One of the many elements of Tony Blair’s memoir to have created headlines was his admission that he “stretched the truth past breaking point in order to get agreement” during negotiations in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Tony Blair at the BBC last week. Picture: Getty

Send out an SMS alert, create an explanatory graphic - a politician has admitted lying. Blair was pressed about this by a newspaper and, in the customary manner of a former national leader freed from the shackles of office, here’s what he said:

I actually think that with normal people, when you go to them and ask: do you think a politician should ever be obliged to, you know, stretch the truth in order to achieve a greater national objective, they would look at you as if you were bonkers for asking the question. There’s no walk of professional life that you can exist in where you literally open up everything to everybody.

Blair has always been deliberate and precise in his use of language and there are a couple of notable phrases here. First is that “normal people” think it’s “bonkers” to wonder if a politician should always present the unvarnished truth.

Follow Blair’s lawyerly logic and the conclusion is people who think politicians should always be fully open about everything are not normal, indeed, they are bonkers.

The second is that phrase again, “stretch the truth”, which he said he did in his memoir “past breaking point”.

There’s a colloquial and slightly coarse yet delightfully apt term for stretching the truth past breaking point. We call it bullshit.

And we all know politicians are full of it. But then, as Blair says, the low-level stuff goes on in all walks of life.

Distasteful as the idea may seem at first, it’s as if politicians have a licence to do it and it’s something the public is resigned to as one of the costs of participating in a political system founded on debate and a free contest of ideas.

In short, Blair is right.

Lying Stretching the truth to breaking point is common currency in all sorts of areas of public debate. There are obvious applications to national security and even basic local policing.

But then consider the economy. Surely with all the minds that Treasury employs, there are those who work up the worst-case scencarios such as double-dip recessions, the threat of a housing bubble, insufficient control on government spending, or Barnaby Joyce becoming finance minister.

These, clearly, never see the light of day. Part of this is because of the important role government has to play in maintaining economic confidence.

When it comes to accounting matters, something that might at first seem a matter of concrete fact - the cost of a party’s policies - can be distorted by politicians. This has been magnificently demonstrated in the past week.

In the many absurdities of the past fortnight in Australian politics has been the debacle over the Coalition’s policy costings by Treasury. Under pressure from the rural independent MPs to demonstrate the impact of their policies on the Budget bottom line, Tony Abbott agreed to submit the party’s proposals to Treasury for costing.

They found a “black hole” in the Coalition’s costings of between $7 billion and $11 billion. The only thing more risible than the accounting failure by the Coalition was the inability of Treasury to say exactly how big the failure was. Instead we got a ballpark $4 billion, give or take.

The explanation provided for this was that certain policy settings which are determined by the government of the day can affect the bottom line. The “truth” of the figures, in other words, can be stretched by politicians too.

It applies to other policy areas as well. One that leaps to mind is health reform, where every leader claims to have the answer but the reality that truly equal health service provision to all Australians is simply not possible, short of building a major hospital with a full array of specialists into every medium-sized town.

Yet we get politicians promising to “fix” the system - Kevin Rudd did this in 2007 - as if it’s something that’s just broken and in need of some policy repair. Going back to Blair’s test, if you were to “literally open up everything to everybody”, what you would get is a picture of a system in which deaths are part of the operating expectations, where errors and mistakes are expected to happen, and which is besieged by such an array of lobby groups from professionals through to various patient interest groups that it can never and will never keep everyone happy.

And what kind of political argument is that?

But then there is stretching the truth to the limits of credulity. Julia Gillard’s claim that if Tony Abbott was Prime Minister on Sunday, Work Choices would be back on Monday springs to mind. Taking this much truth-stretching licence deserves ridicule.

One of the things Tony Blair will be remembered for is presenting the ultimately discredited argument that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. This led to him, George W. Bush and to an extent John Howard being labelled liars.

What Blair has pointed out in his book, however, is that politicians do - and are even expected to - take liberties with the truth in order to get things done sometimes. So it becomes not a question of whether the truth is stretched past breaking point, but to what degree it should be and when.

What are the limits for you?

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44 comments

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    • Eric says:

      06:21am | 07/09/10

      This thread is all too likely to degenerate into a “your side is a bigger liar than my side” argument, so here are a few thoughts without naming anyone.

      “Spin” is not necessarily lying. It’s the art of interpreting facts in a favourable way. The government will say the glass is half full, while the opposition will say it’s half empty.

