, the federal government needs to deliver a substantial package to urgently address energy affordability for people on low incomes,” ACOSS program director of climate and energy, Kellie Caught, said.

“Energy is an essential service, one which has serious implications for people’s health and wellbeing.”

Meanwhile, a recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data release shows seven per cent of people who needed to see a doctor in the 12 months to June delayed the visit or didn’t go at all because of cost-of-living pressures.

“This was double the number compared to 2021-22, when 3.5 per cent of people put off or did not see a GP when they needed because of the cost,” Robert Long, head of health statistics at the ABS, said.

One-in-five people delayed or avoided seeking mental health treatment because of the cost, while 10.5 per cent of patients needing to see a specialist didn’t due to price pressures.

“There was also an increase in people who delayed or didn’t get prescription medication when needed due to cost, from 5.6 per cent in 2021-22 to 7.6 per cent in 2022-23,” Mr Long said.

Crushed by mortgage repayments

Since the Reserve Bank began hiking interest rates back in May last year, the cost of meeting repayments on the average size mortgage has soared.

Those with a home loan balance of $590,000 – the national average – are forking out $1345 more per month, or an extra $16,140 per year.

“That’s a huge amount of extra money to be spending on your mortgage, especially when the cost of almost everything else is also going up,” Graham Cooke, head of consumer research at finance comparison website finder.com.au said.

Even if those huge increases were happening in isolation, rates of distress would be high, but with a cost-of-living crisis on top, countless Aussies are now up against the wall.

Martin North is the principal of economic research firm Digital Finance Analytics and tracks household cash flows, with data indicating more than half of mortgage holders are in cash-flow deficit each month.

That is, half of all mortgage households are now spending more than they earn every month.

“Looking in detail, we find that recent purchasers, especially young growing families, are most exposed,” Mr North said.

Many bought when mortgage rates were sitting around two per cent, and when then-RBA Governor Philip Lowe assured people the official cash rate would likely remain on hold until 2024.

It didn’t. Home loan rates are now sitting at about six per cent.


Aussie homeowners warned ‘perfect storm’ to hit as insurance is cut from budgets

This is a real problem. Recent natural disasters have cost insurace companies big so they have to allow for such big costs in the future. And increased premiums are the only way to do that. My home insurance has trebled in recent times. I can afford that but many can't. So they risk losing everything

Homeowners are crossing their fingers as the cost of living crisis has more Aussies cutting insurance from their budgets.

The increased frequency of extreme climate events, inflation, and Australians’ love for urbanisation in places most likely to be hit by weather have created a “perfect storm” in insurance markets.

Insurance Council of Australia chief Andrew Hall painted the grim picture during an address to the National Press Club on Thursday.

He said the “difficult choice” to forgo insurance or to be underinsured was creating a protection gap – the extent to which potential economic losses are not covered by private insurance.

“It’s the difference between what should or needs to be insured and what isn’t insured,” he said.

Many Australians have tried to maintain cover but Mr Hall said the risk was greatest in areas where “the threat of high natural peril risk is driving the biggest increases in premiums.”

“As the protection gap widens there will be serious implications. The first is the additional vulnerability that households and families, particularly middle and lower-income earners, will face if the worst happens.

“It means that when disasters and accidents occur, they disproportionately up-end the lives of people particularly in vulnerable lower socio-economic groups.”

As a result, he warned, taxpayers will be carrying more additional risk to clean up after a disaster and more pressure on the government’s coffers.

Banks will also be increasingly exposed.

A recent report by the Actuaries Institute suggested nearly one in eight Australian households is facing home insurance affordability stress.

Since the Black Summer bushfires in 2019, Australia has experienced 18, as Mr Hall described, “insurance catastrophes”.

“Last year alone, the insurance industry in Australia paid 302,000 disaster related claims, which caused more than $7.25bn in insured losses,” Mr Hall said.

The ICA boss said proper mitigation was key and pointed to an example of premiums dropping by on average 34 per cent in Roma, Queensland after the construction of a flood levee.

He also urged for a further strengthening of the National Construction Code to make homes more durable for the environment where they’re built.

Mr Hall welcomed the call from national cabinet to stop putting homes on flood plains.

“All too often, we have built our homes in places where we can touch and feel and absorb nature – in bushland, on river frontages, and backing on to beaches,” he said.

“But in so doing, we have put ourselves on flood plains, in fire-prone bushland, or coastal areas in direct paths of cyclones.

“We have ignored the red flags of nature.”

He also urged state governments to wipe the 10 per cent stamp duties on insurance customers.

“If insurance policies for houses or cars did not exist, or were priced out of reach, then the population would demand it of the government.

“For the sake of our future protection and productivity, Australian governments at the state and Federal level must have an eye on reform of insurance taxes.

“There is a clear opportunity here to think about how to incentivise states to lower their insurance taxes to ensure more people have the private cover that will protect.”


‘Heretic’ grandmother banned by Tasmanian Anglican bishop

Anglicanism is traditionally tolerant of theological variety.  It is not even clear that all the episcopate believe in God -Runcie, for instance.  So this news is a surprise.

