50 episodes

The Iron Fist and The Velvet Glove is a weekly podcast which takes a look at news, political events, culture, ethics and the transformations taking place in our society.

We try to look at news events and examine whether they are good or bad, whether they are part of a larger trend, what social forces are at work and what are the implications for our future.

A typical episode is an eclectic mix of serious ideas and amusing stories. We might well be cataloguing the demise of civilisation but we try to have fun while doing so.

We are Australian so we include a lot of Australian stories but Australia is a small fish in a big pond and we consequently look at a lot of international events which are relevant to everyone.

We hope you enjoy the podcast.

The Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove The Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove

    • Politics
    • 4.7, 47 Ratings

The Iron Fist and The Velvet Glove is a weekly podcast which takes a look at news, political events, culture, ethics and the transformations taking place in our society.

We try to look at news events and examine whether they are good or bad, whether they are part of a larger trend, what social forces are at work and what are the implications for our future.

A typical episode is an eclectic mix of serious ideas and amusing stories. We might well be cataloguing the demise of civilisation but we try to have fun while doing so.

We are Australian so we include a lot of Australian stories but Australia is a small fish in a big pond and we consequently look at a lot of international events which are relevant to everyone.

We hope you enjoy the podcast.

    Episode 264 – Victorian Lockdown and Nursing Homes

    Episode 264 – Victorian Lockdown and Nursing Homes

    We look at the Victorian lockdown and proposals for protecting the vulnerable in nursing homes.

    If you are sick of Covid talk you can fast forward to the 38:44 mark.

    Feedback from Episode 263

    Waz annoyed and frustrated a few people.

    From Craig

    You did a valiant job on the Covid discussion in the last podcast in the face of the challenges of the Beer Sponsor and 12th Man. You were spot on as far as I was concerned. At least for me, banging my head against a wall while listening to the podcast made a difference to yelling at the TV while The Drum is on.

    From Robbie

    Oh my god Waz (Woz?) is infuriating. I usually listen to IFVG as I head to sleep at night and I can spread out the episode over a week, but tonight he’s woken me up and made me want to yell at my phone!

    From Paul

    Hi Trevor,

    Just wondering if you need another beer sponsor?  I’d be happy to buy you a beer, but the BWS in The Gap seems to only accept an order if you can pick up in half an hour.  I’m not sure if I can give your name, and I don’t have your phone number, to confirm when I place the order.  Any thoughts on the best way to get beer to you?

    The reason I offer is to replace Waz, who is honestly the worst guest I’ve had to put up with on your show.  He doesn’t listen to contrary evidence, but only the research that proves his own opinions.  He has no idea of logical reasoning or argument.  He, like the Twelfth Man, seem to be incapable of conceding a point.  The two of them are major reasons why I would stop listening to your show and the only reason I do is because of Scott and your persistence in trying to make rational, intelligent arguments.

    Let me know if you want someone capable of following a logical thought to its conclusion and I’ll join via Zoom.

    But either way I’ll still get some beer to you.

    All the best,


    From Bronwyn

    I can only say that I am very glad that Waz is not in charge of Australia’s coronavirus strategy. I simply cannot understand why he persists in arguing for the Swedish approach when their per capita death rate is one of the highest in the world, which would equate to about 15,000 deaths in Australia (cf. 189 deaths as of today). Plus their economy has tanked, so there isn’t even an economic argument in favour of their approach. As far as performance indicators go, no one could argue with any credibility that these are good outcomes.

    And as for allowing the virus to go through the population while supposedly protecting the ‘most vulnerable’, you’re completely ignoring the increasing body of evidence indicating that those who survive a COVID infection often have ongoing problems, some of which are quite serious, and which we don’t yet know enough about. It’s not the flu and I certainly don’t want to catch it.

    I also disagree that the media are driving coronavirus strategy, at least not in Victoria. While there have clearly been some mistakes, the strategy we are following is (and has always been) based on the best epidemiological advice available. I commend Premier Andrews for holding the line on this, even though it’s making him less popular. The reasons why we are still not getting on top of things are complex, but the most important factor which is driving the infection rate appears to be the large numbers of people who are unable to work from home and who go to work while infected. I can’t see a solution to this other than implementing a NZ style elimination strategy, which would effectively close the economy down for a month or so.