      Being mistaken about something is not lying. If a minister says “It will rain tomorrow,” and it doesn’t rain, the minister is wrong, but not necessarily a liar.

      A lie requires a deliberate choice to say something that is known to be untrue, with intent to deceive another. There are grey areas, though, and this is where “stretching the truth” comes into it. Different people will have different standards.

      Is there a place for lying in politics? My opinion is that lying is undesirable, but pretty much unavoidable at any serious level of politics.

    • AdamC says:

      10:22am | 07/09/10

      I agree, Eric.

      But another area where politicians aee accused of lying is when they change their mind. Remember all the howls when the ‘lying rodent’ decided that a ‘never ever’ GST was actually a good idea and made it the platform of the 1998 election? In any other area of endeavour, that would be regarded as merely a change of policy, but in politics it is, apparently, lying.

    • acotrel says:

      06:48am | 07/09/10

      So Tony Abbott is in good company?

    • acotrel says:

      06:53am | 07/09/10

      Paul Colgan, the Murdoch Press shouldn’t be so cheeky!

    • Gregg says:

      07:24am | 07/09/10

      If the normal person fudges their financial accountability they’re not bonkers in thinking that there will be a personal accountability somewhere along the line when found out and prosecuted.
      Just ask Paul Hogan!
      If politicians make unprovable claims in an election campaign they should be barred from being a candidate.
      For instance the costs/benefits of NBN and numbers of jobs saved during the GFC being that nice round 200,000 being a couple of gems.

    • stephen says:

      07:39am | 07/09/10

      You say Tony Blair is ‘deliberate and precise in language’ ?
      I disagree, and I think that’s his problem. (Quite apart from the non-descript part in his hair.)
      A chap wrote a letter to The Oz recently, complaining that no-one uses strong verbs anymore, and right away I thought of Tony, who likes using negators : un-becoming, un-sought (policy objectives ?), and un-gainly.(Sorry, Dr. Lovelock.)
      Unstrong, uninteresting, and probably unloved like using dull words. Nothing wrong with that, but one such shouldn’t be writing memoirs.

    • T.Chong says:

      08:02am | 07/09/10

      The serial liar Blair greatest and deadliest lies were about Iraq.
      People died because of them , killed when the lies were used by the “Coalition for Murder” went around and around referncing and reinforcing this deception in order to justify the murder of Iraqi people, people just like you and me, trying to live and survive, as we all do.
      I hope that the terribly moral church going Mr Blair has to face whatever he calls god. But I doubt lieing murderous war mongering psychopaths of any political persuasion has a conscious.

    • Peter says:

      04:45pm | 07/09/10

      @ T. Chong beware, intellegencia is watching… Expect dirty tricks!!!

    • Chris L says:

      08:12am | 07/09/10

      You make a fair point about the hospital system. People would feign horror at the mention, but deaths are expected as are mistakes. We’ve become ridiculously intollerant of mistakes, running to our solicitors at the merest hint of a dollar reward. Every word and gesture by our politicians are scrutinised, twisted and lambasted by the followers of the other side. I don’t like politicians lying to us, but can hardly blame them.

      Of course, some lies are intollerable. Labor telling us they would introduce an “opt in” internet filter and then changing it to mandatory after the election was intollerable. Non-core promises and Tony trying to avoid scrutiny of his budget also crosses the line. Maybe we need to set out what kind of lies we’re willing to accept.

    • Angela says:

      09:27am | 07/09/10

      Hmm what to say about this one, we all knew he lied does he think we did not know this and as for his comment that Bush is really smart sorry but that would have to be the most laughable comment of this decade. They have caused untold bloodshed and misery.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      10:56am | 07/09/10