There is no doubt that the woman is heretical:  She defies the absurd Trinity doctrine.  But her rebellion is against the hierarchy, not the Bible.  The Bible is thoroughly on her side.  Jesus said "the Father is greater than I" (John 14:28) and he prayed to God (Matthew 26:39).  If he was God, who was he praying to?

I can only hope that she manages to form a study group of others who respect what the Bible says

A 72-year-old grandmother and devoted Christian has been labelled a “dangerous heretic” and banned from Anglican churches upon pain of police action, after a disagreement over theology with Tasmania’s bishop.

Former nurse Sue Carlyon’s exclusion – confirmed in writing – was ordered by Bishop Richard Condie over differences in ­interpretation of scripture that Christians have been debating for millennia.

Dr Condie has expelled the churchgoer over her view that God did not die on the cross, only Jesus as a man and son of God.

Ms Carlyon, who voluntarily cleaned at her parish church, believes firmly in her interpretation, arguing it helps her and others aspire to be more like Jesus.

She has published a short book explaining her interpretation.

The grandmother of five sent a copy to Dr Condie, seeking his views, and was later invited by the bishop to meet him to discuss it.

At this meeting on November 2, Dr Condie informed her she would be banned from her parish church, in Kingston, south of Hobart, and all Anglican churches in Tasmania.

Dr Condie confirmed the ban in writing on November 7, telling Ms Carlyon her book “contains significant dangerous heresy” and she would be allowed to return only if she retrieved and destroyed every available copy and publicly repented.

“To claim Jesus was not God when he died on the cross does not accord with orthodox teaching in any Christian tradition, undermines the doctrine of the Trinity and the efficacy of Jesus’ death for sin,” Dr Condie wrote.

He said her position “undermines people’s confidence in Christ” and she had continued to ignore directives not to distribute the book. “I am left with no other option that to forbid you from attending any Anglican church in Tasmania,” he said. “This includes Sunday services or visiting the church through the week.”

Ms Carlyon was told by Dr Condie: “If you do attend (any church), I will be instructing the ministers to have you removed from the property by the police.”

A survivor of domestic violence and family abuse, Ms Carlyon said she was “truly devastated” by the ban. “I thought I was settled in this church, I had made some nice connections and it’s a very active church with a lot of functions,” she said. “I find it exhausting to be contending with this at my age.

“To expect me to make a public declaration of repentance is just ridiculous – it’s from the dark ages.”

She would have preferred the bishop hold a group discussion. “There would have been others who would have fully supported what I’m saying,” she said.

The bishop had “bullied” her, Ms Carlyon said. “He was using bullyboy tactics – he was like a dog with a bone.

“He wanted me to cave in and apologise and be submissive and repentive. But it wouldn’t be true if I had given in. “As one of my sons said, ‘It’s just as well they can’t burn you at the stake’.”

Ms Carlyon said she was considering seeking legal advice or appealing to the Anglican Primate.

Dr Condie said it would be “inappropriate” for him to comment on a “matter of private discipline”.

Ms Carlyon’s book argues: “If God had died on the cross at Calvary, the world would have ended because of the fact that God is the ultimate source of life, and life is only sustained because of God. It is understood that Jesus died once He surrendered His spirit to God, His Father.”

However, others argue God died on the cross in the human form he had assumed in Jesus, and that his divine form did not and cannot die.

Ms Carlyon believed seeing Jesus as God when he died, rather than a man and son of God, “distorts people’s understanding of who God is, who Jesus is, what life’s about”.

“If we’re true to the scriptures in the New Testament, there’s nothing in it that says Jesus was God, so it’s an interpretation by church elders that, as Richard Condie said, took them 300 years to work out,” she said.

“They have over-intellectualised and theorised it and come out with a dogma that doesn’t align with the scriptures.”

Dr Condie said Ms Carylon’s views were an “extremely serious matter” as they “undermined” the “good news” that people could turn to Jesus for forgiveness for their sins.

“The Bible teaches that Jesus died to take the full punishment for the sins of humanity so that anyone who turns to him can be forgiven,” Dr Condie said.

“To satisfy God’s own just requirement, it is necessary that he be the one to provide the sacrifice for sin, which he did in the person of the divine Jesus Christ.”

In 2017, Ms Carlyon’s parish priest, Peter Adlem, gave her a reference expressing “no concerns about Sue’s Christian faith” and praising her “bold witness and obvious love and concern for others”.

Dr Condie is no stranger to controversy, with some Anglicans concerned about his key role in the anti-gay marriage Anglican “breakaway” Southern Cross, his sale of churches, and what some see as the spread of evan­gelism at the expense of “high ­Anglicanism”.