    So I’m afraid that I had to turn this episode off rather than listen to any more of this garbage, because it just makes me angry. My reaction is possibly due to the fact that I live in Melbourne. We thought our numbers were going down until today,

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Episode 263 – Elimination or Suppression

    Episode 263 – Elimination or Suppression

    In this episode, we discuss the pros and cons of an elimination strategy for Covid-19 in Australia, the usefulness of masks, the special treatment of Danii Minogue, the cancellation of Martina Navratilova and a protestor in New York who wants to refund the police.

    It’s bad, but not so bad

    From the Reserve bank

    Statement May 2020

    The Australian economy is expected to record a contraction in GDP of around 10 per cent over the first half of 2020; total hours worked are expected to decline by around 20 per cent and the unemployment rate is forecast to rise to around 10 per cent in the June quarter. Headline inflation is expected to be negative in the June quarter largely as a result of lower fuel prices and free child care; underlying inflation is expected to decline notably.


    Super spreaders

    Suppression or Elimination

    What should we be aiming for?

    I thought elimination of COVID-19 was not possible in Australia – now I’ve changed my mind

    From Gregory Dore in the SMH

    There are several reasons why an Australian COVID-19 elimination strategy should be considered. First, as outlined, there is empirical data demonstrating feasibility. Second, despite potential for prolonged restrictions in settings with current spread, I believe the community would support an elimination strategy. Such a strategy would require national political consensus, and clear jurisdictional and national-level public health messaging. Crucially, the resurgence in Melbourne and outbreak in Sydney have re-engaged the community, after most members had become complacent.

    Third, an elimination strategy would acknowledge complete and maintained elimination may not be achievable, but low-level community transmission would be a welcome second-best outcome. Fourth, in uncertain times efforts towards elimination could provide greater certainty as we await an effective vaccine. Fifth, a requirement for keeping international borders closed under an elimination strategy is no different to the current situation under a suppression strategy.

    Finally, the initial national pride in Australia’s response to the epidemic, despite considerable personal and economic constraints, would be greatly enhanced through achieving elimination. If unsuccessful, the majority of the community would not be critical of our political and public health leaders for making a concerted effort towards elimination.

    Having watched the COVID-19 elimination bus do its rounds with a few rowdy passengers, I have decided to flag it down and climb aboard.

    Professor Gregory Dore is an infectious diseases physician and epidemiologist at the Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney.



    Is it OK for Victoria to make them mandatory?

    It seems they do their best work indoors to protect family members.

    In the UK teenagers are getting alcohol

    Cheeky teens are using coronavirus face coverings to dress up as pensioners and buy booze.

    Donning the face coverings to hide their youthful looks, they make a few adjustments to their clothing and hair and find themselves walking out of the stores with bags of drink, before posting the results on social media.

    The craze is sweeping the video sharing social media app TikTok as the teens exploit the coronavirus crisis to avoid being asked for ID for the alcohol.

    Multiple videos show underage drinkers applying white powder to their hair to mimic the greying locks of senior citizens and donning older-style clothes before dropping in on the liquor s...

    • 1 hr 44 min
    Episode 262 – Cancel Culture

    Episode 262 – Cancel Culture

    In this episode, we discuss Kanye, Elon Musk, Hong Kong, The Himalayas and Hillsong before eventually getting around to cancel culture and JK Rowling.

    Let’s start with a positive story

    From ABC news

    I was unsure what we nurses would experience at Melbourne’s public housing towers, which this week were put under total lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus and allow health authorities to complete thousands of tests.

    Some media had portrayed them as being hostile places, rife with drugs and alcohol and, as I saw it, frightening to go to.

    Residents had been shown pleading for help, food and basic supplies; there were reports of protests and a lot of anger.

