I’ve made the odd snide allusion to Federal politics in the last 12 months, but by and large it’s a topic I’ve avoided. If only it would avoid me. To say that I’m disillusioned, disenchanted and utterly pissed off only begins to describe my own personal zeitgeist (though common to many I would suggest). Just thinking about Federal politics and the variety of buffoons representing us is enough to dim a bright day. For the first time in my memory – 30 odd years of playing pretty close attention to the political scene – I struggle to find anything positive to say, let alone hope for.
I’m going to break my silence today because things have reached such a pitch that I can’t contain myself.
About 6 weeks ago Gillard surprised everyone by declariung a Federal election for September. It was bold, possibly desperate, move. Pretty well the whole time since the last election the Labor party has trailled the Libs by a considerable margin in the polls. The worst of those polls, which remain current, show the Labor party being utterly smashed at the next election. So smashed that the Labor party as a viable political entity may be out of the game for years to come, and possibly lose whatever political relevance they still retain.
Now in principle I’m a swinging voter. Whenever I hear that I think of some indecisive twit who makes up his mind on the day. I’m not like that. I’m deeply committed to the future of this country, and notwithstanding my recent distate for all things political, generally very attuned to what’s going on. I lean a little to the left, and have voted Labor more often than not, but I’m not a welded on supporter of the left. Basically I own my principles and beliefs. Much of what I believe has been espoused here in different ways over the years, and so should be familiar to any regular readers. I believe in human values, in the strong assisting the weak, the rich the poor, and equality of opportunity and rights regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation; I believe in free enterprise to, am a strong advocate for capitalism despite its manifest flaws; I believe in the rights of individuals, to freely express themselves and to live as they choose; I think we need look after our environment, if only for common sense and economic reasons; and whilst I believe we should have a safety net in place I strongly believe that every indvidual should be encouraged, and given the opportunity, to become something more than what they were born. Ideas, opportunity, innovation and vision are important things for the human soul. They can’t necessarily be legislated for, but they can be encouraged to blossom. That’s the sort of country I want to live in.
In basic – and traditional – terms I am to the left socially, and to the right economically. Now those distinctions have become much blurred over the years to the point they only barely equate with one side of the political divide or the other. Labor has moved further into the middle in general, and the Libs now rubbing shoulders with the extreme right. Occasionally the positions are the opposite in quirky reversals characteristic of the times we live in. Pretty much all of it is opportunism and populism. There are few politicians anywhere of genuine belief or passion. The whole purpose of politics has seemingly become attaining power, and keeping. All else, and every idealistic consideration, is secondary to that. To that end the parties position themselves not according to their time honoured ideologies, but rather according to what the latest opinion poll says, and what their shiny suited advisers whisper in their ear. They imagine, obviously, that this works.
In the past then I would have weighed up the competing parties come election time and cast my vote for the party that best aligned with my beliefs and philosophies. That’s no longer possible because pretty much all I believe in – and have espoused above – has become politically irrelevant. Whilst there are millions like me in the electorate, we’re the ‘knowns’ in the formula, and disregarded as such. Instead both parties pander to the extremes, the 20% of the population perhaps who hold strong and mostly uneducated opinions on the tabloid issues of the day. I suppose they’ve always been there, but previously they were largely ignored. Now they are fed, entertained, the circus that Canberra has become is designed solely to win them over.
Clearly I’m greatly disillusioned.
As it stands, Julia Gillard and the Labor party will lose big at the next election. I’d be more sanguine about that if the alternative was not so ugly. Much as I abhor Julia Gillard, I think Tony Abbott is an utter fool who may actually do great damage to the country. This is the dilemma facing most Australians right now, faced with two evils, one they know, the other they can only hope the best about.
Now the title of this post states that I won’t be voting for Gillard even though Abbott looms. Right now I’m intending to vote for the sex party, as being one of the few things presented I believe in. On a more serious note perhaps I will vote for Julian Assange, as will many other Australians. I’d be surprised if he doesnn’t get his senate seat.