An Open Letter To The Lancet

The Lancet is prestigious and publishes some good studies but it is under heavily Leftist influence.  It published, for instance, an article that criticized the American invasion of Iraq. And Leftists like the authoritarian responses to Covid.  They took the heavy-handed Chinese Communist approach as their model
A Lancet paper has made outrageous claims that Covid vaccines are highly effective in reducing Covid and all-cause mortality for older Australians. This paper, used by the Australian Government to support more boosters for the elderly, is debunked in the following open letter:

Open letter to Bette Liu, Sandrine Stepien, Timothy Dobbins, Heather Gidding, David Henry, Rosemary Korda, Lucas Mills, Sallie-Anne Pearson, Nicole Pratt, Claire M. Vajdic, Jennifer Welsh, and Kristine Macartney, authors of “Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination against COVID-19 specific and all-cause mortality in older Australians: a population based study”. The Lancet, Vol. 40, 100928, November 2023. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lanwpc.2023.100928

also to Richard Horton (editor of the The Lancet)

and Paul Kelly (Australian Chief Medical Officer)

Concerns Regarding Data Integrity And Analysis
The retrospective, observational study of 3.8 million Australians of over 65 years, during eleven months of 2022, has reached the following broad conclusion:

“COVID-19 vaccination is highly effective against COVID-19 mortality among older adults although effectiveness wanes with time since the last dose.

Our findings emphasise the importance of continuing to administer booster doses, particularly to those at highest risk.”

This paper and its conclusion have been cited by the Australian Chief Medical Officer in an Australian Senate Estimates inquiry [1] to support government policy of continued vaccination for older adults.

The research has been funded by the Australian Government through various government agencies and by pharmaceutical companies.

As it stands, the conclusion of the paper is unclear, if not invalid, because it states that vaccination is “highly effective”, but “wanes over time”. Can a vaccine be “highly effective” only for a limited time? How limited?

The time limit to effectiveness is one of the key issues to be discussed below.

Data Integrity Issues

Most of the paper, consisting of four large tables occupying most of a printed page each, is a presentation of dosage statistics of the Australian population, which, while not irrelevant, are not germane to the main subject of the paper.

The space could be better used. The main subject and conclusion of the paper depend critically on analysis of the data relating dosage to COVID-19 and all-cause mortality shown in Figures 1 to 3.

These “death by vaccination status” data, central to the study, are largely absent from the paper. Importantly, the conclusion quoted above requires analysis of accurate Australian COVID data which are well-known to have serious integrity issues, which have errors originating from data collected from disparate sources and from flawed data recording procedures.

For example, someone who dies soon after being vaccinated with one dose may be recorded as the death of an unvaccinated person [2].

Also, COVID-19 mortality is intrinsically an unreliable statistic, because attribution of a COVID death may be erroneous. A death (ICD 10 code U07.1) could be with COVID (defined by a positive PCR test) rather than from COVID (the disease).

Sometimes, COVID deaths (ICD 10 code U07.2) have been assigned by judgement without doing any tests.

Raw COVID-19 mortality data by dosage, essential to the paper have not been disclosed in the paper, even in a summary form. How did they select and validate COVID-19 mortality data? The authors need to discuss the data of Figure 1 and 2 and should publish their compilation of the raw data, so that readers can replicate the results of their paper.

A further deficiency is: that measuring vaccination effectiveness (VE) by survival rates against only COVID-19 mortality is inadequate because it assumes falsely that vaccination does not have lethal side effects. Even the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has admitted [3] that there were 14 COVID vaccine-induced deaths to March 2023.

With mass vaccination, non-COVID excess deaths have reached about double COVID-19 deaths [4], which should be investigated for association with vaccination. Yet, with only a brief discussion suggesting how vaccination may reduce all-cause mortality, the authors have inserted “all-cause mortality” in the title of the paper, insinuating vaccination is also effective against all-cause mortality.

Method And Analysis Issues

Even ignoring data integrity issues, ignoring non-COVID excess deaths and supposing VE is validly measured against only COVID-19 mortality, the paper still suffers seriously from methodological and analytical defects. Vaccination, COVID-19 mortality and all-cause mortality data are available since 2021 and well into 2023.

Why does the paper select and analyze only eleven months of 2022? There were surges in deaths in 2022 accompanying the rollouts of the first and second boosters, but the paper does not consider that they may be related to vaccinations, rather than only to the COVID disease.

Instead of analyzing 2022 data as a whole, COVID and all-cause mortality data are analyzed in two separate periods: one five-month period and one six-month period. For different dose groups, vaccine effectiveness (VE) is evaluated by COVID-19 survival effectiveness for three windows: less than three months, three to six months and more than six months.

Such divisions of time periods need to be discussed, because analyzing survival over multiple fixed time periods involves unstated assumptions about the time taken for vaccines to have their effects, and the delay effects should be discussed.

The risk of errors increased due to survivorship bias, where deaths may “fall between the cracks” between survival windows. With two data periods, three dosage groups and three survival windows, there are 18 different vaccine mortality rates to compare to two unvaccinated mortality rates.

As may be expected, there are 18 different VE measures with a wide range of results depending on the various combinations. Importantly, the results appear random with no consistent VE pattern across the two time periods or between the dose groups.