    Over the past few days, my colleagues and I attended the towers in Flemington and North Melbourne.

    When I first arrived, there was a massive police presence and strict lockdown — my heart was in my mouth. I had never been exposed to public housing, violence or police incidents.

    … We were given a list of the names of residents on each floor and worked our way through every apartment, continuing until they’d all been visited.

    Testing was completely voluntary, yet not one resident said no. They were incredibly thankful, respectful and grateful for us being there.

    … The police stood back away from them and us, showing the same respect and kindness at every door we knocked on.

    At every apartment, we asked: “Are you okay? Do you have enough food? Do you need any medication, is there anything we can do to help?”

    There were some very simple requests: lactose-free milk, an onion and tomato, dishwashing detergent, sanitary pads and toothpaste.

    We noticed bags and boxes of food which had been delivered in the foyers, under tents outside, outside doorways and inside rooms.

    One man, with the biggest smile on his face, told us he had never had so much meat.

    Again, the residents were so grateful to be tested. They were worried for their health and that of their families. They proudly showed us their negative results, which were sent by text message to their phones. Some wanted to be tested again.

    Most were worried about not being able to go to work and support their families or that they’d lose jobs entirely.

    We encountered many parents whose partners had been locked out; some had nieces, nephews and cousins who’d been locked in.

    These people had simple requests as well, and we were grateful to have a social worker with us who was able to arrange what was needed then and there.

    I’m so proud to be a nurse

    I left that day with a full heart thanks to all the “thank yous” and “I love yous” from the residents.

    We were invited into many homes, and even offered tea and coffee. I went into a few rooms with elderly, frail people and young children (this was optional and only if we felt safe).

    We felt like guests. I saw dozens of boxes of food and supplies.

    … I have so many wonderful memories of the past few days, all positive. I’d like the broader community to understand that sometimes media portrayals of what goes on are not necessarily true.

    Despite suggestions otherwise, wheels are in motion to support these people — maybe things moved slowly at first, but from what I saw, lots of help is now on hand.

    There are translators, social workers, support systems and many other resources.

    Elon Musk and Kanye

    What goes up must come down. And like his SpaceX rockets, Elon Musk’s support of Kanye West for president appears to have fallen back to Earth.

    Hong Kongers visas extended

    More good news, if you commit a crime and want to avoid extradition, you can go to Hong Kong.

    We don’t have on with China.

    • 1 hr 41 min
    Episode 261 – Victorian Shutdown and Branch Stacking

    Episode 261 – Victorian Shutdown and Branch Stacking


    Back to square 1.

    Soviet-style public housing.

    What is it with hairdressers?

    From The Conversation

    States are shutting their borders to stop coronavirus. Is that actually allowed?

    Movement of people and goods across state borders in Australia is guaranteed by the Constitution. Section 92 of the Constitution says

    trade, commerce, and intercourse among the States, whether by means of internal carriage or ocean navigation, shall be absolutely free.

    “Intercourse among the States” in this context, means the movement of people, goods and communications across state boundaries.

    If the movement of people across state borders must be absolutely free, can the states hinder or even prevent such movement during the coronavirus pandemic? The short answer is “yes”.

    “Absolutely free” does not mean what it says. The High Court has accepted that there can be limits if they are reasonable and imposed for a legitimate end, such as protecting the public from a dangerous disease.

    What limits does the Constitution impose on the states?

    A state cannot exclude people from entering it because it has some objection to them, such as their character or behaviour. For example, shortly after federation, NSW enacted the Influx of Criminals Prevention Act 1903 to prevent convicted criminals from other states entering New South Wales. It tried to use the act to prevent John Benson, a convicted vagrant, of entering the state.

    But the High Court struck down the law because it prevented freedom of interstate movement in breach of section 92 of the Constitution. While some judges recognised that a state may have power to act where it is necessary to protect “public order, safety or morals”, they did not consider that the exclusion of vagrants could be justified as such a necessity.

    Since then, the High Court has accepted that a state law may impede the entry into the state of persons, animals or goods that are likely to injure its citizens. These include risks of the transmission of animal and plant diseases and the entry of noxious drugs.