      Politicians have no right whatsoever to tell lies. We elect these people to represent us. We elect them to do the right thing by their country & the citizens they represent. George W Bush, Tony Blair & John Howard deliberately colluded to lie to the people of the USA, the UK & Australia. They illegally arranged to invade Iraq. They deliberately lied in order to justify that illegal invasion. Tony Blair told the British Parliament & the People of Britain that Saddam Hussein had “Weapons of Mass Destruction which he could activate within 45 minutes of the start of any invasion of Iraq”. He lied & he knew he was lying.
      George W Bush told the Americans that Iraq had WMD. They didn’t & he knew they didn’t. He Lied.
      Worst of all was that John Howard & Alexander Downer also lied to the Australian People, they did it inside & outside parliament. They told us, repeatedly: “Iraq HAD WMD”. Iraq didn’t & they knew it didn’t. They Lied.
      All four now try to justify their lies by virtually saying: “Well,so what if Iraq did not have WMD? WE Got Rid of Saddam Hussein so what we did was legal & justified”
      One or all of them said at one stage that, from the start, the whole aim had been to depose Saddam Hussein.
      International Law Agrrements, to which the USA,UK & Australia are signatories, makes it a Criminal Offence for any nation and/or it’s leaders to invade another nation with the intention of deposing the Legitimate Government of the nation they invade.
      No matter how vile, cruel,how dishonest, how evil, how deserving of being removed from office Saddam Hussein & his cronies may have been we had NO right to illegally invade a sovereign nation such as Iraq.
      What Bush,Blair & Howard did was illegal. They should be charged with War Crimes.
      It has been reported 100s of 1000s of innocent Iraqi men,women & children were killed. People who had never raised a weapon against, nor even verbally threatened the USDA, UK or Australia.
      Untold thousands, who probably had never even heard of Australia, killed John Howard’s orders to Australia’s Military Machine.
      If the indiscriminate & totally unjustified killing of even one Iraqi citizen took place then Bush, Blair & Howard should be charged with Crimes Against Humanity.
      The USA has claimed that Iraq was a threat to US National Security. More lies. The only issue the US had was that Iraq hasuntold billions of barrels of oil. The USA wanted that oil & were determined to get it.If the USA got it then the UK would have access to it too.
      Just who do you think now controls & has coerced the Iraqi Government into granting them the right to extract that oil? UK & US Oli Companies!
      Tony Blair says he is going to give the proceeds from his silly book to help wounded British Troops. Big Deal! He will use that donation as a massive Tax Deduction on the 20 million pound fortune he has amassed. What about the widows & children of the innocent men he ordered the UK Military machine to kill?

    • SM says:

      11:47am | 07/09/10

      How do you know they lied? Prety much every intelligence agency believed Iraq had WMD - after all, they had used them before.

      But the real killer to your conspiracy theory is this: If they had known that Iraq didn’t have WMD, then they would not have used that as one of the reasons for the invasion. Because, after all, this would only allow their enemies to accuse them of being liars.

      Just think about it for a minute.

    • dale says:

      12:49pm | 07/09/10

      SM… are you delousional!

      No intelligence agency believed Iraq had WMD

      Find me one. It was a scare tactic to start a war. Where are these WMD, They must have found them by now

    • James1 says:

      12:55pm | 07/09/10

      Actually, SM, the intelligence agencies - and intelligence analysts - did not believe that Saddam Hussein had WMDs.  There was no space given for dissenting reports and interpretations in the intelligence community, and the governments in question made it clear from early 2002 that they were intent in invading Iraq, and that legal justification had to be found, even if it meant ignoring those employed to examine and interpret intelligence.  You can think about it all you like, but the actual evidence says otherwise.  Then again, if you believe that Iraq had WMDs, then I imagine that you do not use evidence to construct arguments or inform you point of view anyway.

    • SM says:

      01:29pm | 07/09/10

      No, dale, you’re delusional.

      Why would someone lie if they knew they were going to be caught?

      If these pollies were as evil as you think, they would have planted fake WMDs.

      Face facts: They were mistaken, not lying.

    • Peter says:

      07:26pm | 07/09/10

      @ SM. How do you explain that after 1991 gulf war, that Iraq was under the heaviest sanctions, naval blokades, no fly zones etc. Iraqi’s couldn’t sneaze without the world knowing it.

      So, all the intellegence agencies said there was no WMD’s, A certain former Australian Intellegence officer (now and ind MP) said it was rubbish, the UN weapons inspectors said there were no weapons.

      On who’s advise are you saying they were mistaken? Is it the one they made up themselves?

      money, money, money SM.  It’s as simple as that….

    • PaulB says:

      09:41pm | 07/09/10

      SM there is more than just Murdoch papers out there.  If you are happier being lied to and led into wars for phony reasons, then just keep reading the Rupert papers.  There’s probably too many vowels for you in other media anyway.