In their main findings, the best and most convenient cases were selected for reporting. For example, from Figure 1 in the first period, the main finding reported was “VE of a 3rd COVID-19 vaccine dose within 3 months was 93 percent (95 percent CI 93–94 percent) whilst VE of a 2nd dose >6 months since receipt was 34 percent (26–42 percent)

Among unfavourable findings (see below), the most favourable finding has been cited by the authors to show COVID-19 vaccination is highly effective, but only relatively and “wanes with time”. Some of those unfavourable findings are masked by what appear as glaring anomalies, probably serious errors collected in table below.

From Figure 1 of the paper, the “Dose3>180 days” group has higher mortality rate (per 100 person-year) than the unvaccinated, yet they have positive vaccine effectiveness of 63.4 percent (COVID-19 VE (percentage) column below).

This and few other examples are shown in the table below, where a “Relative Risk Reduction (percentage)” column (should be the same as COVID-19 VE (percentage)) has been added here with shaded cells, simply calculated from the mortality rates given.

In the June to November period of Figure 1, the “Dose2 8-90 days” group had 1.218 mortality rate per 100 PY, compared to 0.49 for the unvaccinated. This shows that even in the short-term of less than three months, that vaccinated group (second shaded cell from the bottom) had 2.5 times higher risk of dying from COVID than the unvaccinated.

How could the authors claim for that case (second last column in the above table) a positive VE of 13.9 percent in their paper?

The paper needs to disclose the sorts of adjustments used to achieve positive “COVID-19 VE (percentage)” for those cases where the vaccinated groups had higher mortality rates than the unvaccinated. Those negative relative risk reduction results calculated here for those cases, if unexplained, would invalidate the main conclusion of paper that COVID-19 vaccination is highly effective.

Similar criticisms can be raised against the analysis in Figure 2 and Figure 3, where the method of adjustment for obtaining VE results for all-cause mortality is also not transparent, even though the raw all-cause data would be more accurate than COVID-19 data for reasons explained and discussed above.

On all-cause mortality the authors made unsubstantiated comments such as “COVID-19 vaccines also appeared effective against other specific causes of death…those who are more likely to get multiple vaccine doses, or to be vaccinated earlier are healthier and less likely to die from any cause…”. Emphasis added.

On Pfizer/BioNTech’s COMIRNATY vaccines alone, the TGA’s DAEN database [5] recorded (subject to underreporting) over 82,000 adverse events associated with many different diseases. Moreover, those comments are contradicted by the authors’ own analysis.

Figure 3 of the paper shows clearly that the authors’ own calculated VE against all-cause mortality (rates not shown) are all negative for those cases shown in the above table (last column).

Therefore, COVID-19 vaccination was ineffective and had increased all-cause mortality among some groups of older adults. Their evidence of ineffectiveness is consistent with Australian macro-data where all-cause mortality have increased significantly for older Australians vaccinated since 2021 [4].

Summary Of Critique

The approach of this study depends on official COVID data which have integrity issues, which the paper does not acknowledge.

Only 11 months in 2022 of official data out of possibly more than 24 months have been selected for the study.

The “death by vaccination status” data which link dosages with mortality data have not been discussed or disclosed. The key data used need to be publicly available for replication of the findings.

The unseen key data collection has been selectively analyzed, by dividing into separate time periods, dose groups and survival durations, producing 18 comparisons. The method of analysis is unsound and has led apparently to random results, without identifiable regularity.

The vaccination effectiveness results were not simply calculated, but adjusted. The details of the adjustments need to be disclosed.

The unadjusted results contradict the general conclusion that “COVID-19 vaccination is highly effective against COVID-19 mortality among older adults”.

Out of 18 comparisons of adjusted results, the most favourable and convenient findings have been selected and presented to draw the main conclusion which is not generally valid.


As it stands, the paper has serious deficiencies in data integrity, data selection bias, flawed methods of analysis, undisclosed adjustments of results, selective reporting of findings and the drawing of invalid conclusions.

The Australian Government has chosen to take this paper as authoritative evidence to justify its health policy, which has been associated with many excess deaths particularly in older Australians, but those deaths have been brushed off without investigation as coincidental, unrelated to vaccination.

The paper, in its currently published form, has serious methodological and analytical defects, resulting in errors and misleading conclusions.

Therefore, the paper needs substantial revision to address the issues raised or it should be retracted.



Driving with autism: Big change for some Australian licences

The term autism covers a very wide range of behaviours so this regulation seems likely to capture some people who are not likely to be problem drivers. I am a high-functioning autistic and I drove for 60 years without once hurting myself or anyone else.

The legal basis of this would also appear to be shaky. What evidence do they have implicating autism in bad driving? None, I am sure. To prodce such evidence they would need to have a very precise definition of the problem behaviours and that is precisely what is not possible with autism

The prime manifestation of autism is social insensitivity of various sorts so it is difficult to see how that could be a driving problem. So this is a very silly piece of regulation. Courts should assess the actual behaviour rather than some speculative claim about its origin.

A quiet change to the national standards that govern driving fitness has left autistic Australians in legal limbo, potentially facing fines of more than $9000.