    Justice Brennan stated in the case of Nationwide News that where the true character of a law

    is to protect the State or its residents from injury, a law which expressly prohibits or impedes movement of the apprehended source of injury across the border into the State may yet be valid.

    A court would need to consider the severity of the restriction and the need for the measure.

    If the law is enacted for a purpose other than simply impeding movement across state boundaries, such as to protect public health, and the measures imposed are appropriate and adapted to fulfilling that purpose, then the law is likely to be held to be valid. It will depend on the factual circumstances in any particular case.


    What’s wrong with Australia

    From David Donavan in Independent Australia.net

    PEOPLE OFTEN ASK me what the problem is with Australia. For ten years, as managing editor of news website Independent Australia, I have been closely studying our nation.

    I have personally edited and published thousands of articles on practically every feature of Aust...

    • 1 hr 31 min
    Episode 260 – 5 Years of Podcasting

    Episode 260 – 5 Years of Podcasting

    Today we briefly celebrate 5 years of podcasting and then move on to discuss contemporary topics.

    Who are we?

    Paul, a bike riding music loving libertarian English Teacher, with a keen interest in Japan and China who is looking for love and as elder statesman of our group he represents the Baby Boomers.

    Waz, is the founder and patron of a community running group but due to injury, he doesn’t run, he started a bike riding tour guide business but due to Covid-19, can’t guide and he is an engineer but due to job dissatisfaction has retired and no longer engineers. He started our beer sponsorships and thankfully still drinks beer. I wasn’t sure who he should represent but I looked up gen x.

    Scott, is a private school educated accountant and a former card carrying member of the Liberal Party. But being an openly gay man he is the closest thing we have to a representative of an oppressed minority.

    I’m Trevor. I’m an ex-lawyer who dabbles in watercolours and plays squash at a local country club. I live in a McMansion in the leafy western suburbs of Brisbane with a tennis court and a custom built wood fired pizza oven so I naturally represent the working class.

    Actually my credentials are pretty good.

    My grandfather.

    No middle name.

    Father Anonymous

    Congratulates us on 5 years

    What have we learned?

    5 years and 260 episodes.

    What have we learned?

    We started off thinking that if people only knew what unfair privileges are being handed to religious groups then they would be appalled and rise up and object.


    The people don’t care and when they do, they more often than not, are ok with the religious privilege. Think private schools.

    The ongoing power of religious groups is tied up with tradition and increasing embeddedness of religion in the key power structures of government, political parties and the media.

    All of the best arguments in the world won’t matter while powerful people have a pro-religious agenda.

    To remove religious privilege we must forget about winning arguments and think about winning power.

    And if we want to win power we must motivate the people with a tribal pitch. A narrow pitch of a secular utopia won’t work. A pitch to the powerless against the powerful might work.

    But it requires a salesman. A storyteller. Someone who can pull back the curtain and reveal the s****y wizard. And it will require tough times when people are hurting and are amenable to new ideas.

    There will be no changes without tough times and a charismatic revolutionary.

    You have heard the saying … Cometh the hour, cometh the man (or woman).

    You need both.

    Real power rests with either of the two major parties. The Liberals are beyond redemption. The Christian parasite has taken over the host. The ALP is still up for grabs. Join it and get some power while waiting for opportunity.

    Secularism needs to take a leaf out of the Dominionism playbook.

    Secularism needs to plant secular leaders in the Labor party and build power and be ready when the time is right.

    Meanwhile … as we speak …

    The left is strangling itself with identity politics and along the way has abandoned the working class and the importance of free speech. It has given up on left wing economic policies.

    The right has maintained popular acceptance of low taxes and small government. It continues to fool Australians into thinking the coalition are the better economic managers. It relies on the Murdoch press and religious support. Enthusiastic Conservative Protestant Christians willingly adopt prosperity gospel doctrine in return for conservative moral laws and their end times theology helps them ignore the dangers of climate change.

    Have I missed anything?