    • acotrel says:

      07:36am | 08/09/10

      100 thousand Australian soldiers died in two world wars, so we would have the right to vote.  Voting is compulsory in Australia, so we expect our politicians to tell the truth!

    • doctrinal says:

      03:18pm | 08/09/10

      They went to Iraq for the oil, plain and simple. They had to justify this by their lies.  This is common knowledge.

    • Peter says:

      05:15pm | 08/09/10

      @ Paul B, this is Ruperts website and we are saying these things.. I am confused!!!

    • Michael says:

      12:08pm | 07/09/10

      Blair’s answer is insightful only because of what it reveals about the man: he assumes that simply because *he* (and the entire political class) regards it as fine to lie (stop hedging, Punch—it’s lying.) that everyone else must think the same.  I suppose when you’re a hammer you tend to see everything as a nail.

      However, there’s a fundamental error in his reasoning: if the Parliamentary system expects liars, why does there exist the sanction of censure or worse against a member who misleads Parliament (not just outright lies—*misleads* means “stretching the truth”)? What point Question Time at all if one can’t assume a truthful answer will be given?

      Also, Mr. Colgan, you’ve got it wrong.  There is no place for lying in government - full stop.  There is a right for the government to have *secrecy* over certain matters of national security.  In that case, the government has a right *not to say anything*.  It never has the right to lie to its people.  Policing also has a right to secrecy for operational reasons.  It has a limited right to deceive known (or at least suspected) criminals in the context of undercover operations.  But it doesn’t have a right to lie to anyone else, as courts keep telling police forces again and again, but which even supercops like the AFP seem to keep getting wrong in rather high profile cases.

      Lying in all paid walks of life actually only happens for one reason: no one can be more honest than one’s boss.  That is the principle Blair and all politicians rely on when they tell untruths to people.  Either you’ll be asked to do something dishonest and resign, or you’ll do the dishonest thing and play along.  It is a fundamental truth of any large bureaucratic organisation, whether profit or non-profit.

      And let’s be clear: politics as currently practiced is nothing more than a contest as to who can tell the biggest lies and get away with it.  Consider Blair’s language: there’s politicians and then there’s ‘normal people’.  “Normal people”? Does that mean Blair considers himself superior to the electorate, or is he saying he’s profoundly mentally disturbed? The word “sociopath’ springs to mind—being a person who knows there are rules but believes they shouldn’t apply to them and who knowingly circumvents them.

      Blair is a fine representation of politicians as a group.  Never mind limiting question time, the only necessary parliamentary reform we should be asking Messrs Oakeshott, Katter, and Windsor for is to alter the acronym “MP” to stand for “Misleads Public”, not “Member of Parliament”.  It’s a more truthful job description than the one they currently have.

      The Internet era exacerbates this problem since the biggest lies are founded with a grain of truth and can’t be uncovered on the 24 hour news cycle.  The media is a politician’s accomplice in this, too, because for the greater part journalists are even bigger ticket-punchers than guys who work on an assembly line: the media chooses to report one side of the argument when there’s two, or three, and often chooses to report two sides of an issue when in fact only one rational, sane issue exists.  The media being “shocked, shocked” to learn that politicians have internalised lying is, in itself, a profound untruth.

      If Blair has lied in his memoirs, he has committed the same sin as James Frey in the “A Million Little Pieces” scandal, and deserves the same condemnation, or at least the reshelving of his memoirs from the nonfiction section of the bookstore to the fiction aisle.

    • Peter says:

      01:27pm | 07/09/10

      Yeah, i heard Tony Blair over the weekend say that it was really the “intellectual property” of some iraqi scientists that was the real reason for the war. It’s not that they had weapons of mass destruction, other than some scientists knew how to build them.

      So according to Blair the reason now was “intellection property”.

      I’m still struggling to comprehend with all the naval blockades since 1991, the no-fly zones, and all the other restrictions on Iraq, how it came to be that they were considered a threat and were building weapons of mass destruction, that these blockadge and no-fly zones apparantly didn’t pick up on…..

      Blair has done some silly things. Take the Kosivar Albanian issue. The Albanian’s essentially stole someone else’s country.. Imagine the greeks and italians wanted to take over Victoria as their own nation because there are enough of them here now. Not only would the average Australian be dumbfounded if someone like Blair agreed to it and want to go to war over it, Australians would have every right to be upset about it..

      But i still recall Howard personally welcoming these refugees (or thieves) as i prefer to call them….