The 2022 Assessing Fitness to Drive standards were the first to list autism as a condition that “should be assessed individually”, but there is huge variability about how the new rule applies across states and territories.

That puts many autistic Australians, particularly those who were diagnosed later in life, years or decades after they earned their full licences, in a confusing place of legal limbo.

The Assessing Fitness to Drive guidelines are updated every few years and cover a range of medical conditions, including diabetes, epilepsy and vision. They are written for health professionals who treat people with conditions that may impact their driving.

According to Austroads, which develops the guidelines in conjunction with other groups, autistic drivers aren’t required to automatically report their diagnosis, but the “overarching requirement is that a person with a condition that may impair safe driving will need to report and be assessed”.

Each state and territory interprets the guidelines differently, making for a lot of confusion — as well as some eye-watering fines and costs.

Tests of driving fitness also vary across jurisdictions. GPs often request an on-road assessment from an occupational therapy driver assessor, which costs around $1500. If the test is failed, subsequent “driving rehab” lessons cost between $130-$150 a pop.


The facts that pro-Palestinian demonstrators need to know

The writer below sees a knowledge of the full facts as an antidote to the present upsurge of antisemitism. I think he is being far too optimistic. What the pro-Palestinian demonstrations reveal is how deeply runs the river of antisemitism in the West, a river that has now burst its banks.

Memories of Germany's Nazi horror have long kept antisemitism from being expressed in Western societies but that historic hatred has always been there and the Gaza conflict has caused it to burst into the open.

The big fault in Jews that causes them to be hated is their success in all sorts of ways -- particularly financial. And that provokes envy, a powerful destructive force that is such an ancient human folly that it is expressly forbidden in the Ten Commandments. It is a huge mental affliction that seethes in the minds of many unbalanced people.

And if Jewish success generally is offensive, Israel is REALLY offensive. Israel is not only succesful at building prosperity in what was once desert, it is TRIUMPHANT. It has repeatedly defeated attacks on it despite all odds against it. And that triumph provokes burning rage. A triumphant Jew is the very antithesis of what Jew-critics want. It is a towering insult to the envier mind

And where a towering rage is what is driving antisemitism, reason, rationality and facts are of no effect. What the pro Palestinian demonstrators say is founded in rage only, with the facts being completely irrelevant. The facts will be rearranged to suit the rage

And where does the rage come from? It comes from the Left, for whom rage is basic. The eruption of hate that emerged when Trump was elected reveals what drives Leftists. Rage and hate are the drives of most Leftists. So, where I see Israel as admirable in its success, the Leftist sees it as outrageous and deserving of total hate.

The divide over the Gaza war is a window into the ghastly reality of what drives the Left/Right divide in modern Western societies. Its "pro-Palestinan" motive is just window dressing for Leftist hate. It is not "pro" anything. It is just a demonstration of deeply-rooted hate.

During a call-in show with the late Christopher Hitchens, many years ago, a lady asked a simple but discerning question. After praising Hitchens for his insight, she asked how much of that insight came from talent and what rested on simply ‘knowing about stuff’.

While few can attain the knowledge, experience, and wit of Hitchens, knowing a few basics facts is surely considered the bare minimum to be a member of a society who wishes to participate in the marketplace of ideas… Or, if you don’t know ‘stuff’, you should at least be open to learning.

In our self-censorious age, it is more fashionable and pseudo-sophisticated to regurgitate the prefabricated phrases of the ‘bien-pensant’. It saves the effort of learning and thinking. Given this, we should not be surprised to find so many spouting propaganda without knowing the depth of their ignorance. Nothing illustrates this better than the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel, beginning on October 7, killed around 1,200 Israelis, mainly civilians, making it the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust. One mustn’t forget that many Israeli Arabs also perished. One of these inconvenient facts forgotten by pro-Palestinian placard-wavers (who are really pro-Hamas, even if they don’t know it), is that some 20 per cent of Israelis are Arabs and 17 per cent are Muslim. Documents found on the bodies of Hamas terrorists show that the intent of Hamas was to kill as many civilians as possible, including detailed plans to target elementary schools. Another note, recovered by the Israeli Defence Force, read as follows:

‘You must sharpen the blades of your swords and be pure in your intentions before Allah. Know that the enemy is a disease that has no cure, except beheading and removing the hearts and livers. Attack them!’

Video footage, gathered from bodycams of the terrorists, shows them torturing their victims. The bodies found of Hamas’ victims bear the scars of the inhuman suffering they were subjected to before they were killed. There is a recording of a Hamas terrorist calling his parents with the phone of his victim, bragging with glee that he killed 10 people. Another is of terrorists boasting of having cut off the heads of their victims and playing with them.

This is the conduct of Hamas, an organisation designated as a terrorist group by, among others, the US, the UK, the European Union, and Australia. Remember, Hamas was voted into power in 2006 by a slim margin over Fatah in the Gaza Strip, they never allowed another election.