    From episode 177

    Besides bedroom issues, the two parties are the same.

    Remember the quote from Chris Hedges? Well, of course,

    • 1 hr 41 min
    Episode 259 – The Jakarta Method

    Episode 259 – The Jakarta Method

    In this episode, Trevor does a solo review of a new book called The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins.


    For 70 years we have been subjected to pro US propaganda. They won the war, they helped the countries they defeated, they defeated communism and they encouraged the world to pursue freedom and democracy. Their initiative and drive created new industries and they deserve their success.

    For most of those 70 years we were subjected to anti Soviet propaganda. As if they were devils who seeded evil communism around the world. With the demise of the Soviet Union, the focus has shifted to China.

    China is not perfect and is indeed deeply flawed. I don’t want to live under Chinese rule.

    But it is a mistake to say the Chinese are the bad guys, the Americans are the good guys and we should therefore support and follow the Americans.

    They are both bad guys. We should follow our own path.

    Many people look at the USA and see it as pursuing the principles of Truth, Justice, Freedom and Equality. The opposite is true. The proof of this is in America’s foreign policy over the last 70 years.

    Today, many people speculate that if unchecked, China could flex its power and control and subjugate smaller countries. That it could force its will and communist agenda on less powerful countries. That if necessary it would kill, jail and terrorise vast populations to achieve its aims.

    The terrible truth is that for 70 years the USA has been conducted the same sort of terrorism campaign that we fear the Chinese will start.

    Most people are unaware of just how badly America has behaved. The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins exposes 70 years of American terrorism.

    Read it. Read it twice. Many of you joined this podcast because you reject the nonsense of religious dogma. You pride yourself of being rational enough to spot snake oil salesmen in clerical clothes. I’m asking you to overcome 70 years of pro US indoctrination just as you overcame 2000 years of religious indoctrination.

    I’m not saying you should be pro China. I’m saying that powerful manipulators are painting a picture of China and you need to constantly assess what is likely to be true and what is likely to be false. Even for things likely to be true, you need to assess what is fair criticism and what is a beat up over nothing. And when you find real and terrible Chinese behaviour, don’t assume that the American response is the answer. The truth is that the Americans have probably already done something just as bad. The answer doesn’t have to be America.

    This podcast looks at The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins and examines his descriptions of horrendous crimes committed by America in foreign countries.

    Post WW2

    A new global order. Europe was weakened and the planet was broken into pieces.


    First world

    Second World

    Third World (two thirds of the World’s population and mostly had been under control of European colonialism.)


    Started before WW2. Just after the Russian revolution, President Woodrow Wilson joined other imperial powers in helping the white forces attempt to retake control from the Bolsheviks.

    Post WW2, Truman hated communism and there was a problem in Greece. There was a civil war as Greek communists (who had fought against the Nazis) were going well. Truman wanted to interfere. Enter The Truman Doctrine.

    From Wikipedia

    Truman told Congress that “it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”[2] Truman contended that because totalitarian regimes coerced free peoples, they automatically represented a threat to international peace and the national security o...

    • 1 hr 6 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
47 Ratings

47 Ratings

By Maddy Wright ,

Trevor thinks he’s hilarious.....actually

The whole cast is. I was never interested in politics or the make up of the Australian Political Landscape, happy to be annoyed at whichever government in power. This show actually educated me..in a way I can relate to...with humour, bias opinion and simple language I can understand. Cast is great and the odd guest is well received...especially enjoyed Cam Riley’s tone. When can I vote for the Iron Fist party to rule the nation?

wheatwatcher ,

Great exchanges

I have only been listening to podcasts for around six months. This is one of the few which I have been able to stick with.

It is refreshing to see differing viewpoints on a number of subjects as opposed to the typical echo chambers which seem common in many current affair podcasts.

antifoo ,

Always thought provoking

Iron fist and velvet glove is a deep dive into secular discussion in Australia and some international sources. You won’t always agree with them but they will make you analyse your own views and at the very least inform you of some of the undercurrents in political and religious spheres.
Well worth your time.

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