    • Hamish says:

      01:30pm | 07/09/10

      Gee, there’s a lot of kool aid flowing here. The fact is the Iraq War has been a great success and it’s one of the few things Tony Blair can actually be proud of. We now have a functioning democracy at the centre of the Arab/Persian world, which will hopefully become a beacon of freedom in an area charaterised by tyranny, theocracy and brutal Wahhabist terrorism. We should all hope that Iraq will become a competing narrative to the ever-spreading scurge of cruel Wahhabist Islam.

      Just to put in perspective the level of ‘murder’ committed by the coalition forces, according to Iraq Body Count (iraqbodycount.org) about 100,000 civilians have been killed in the war over 6 years. That’s 0.3% of the Iraqi population. However, obviously not all these deaths were caused by coalition troops. While no data on this exists for the full 6 years, they estimate that over the first two years, deaths caused by coalition troops were 37% of the total which gives us about 37,000 deaths as a direct result of coalition troops - roughly 0.1% of the population of Iraq. This is almost certainly an exaggeration as most of the deaths after the first two years would undoubtedly have been caused by insurgents.

      Saddam is estimated to have killed between 50-100,000 Kurds in one go, making Blair and Bush look like pretty crappy ‘murderers’.

    • Peter says:

      01:50pm | 07/09/10

      Yep, Saddam killed 50-100,000 kurds with weapons the west gave him, and the west killed only 0.3% of iraqi’s. Oh, we in the west are such noble and uncorruptable creatures..

      I still sit here with pride that we only killed 100,000 people for reasons we are still scratching our heads today..

      Can you please give me some more low %‘s on people we killed, it makes me feel so much better…

    • Duff says:

      01:55pm | 07/09/10

      @Hamish, perhaps when you read your comment in print you’ll see how cold hearted you sound as you throw around thousands of innocent people’s deaths as if they were nothing but numbers and fractions.  Have a long hard think about what it means for even one of those innocent people to die.  What it means to their friends, family, children, parents etc.  The pain and horror that it would be to see entire families shot to bits at checkpoints by accident.  Or to see little kids who are missing arms or legs or who have been badly burned across most of their body, scarred for life, victims of stray bombs and the like.
      We don’t do war for a reason: we’ve learned the hard way that it causes incredible suffering and generational loss.  We have made it crystal clear that no country should ever be allowed to attack another without proper justification.  It is always better to use any other means we can to accomplish our aims without reverting to war.  Because murdering and maiming innocent people is never worth the price.  It is a shock that Blair, an overt Christian, would forget that.  But then again, given that he has pretty much said that lying is a perfectly good means to an end, he is at heart nothing but a dangerous hypocrite.

    • AdamC says:

      02:02pm | 07/09/10

      Good observation, Hamish. I would also note that it seems you are far more likely to be murdered in socialist paradise Venezuela than be blown apart in the supposed hell-hole Bush and Blair created in Iraq.

      (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/world/americas/23venez.html)

      Which also begs the question of why we get so few boatloads of Venezuelans showing up at Ashmore Reef, but I guess that is a matter for another discussion.

    • Hamish says:

      02:03pm | 07/09/10

      Peter, you know this was a war right? People die in wars. The good guys try to make sure they don’t kill the innocent. I’d say we did a pretty good job of that.

      I think we went to war for a number of key strategic reasons but I feel the main one was that Iraq posed a unique opportunity - a relatively secular, educated and non-sexist outpost in the least secular, least educated and most sexist part of the world. It is the nation most likely to succeed as a free democracy. In time it will become a bulwark against radical Wahhabist Islam and a beacon for moderate muslims in the middle east.

      I never said we were noble and incorruptible…we’d all like to live in a world where we have no enemies and war isn’t necessary. Unfortunately we live in this world.

    • Peter says:

      02:33pm | 07/09/10

      @ Hamish, i understand that war is sometime necessary, but our reasons for going to this war seem to change every day.

      Can you please enlighten me on what was right about this particular war? Because i thought it was about WMD’s that we all know never existed. We knew that before the war.

      According to Tarick Aziz, America in it’s withdrawal is about to leave Iraq to the wolves.. I think we best sit back and wait before we cast any judgement on how Iraq rebuilds (quite seperate to any success we achieved with military force)....