Another ignored fact is the fundamental difference between Israel and Hamas in how they treat their citizens and civilians during conflicts. While the former has made sure that every one of its citizens have access to shelters from the random rocket attacks, Hamas shelters their rockets in schools and hospitals, using civilians as human shields for weaponry and combatants, knowing that Israel will hesitate to attack due to humanitarian reasons. For Hamas, this is a win-win situation – either its civilians will prevent Israel from attacking, or if Israel does strike, the civilian casualties will be used for PR and engender sympathy among the gullible.

The actual welfare of the civilians has never been a consideration for Hamas, underscored by a report that said Hamas is hoarding 200,000 gallons of fuel for its militants, who hide in hundreds of kilometres of tunnels, while hospitals and water treatment plants are running low. Hamas openly calls for the destruction of Israel, and yet Israel is the one providing clean water to Gaza.

Even after the slaughter of Israelis, the Israeli military sent advice to residents in Gaza to move to the south in anticipation of their ground offensive in an attempt to reduce civilian casualties. Which other country will tell their enemies in advance of their combat strategy to avoid civilian casualties? The Hamas leadership, on the other hand, has ordered the civilians in the north to stay.

Around the world, mindless mobs have gathered and marched in support of Hamas and in condemnation of Israel, as if there is any moral equivalence. It is petulant and self-righteous. In Victoria, protestors saw fit to storm the office of Defence Minister Richard Marles. In Sydney, protestors were shouting ‘F*** the Jews!’ Elsewhere, the language reveals the callous nature of pro-Hamas protesters, with one man in London saying that ‘Hitler knew deal with these people’.

One might be tempted to say, and many do, that the slaughter of 1,200 Israelis is the culmination of Israel’s occupation of Gaza. But Israel does not have any presence in Gaza. In 1967, during the Third Arab-Israeli War, Israel occupied the then-Egypt-controlled Gaza (which is seldom mentioned), only after being fired upon from positions within Gaza. In 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza, forcibly removing the few thousand Jews who settled there.

But Israel has cemented the borders of Gaza, meaning that it is an open-air prison, others might pipe up. Perhaps Israel wouldn’t need to if the Hamas Charter didn’t specifically say that it intends to obliterate the state of Israel. But Gaza also has a border with Egypt, which the Egyptians have kept closed without any condemnation. Is it not morally worse for Egypt, an Islamic country that had occupied Gaza for years, as well as all the other Arab states in the area, many of whom very wealthy, not to open their doors to their brother and sister Muslims? The reality is that the Arab nations, like Hamas, care not a jot for the citizens of Gaza, whom they see only as a useful chess piece in the game of international relations against Israel.

The moral confusion over the Israel-Hamas conflict stems from not knowing ‘about stuff’. For if people knew a little more, there would be mass pro-Palestinian protests against Hamas. As such, in the utter moral confusion, antisemitism of the crassest kind is allowed to flourish again in the West, decades after ‘never again’ was promised.


The problem with trying to ‘fix’ men

The problem with any drive towards ‘fixing’ men’s mental health is a lot of blokes like being blokes. It is easier. An important reason why men on average die younger than women is that they do more dangerous things -- both at work and during recreation. Male suicides are often the result of a judicial system weighted against them in family court matters. And the biological differences between men and women are an obvious cause of differing disease patterns between the sexes. So attempts to "reform" men are unlikely to affect such important differences

International men’s day takes place today. There are plenty of good people working hard to raise the event’s status, but in many quarters it’ll be greeted with shrugs.

The same compelling stats will again do the rounds: that men die younger, receive longer prison sentences for the same crimes, do worse academically, represent the vast majority of our homeless and remain much more likely to kill themselves. Most will only be aware of the last statistic, even though it’s most likely the net consequence of all the others. Some people will acknowledge the problems facing men and boys but only offer up cursory platitudes and simple fixes. ‘Men need to talk more’, ‘Men need to cry more’, ‘Men need to hug other men without the catalyst of a last-minute goal’.

The subtext of such attitudes is almost always that men need to change. Women it seems, are the eternal finished product, ready for market. Whereas men are the equivalent of one of those robot dogs you see online that can do a bit of dancing but can’t quite master the stairs.

Even when men aren’t seen as individually defective, they are often viewed as collectively at fault. Feminists who take a sympathetic view of men’s mental health will sometimes go on to assert that men’s problems are yet another consequence of the patriarchy. But this just can feel like an attempt to get back to the ‘real’ agenda, like whenever the latest ‘Just Stop Something’ protest group inadvertently reveal that a sudden obsession with cavity insulation has something to do with Karl Marx.

The patriarchy is often imagined as a self-conscious act by men to protect both the status quo and each other’s interests. I’m not sure we’re all that concerned about one another’s welfare, given we are after all a species for whom the funniest thing imaginable is seeing our best mate take a football to the nuts. Most blokes don’t want a cultural revolution or, indeed, those fix-all solutions favoured by the ‘manosphere’ either, where they tell men to ‘crush’ self doubt and ‘unleash’ their inner beast. The closest most of us come to unleashing our inner beast is when a visiting in-law puts the heating on in September.

On a day-to-day basis the vast majority of blokes are doing their best to protect and provide for the people they care about. They may be a bit rubbish at remembering important dates, or the names of any children other than their own, but most are trying to be a dependable presence for the people they love.

