Politics – just this once, I promise

Posted on

I have made it a rule to not comment on politics, except of course as it affects the topics I’m discussing at the time. Regular readers will recall well-crafted adjectives such as ‘right-wing nut jobs’ etc, when talking about climate change for example.

One of the reasons for keeping politics out of things is that it is antithetical to rational thinking. It is simply not a rational process. For all the plaudits lavished on democracy good grief does it have some flaws. But as they say, it’s probably the best we’ve got, and sure beats the hell out of a feudal system for example.

But I’ve weakened. It’s not just that Australia has just elected it’s very own George W . Bush (let the gaffe-counting commence). It’s mainly that the process was so tortuous this time around. Right-wingers will say that it’s because the outgoing government was so dysfunctional for so long. There is some measure of truth to this – their leadership hijinks were just tedious. But this alone is not the reason. Indeed the Labour government got plenty of nation-building going (see, I’m even using political terms!). But for me it was the incessant prattle by both the opposition and the media that really did my head in, to use the psychologist-approved term.

That ‘prattle’ largely consisted of dumbed-down slogans, repeated ad nauseam by the opposition (Stop the boats! Axe the tax!), and then re-tweeted, so to speak, by the media. To me it’s the same phenomenon as happens with, for example, climate denialists – because the situation is actually quite complex, short, pithy slogans can penetrate and are hard to easily refute. This is why atheists tend to avoid debating theologians – the latter are armed with loads of quotes which cannot easily be refuted by another simple quote. It’s the FUD approach – sow seeds of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, and the masses will come with you. Historically the tobacco industry did this effectively for many years – using doubt as the main weapon.

So we now have our very own climate-denialist as PM, famously quoted as saying ‘climate change is crap’. Oh boy. First order of business – dismantle carbon pricing mechanisms, and replace it with so-called ‘Direct Action’, which as I understand it will consist primarily of paying off polluters to, well, not pollute as much. This position is clearly a political expedient, since of all policy positions, carbon pricing is the most consistent with right-wing, free-market approaches, while their adopted approach is socialism writ large. And to top it all off, just today we read that an MP who is an avowed climate change skeptic, Dennis Jensen, has put his hand up to be Minister for Science. He is quoted as saying “It was wrong to accept the view of the 97 per cent of climate scientists who agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely caused by human activities, because “the argument of consensus . . . is a flawed argument”. And if that doesn’t tell you enough, then he also said: “The colourful Englishman, Lord Christopher Monckton, who toured Australia to debunk the “bogus science” of global warming, was closer to the mark“, and, “Most of the stuff [Lord Monckton] says is entirely reasonable”. Again, Oh boy.

The other peculiarity about this election is the rise of the so-called micro-parties in the Senate, as a result of our archaic preference voting system. How ironic is that the people complaining about it are the politicians. Guys, you set it up! What’s even more laughable is the now new government poking fun at some of the potential new senators, basically describing them as the lunatic fringe. All I can say is Bill Heffernan and Barnaby Joyce.  Pot calling kettle black.

Climate change is crap. No conscience vote on gay marriage. Catholic views on women’s reproductive rights and ‘traditional family values’. Fanning the embers of xenophobia. Copper for broadband, not fibre. Australia, all ahead full, warp factor 9 – destination, the 1950’s.

And if I hear one more word on what the people of fucking Western Sydney or fucking Queensland want or think, I’m going to scream.



3 thoughts on “Politics – just this once, I promise

    Dan Rea said:
    September 14, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    We’re doomed.

    Dan Rea said:
    September 18, 2013 at 9:13 am

    As I’m getting older I am seeing my cynicism regarding politics relenting. Though the world will always spin on the dollar I do think that a positive can be made by even we peasants provided the unified voice is loud enough. I think it’s becomming more important as the manipulations by corporate interests are apparently becomming more brazen in their maipulations of the public (looking at you, Murdoch).

    A colleague has recently got me onto ‘GetUp’ ( https://www.getup.org.au/ ). From the wiki:
    “GetUp campaigns are community based, and are primarily coordinated through the Internet. They involve email, its website, and traditional media. GetUp is a non-profit organisation, and states that it relies on donations from individuals, organisations, unions and community groups for funding.
    GetUp describes itself as “a new independent political movement to build a progressive Australia”.[4] It identifies campaigns based on the interests of its members, which are usually issues such as “social justice, economic fairness and environmental sustainability”.”

    So essentially it is a member funded organisation that campaigns on issues that are most important to its members. Some of the issues where this organisation has made a positive impact follow (also from wiki):
    – 2005: Campaigned against changes to anti-terrorism legislation, against WorkChoices and against racism in response to the 2005 Cronulla riots.
    – 2006: Campaigned against proposed changes to migration laws and against Australian involvement in the Iraq War. Campaigned in support of David Hicks, expanding terms of reference for the Cole Inquiry into the Australian Wheat Board and in favour of certain actions in relation to global warming.
    – 2007: Campaigned against the Northern Territory National Emergency Response. Campaigned for the repeal of laws that close the electoral rolls the day the elections are officially called, to achieve health equality for Indigenous Australians and for same sex marriage.
    – 2008: Campaigned against a proposed mandatory internet filter. Campaigned to raise awareness on pay disparity for female workers, urged Kevin Rudd to take action and stand against China’s crackdown in Tibet and to save the Murray River.
    – 2009: Campaigned against mandatory detention. Campaigned for same-sex equality, renewable energy and paid parental leave.
    – 2010: Placed full page ads in The New York Times and The Washington Times in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and condemning calls for violence against him.
    – 2011: Campaigned against mining coal seam gas. Campaigned to create a permanent Climate Natural Disaster Fund funded by reduction of fossil fuel subsidies. Released a video supporting same-sex marriage starring Julian Shaw that was described by The Advocate as “possibly the most beautiful ad for marriage equality we’ve seen.”
    – 2012: Campaigned with Australian Marriage Equality for same-sex marriage by sending 3,000 roses to federal politicians on Valentines Day and by hosting a dinner for three same-sex couples with the Prime Minister. GetUp! also had a Marriage Matters float in the Sydney Mardi Gras. In Queensland, GetUp! commissioned a response to a controversial anti-gay marriage advertisement. In response to Catholic bishops in Victoria asking their parishioners to campaign against same sex marriages, Simon Sheikh of GetUp! said, “every time they act, they only entice our members to do even more”. In May 2012, “GetUp slams PM Gillard” for not following the lead of President Obama on marriage equity. In June 2012, at events in Sydney and Melbourne, GetUp! joined with Marie Claire and Sunrise to show support for marriage equality and “everybody’s right to say ‘I Do'”.

    Though I’m yet to dive too far it it seems like a effective way of organising we the little people into an effective opposition the vastly more powerful financial stakeholders influencing politics. Perhaps worth a look for any poor Australian readers who are lamenting the recent election results.

    Dan Rea said:
    September 18, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Just re-read back that first paragraph…. please excuse the errors; I did a 14 hr shift yesterday and had only a little sleep. Brain must be close to mush!
    …lets see what bugs I’ll intrduce to the codebase today… >_<

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s