    • Eric says:

      03:02pm | 07/09/10

      Peter, the reasons for the Iraq war only change in the minds of people like you, who choose to ignore the written statements made before the invasion of 2003 - which spelled out all the many reasons in detail.

      Here, for example, is one such statement - the Joint Resolution of Congress of October 2002.

      http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/bliraqreshouse.htm

      If you spent less time making silly political points, and more time learning the facts, you would be far better informed.

    • Kordez says:

      04:15pm | 07/09/10

      @Hamish, war should not occur on a hunch. Even if it is only one in a list of one thousand.

    • John A Neve says:

      04:17pm | 07/09/10

      Eric,
      The resolution is one thing, the facts are another.
      No WMD were ever found, Iraq never had a nuclear strike capacity.
      Yet another fact, is after seven years of war, many thousands dead, more thousands injured and billions of dollars spent.

      We have left Iraq in a worse condition than when we went there.

    • Peter says:

      04:26pm | 07/09/10

      @ Eric.

      Fact 1. There is no established link between Saddam and Al Quada.
      Fact 2. This is just a document authorising themselves to invade a country.
      Fact 3. There were no WMD in Iraq in 2003.
      Fact 4. The international blockade ensured there was no build up of weapons in Iraq.
      Fact 5. UN weapons inspectors found no weapons, and were not quiet in telling us so.
      Fact 6. Saddam, realising war was inevitable, even invited American weapons inspectors to check for themselves, but were told the offer was too late!


      And Eric, i love your research mate. I’ve been following what has been happening in Iraq since 1991. You tell me, which of the above FACTS is not true….

    • Vic Rhodes says:

      02:23pm | 07/09/10

      Bob Dylan wrote a line, all the truth in the world adds up to one big lie. There are lies in the justice system,in politics,in religion ,in sport,in advertising, in editorials,in non de plumes,in relationships ,in fact anywhere you look. I suppose it is a universal reality but it helps us discern our moral position, a little lie is better than a great big tax ,a big lie is bloody obvious.

    • iansand says:

      03:51pm | 07/09/10

      It’s quite simple.  Lies are acceptable if you think the consequences are acceptable.  Lying to end the Troubles is clearly acceptable.  Lying to justify the invsion of a country is less so.

      It was ever thus.  Remember Churchill and his bodyuard of lies?

    • baggs says:

      04:03pm | 07/09/10

      Technically when a government is elected, they enter into a contract with the Australian people. This contract needs to be transparent in all aspects.

    • Peter says:

      04:52pm | 07/09/10

      @ baggs. We just got that today…. At last!!

    • Peter says:

      05:06pm | 07/09/10

      On Pollies lying or telling the truth, now let’s be honest (no pun intented), If there were ever a Politician who came out and spoke 100% truth, we’d never elect him….

    • V says:

      05:25pm | 07/09/10

      What do people expect when ‘the people’ themselves have the memory span of a small gerbil.
      As much criticism as Tony Blair receives in the media over Iraq, you rarely hear about his contribution at bringing to an end the Northern Ireland conflict.
      He seems to be remembered alongside Bush as a warmonger which is hardly an accurate representation of quite a capable politician.

    • Drew(Darlinghurst) says:

      05:53pm | 07/09/10

      Blair, Bush and Howard should be doing time. They are War Crimminals and have Blood on their Hands.

      Cheers from Progressive Darlinghurst.

    • acotrel says:

      06:19pm | 07/09/10

      I always knew Tony Abbott had it in him to give an interview without humming and haring.  I just saw him give half an hour on the ABC without stammering.  Then again there were no lies to keep track of, in admitting deafeat!

    • Bruce says:

      08:53pm | 07/09/10

      I always liked Tony Blair, at least he had ‘balls”, and made a decision, not like some of the other wimpy world leaders at the moment.

    • PaulB says:

      09:44pm | 07/09/10

      I can think of other world leaders who had balls and made decisions Bruce.  One J. Stalin comes to mind, and even A Hitler had at least one nut.  They made decisions alright, not like some other wimpy world leaders at the moment (as you say).

    • Peter says:

      03:16pm | 09/09/10

      Once they pick up their rifles and take their kids into battle with them, then i’‘ll concede they had balls!

    • hot tub political machine says:

      06:29pm | 08/09/10

      Can’t tell you quite where the limit is but I can tell you that 7-11 billion dollars is somewhere beyond my limit

 

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