When it comes to mental health, they would probably like to feel a bit happier, a bit calmer, sleep a bit better and feel less alone. It’s a hard thing to admit, but middle age and fatherhood can be a lonely business. At this age women are often still making friends: Annabelle from NCT, Claire from the school gate, Hannah from tumble tots, and that Pilates instructor who insists on leading all female classes. When I’m at the school gates my intention isn’t to make friends, it’s to, and this might sound crazy, pick up my son and take him home. Women excel in their ability to share the details of their lives with friends and family. It’s why a show like Loose Women has existed for nearly a quarter of a century; we recognise the value of a group of women getting together to share, moan a bit and laugh about the rubbishness of the hapless blokes they’ve been saddled with.

This kind of exchange is a lot harder for most men. For a start, when we do get time together, the last thing we want to do is talk about anything meaningful. This can easily lead to a situation where a man comes back from three days with his mates and has no new information to report to his partner. She’ll seek life ‘news’ but the only new thing he’s sure about is Greg’s fringe, which Greg spent the whole time getting hammered for.

His partner might conclude that this emotional distance is sad. In some ways she’s right, one of the great tragedies of being male is you never get to tell another man how you truly feel (the flipside being that you don’t have to listen to their woes – it may be flawed, but it’s not without logic).

The downside of this system is that as blokes bumble into middle-age the tough stuff of life becomes inevitable – disappointments, death, the cost of a family pass at Centre Parks. When the sad stuff goes undiscussed men can end up existing in an emotional vacuum.

But are those who say ‘men just need to talk more’ right? I suspect that even if men are encouraged to open up more, most of us are never going to become head tilting empaths or help our mate journey to find his ‘inner child’ (in fairness, we’d instantly forget the name of that child).

I suspect the real answer is something of a compromise: with men opening up more, but gradually and at their own pace. I wonder if something like the successful campaign for eating five fruit and veg a day could help. When spending time with a friend, aim for five new things you can tell your partner about them when you get home. In the process of finding out those things you might end up discovering something important. Or maybe, just like the original fruit and veg plan, you’ll only manage two, but at least you can convince yourself that the emotional equivalent of a Terry’s chocolate orange counts for the other three.

The problem with any drive towards ‘fixing’ men’s mental health is a lot of blokes like being blokes. The simplicity, the directness of communication, the fact you can make a full plan using just nine words spanning three text messages. So men might be open to some adjustments in behaviour, but only if it’s evolution rather than revolution.

We should keep this in mind the next time yet another campaign for men’s mental health calls on us to bare our souls. Men may need to talk a bit more – but let’s retain a bit of realism, the average bloke isn’t likely to go from nought to 60. Emotionally speaking, we’re less sports car and more family saloon.


Can A Woman Fall In Love With A Man She’s Not Physically Attracted To?

The conclusions Sabrina Haynes comes to below are congruent with my personal experience. I have never been better than average in looks but for most of my life I have had no trouble attracting women, usually pretty good-looking ones. Why? In line with what she says, I have a lively sense of humour and high intelligence. I joke a lot and understand a lot. And I have great self-confidence

I was always confident that if I could just get a woman to have a meal with me, the magic would happen rapidly and she would want to see me again. Now that I am 80 and physically frail, it no longer works but it did work for many years. Sabrina does nail it below

The dominant social narrative currently at play is that a majority, if not all women are superficial beings who want a guy with a six pack who earns six figures. Women who are picky (or merely just selective) about their mate rightfully end up sad and alone, while the men they rejected go on to be successful.

At least, that’s what the manosphere thinks. The more reasonable among us probably disagree with this. In many couples, one individual is more attractive than the other. This isn’t always the case, of course, but there are actually benefits to women being the one who is more attractive in these scenarios. One study found that couples, where the wife was more physically attractive, had better positive outlooks as opposed to couples where the husband and wife matched one another in attractiveness.

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t all about looks, money, success, or what car he drives for a lot of women (I can already hear the protests coming from the responses), but how exactly do women fall in love with unattractive men? The answer isn’t all that surprising, really.

The Pete Davidson Conundrum

Davidson isn’t a supermodel or even very good at his job, according to some, but that hasn’t stopped him from being romantically linked to some of the most successful and beautiful women in the public eye.

To be fair, you might not think that Kim Kardashian, Kate Beckinsale, Phoebe Dynevor, or Emily Ratajkowski are the most deserving of fame or success, but from a somewhat objective standpoint, they have the advantage over him in terms of physical appearance. Whenever there’s a question of inequality, specifically in terms of attractiveness, it boggles the mind. Women might look at that and think, what’s she doing with him? Men might think, what does he have that I don’t?

It’s been scientifically proven that women find a funny man “irresistible.”

I received a fair amount of pushback in my circle for arguing that Davidson’s girlfriends, both past and present, choose to be with him because he’s funny, sweet, and vulnerable (their adjectives, not mine), but the science doesn’t lie. It’s been scientifically proven that women find a funny man “irresistible.”