I can’t vote for Labor for many reasons, which I’ve listed below. I give credit to Labor a few things. Going back to when Rudd was still there the GFC was well handled, and we’ve reaped the relative economic benefits since (or at least, have not suffered the setbacks of other nations). The so-called carbon tax has been a great success, though this encapsulates much that is wrong with this government. In the end it was good policy that has actually produced positive results – but who would know? The government is incapable of selling the good. (The Libs promise to overturn the carbon tax, which would be a disaster). The NBN, another Rudd initiative, I think will be another great spur to growth, though the Libs threaten to reel this back in also.
For all the reasons I’ve listed below, what it all boils down to is stupidity. Last year when Rudd challnged Gillard the Labor leadership went out of their way to tar Kevin Rudd. They thought it politically expedient, when it was knavish stupidity rather. They did the party, and the country, a great disservice at the time. That’s when I declared first that I could not vote for them, and nothing has happened since to change my mind. I accused them then of a naive and selfish unwillingness to face up to facts. I said then, as I say now again, as so many others now say, that Labor cannot win with Gillard in the big seat.
Anyway, my list of reasons, not in any particular order:
- Gillard’s obstinate and bewildering refusal to even contemplate the right of gays to marry.
- Wayne Swann. Complete muppet.
- The general abandonment of Julian Assange, and general neglect of other Australians abroad and in need of support.
- The shockingly expedient exploitation of the refugee issue, and inhumane treatment of same. The latest contrived scandal about the 457 immigration visa is the latest in this.
- The self-indulgent actions of the Gillard camp in fighting off Rudd last time, putting themselves above the party, and indeed without consideration of the Australian people, who they allegedly represent. They trashed an ex-leader, dragged the Labor brand through the mud, and put set themselves on the road to the disaster that now awaits.
- The general stupidity of the government, the inability to ever communicate the occasional wins and positives, and regular propensity to either shoot themselves in the foot, put said foot in mouth, or both. Gillard is particularly skilled at this. Hard to respect a government so routinely incompetent (refer this week to the mismanagement of media policy – the latest in a long list of stuff-ups).
- The abject lack of spine that led to a clever policy – the resource super tax – being watered down to the point of meaninglessness in the face of rabid, partisan and uninformed opposition. Disaster (see incompetence).
- The inability of the party in general, and Gillard in particular, to set the political agenda.
- The lack of any meaningful political philosophy or belief. The expedient jettisoning of ‘labor values’ to cosy up to interest groups, and union heavyweights, instead. No passion, no heart, no emotion.
- The ruinous shift away from the middle-Australian heartland – the great rump of decent Australians who now go unrepresented because they are taken for granted. They – we – are crying out to be listened to, but to no avail. We’re not extreme enough to be pandered to, and considered (incorrectly) as too timid to be a concern.
- The disastrous road Gillard has led the Labor party down since she took the job. Ahead is a cliff, which everyone sees but them. Continue this way and the Labor party will be ruined, and Gillard will be infamous because of it.
- The complete disconnection from the Australian people. They have no idea what is being said and being thought. They appear oblivious of the general contempt of much of the electorate, and of the cynicism that pervades the community in general. This is entirely in character, at once burying head in sand whilst believing they know better. A good look around might do them wonders, and avoid the likes of the Rooty Hill fiasco last week. We saw through that sort of meaningless stunt long ago, you just don’t care to know it.
- I don’t give a fuck if Gillard is a ‘strong, feisty woman’. She seems to believe that’s sufficient to win the election. It isn’t. It’s an arrogant, very selfish view I find objectionable. I have no doubt that Gillard could fill out a pair of budgie smugglers better than Abbott, but that’s not the issue.
- And so on…
I now think that a challenge to Gillard is inevitable. She’s dead woman walking. Not even the Labor members can be so blind to what is happening. If you had a captain steering full speed into an iceberg wouldn’t you mutiny? Mustn’t you? Rudd remains the best, and probably only winning option for the government. Anyone else would be no more than cosmetic right now, and the leading contender, Bill Shorten, is all about him.
If I were to dream, Rudd wopuld get the gig back at Labor, and a panicked Liberal party would re-instate Turnbull. I’d vote for him.