Pete Davidson and his famous celebrity girlfriends might be a bit too far-removed for some of us, so I’ll use a more realistic example. A friend from college, let’s call her Helen, confirms this.

In our senior year, she briefly went out with a friend of hers, so I called her to talk about their first date. “We had been friends for several years before this,” she says. “I didn’t think he was drop-dead gorgeous or anything, but he wasn’t terrible looking.” I can corroborate that, but here’s where it gets interesting. “We had amazing chemistry,” she says, still gushing, though this happened years ago. “He was super smart, very sweet, with an amazing sense of humor. We shared similar interests, and when we talked, it was a back-and-forth, effortless kind of banter.” Sadly, they didn’t last due to distance, but she says, to this day, it was the best first date she’s ever had.

Comedian Iliza Schlesinger Explains

We know that it’s possible for men who aren’t the most visually stunning to land a 10, but how exactly does it happen? Comedian Iliza Schlesinger, winner of Last Comic Standing and a frequent guest on The Joe Rogan Experience, explains it for us.

A matter of years ago, Iliza was flying back to her home in LA when she struck up a friendship with the man sitting beside her, Brian. He worked at a hedge fund, was a Yale graduate, and owned a home in Beverly Hills. They got along, but he wasn’t the most physically attractive guy. And, to make things complicated, he was into her, and she didn’t feel the same at first. But all of that changed.

“You cannot fake intelligence, you cannot fake sense of humor, you cannot fake wit. He had those things. He was unattractive,” she says, “We were friends for a full year.” But as their friendship grew, his feelings for her did as well. She wasn’t into him, until he revealed that his mom had cancer and became really emotionally vulnerable with her. “This is my big thing. As a woman, you can become attracted to a man you’re physically not attracted to because of personality. [For] men, it doesn’t work. You’re never like, that girl is a warthog, but it turns out she’s really funny, so I wanna put my mouth on hers.”

“It was all the kindness, how smart, how funny, all the stuff…my heart opened up.” Iliza admittedly fell in love with a guy she wasn’t attracted to who had been more or less pursuing her, but unfortunately, it didn’t end well. As it turns out, Brian lied about his mom being sick, his job, and his college education, among other things, and she eventually found out. After they broke up, she went on to write and star in Good on Paper on Netflix, based on her experience with him.

Women Are Cerebral, Men Are Visual

“Women are cerebral, men are visual,” Iliza explains. This, in part, is what she attributes to how she fell in love with a man she wasn’t initially attracted to. It’s also important to note that though she wasn’t attracted to him when their friendship began, her feelings for him grew as she got to know him.

It seems that a lot of men feel that most women initially write them off right away if they’re not better looking — but in a lot of cases, that isn’t accurate. Had she never formed a friendship with this man, she wouldn’t have become attracted to him. But his character (at least at first) made up for that.

Even the looks of a Hemsworth brother can’t prevent the most boring man from being off-putting.

Men often misguidedly think that women want the hottest man possible because it’s what they themselves value in a mate. Women want an attractive man, but even attractiveness can’t save a man who takes himself too seriously, can’t take a joke, knows nothing of personal hygiene, can’t hold a conversation, or doesn’t know how to dress well.

The same study, which found couples are more positive where the wife is the more attractive of the two, also found that a man’s attractiveness wasn’t the sticking point for wives — it was his level of support for her. At the same time, the couples where the husband was the most attractive found lower levels of support.

A subreddit on r/dating provides a wealth of knowledge on this topic. One guy sums it up perfectly:

“Women, for the most part, do not find men attractive the same way we find them attractive. Meaning that I would go out with a girl as long as she is attractive, sexy, or pretty…I will give her a chance. She doesn’t have to be smart, funny, etc. And I know that might seem wrong for some, but I understand that, by nature, that’s how most guys are. Women, on the other hand, are attracted to something special about you. Not necessarily your looks, I know plenty of guys who are very handsome and attractive but lack personality, social skills, confidence, and so on. That’s why a lot of average-looking guys can get women to notice them if they are funny, mature, and confident with who they are. I think that’s what most women see as attractive. Anything physical is a bonus.”

It wasn’t Brian’s looks or even his fake Yale degree that attracted Iliza to him. It was his emotional vulnerability, his sense of humor, his intelligence, and so much more.

For my friend Helen, her amazing chemistry with her long-time guy friend wasn’t based on his appearance, but on their shared interests, their ability to keep up with one another, their conversation. “Sparks were constantly flying,” she tells me. “Over time, I grew to be more physically attracted to him because I was so engrossed in him. Our connection was magical.”

The Take-Away

Is it possible for a woman to be attracted to a man’s mind? The short answer is yes. Attraction is a powerful thing, and we can’t over-analyze or explain it a lot of the time. Again, even the looks of a Hemsworth brother can’t prevent the most boring man from being hard to be around and off-putting. Similarly, intellect, sense of humor, character, charm, and all the other indescribable qualities we’re drawn to can’t stop us from falling for the guy we wouldn’t think we’d be interested in at first glance.