Wednesday 8 March 2017
1 I think John Howard and I are almost the same age. We are both residents of the same country. It’s there that the similarities end. He is a Nationalist, I am an Internationalist.
“I was delighted with the result of the Brexit referendum,” he told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia forum in Sydney on Friday last. “The British people made the right decision. I saw that decision as being very much a cry for national sovereignty and control of their own affairs.”
He tried to deny that immigration was at the voter’s centre of attention.
“That wasn’t in my view a fundamental reason.”
He was no stranger to stoking the fires of nationalist hatred. His speech told us that he still has interest in the cultural wars being waged by his remaining acolytes.
“I think political correctness has become a problem in Western societies, we’ve become far too apologetic about our Western identity and anything that’s a sense of some kind of defence of cultural traditionalism or national identity is in many ways frowned upon.”
Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war. Taking the fight up to the social progressives. Rallying the troops for another assault on marriage equality, climate change and a host of other things.
At a time when the world is screaming out for leaders like Angela Merkel or the suave modernity of Canada’s Justin Trudeau, we are instead having nationalists like Trump thrust upon us. In Australia it’s the likes of Pauline Hansen who trumpet the simplistic but popular nationalist theme, or the unadulterated hypocrisy of Malcolm Turnbull.
If John Howard had taken an in-depth look at the Brexit polling results he would have found that overwhelmingly the young voted to stay. The young look forward into a time that the leaders of today will never occupy and see things that our ageing leaders don’t.
They see a time when Climate Change will change the way society functions. They concern themselves with how jobs will be found for everyone. How water will be distributed and who will grow the food for an ever-increasing world population. They are more empathetic toward others and see a global world. They don’t see the answers in a closed shop mentality of Trumpish nationalism. They see solutions to complex problems coming from cooperative internationalism.
The profile of Pauline Hansen supporters in Australia isn’t in the under 40s. It’s the elderly longing for an Australia that has passed them by. Protesting the changes that oddly have made our nation the success it is.
Allow me to digress. Last year I visited Melbourne to have lunch with a friend. When it became time to depart I had some time to spare so I purchased a bag of chips and a cup of coffee from a fast food outlet on Flinders Street station.
”Do you mind if I sit here I said to a young man with deep black purplish skin.”
I initiated conversation. He was a little reluctant at first but conversation soon flowed. He was from Somalia, learnt English here and had a familiar Aussie Accent. He was doing an Arts degree at Melbourne University. When he left to catch his train I sat and pondered the flowing mass of humanity that occupied the collective stations of Flinders street. Observation tells us much.
Sitting in my seat on the train the station gradually disappeared and I contemplated the Flinders Street Station I remembered as a young boy working in Central Melbourne. You never saw a black face then. In fact it was a bland community compared to today’s diversity. My country has changed in many ways and I have been a recipient of all that so my cultures have deposited in our country.
When I think about Australian culture or values I am at a loss to explain. In what decade I think to myself. I would say that Australian culture cannot be described without using the word diversity. As to our values, well I guess they are the same as many other countries, freedom security and peace are universal. I am yet to hear the likes of Hansen adequately explain just what Australian culture is.
Our Culture has changed progressively since I was a lad. Some of my vintage have adapted and appreciated why change is necessary and we are still true blue Aussies in every sense of the word.
With so many cultures we will increasingly become a melting pot of vast ethnic diversity. It will and is constantly changing. My belief is that new migrants can only be expected to meet the same standards that apply to the rest of us, obey the laws of the land and try to be good citizens. To be expected to replace one’s ethnicity with another overnight is simply unreasonable.
Young people know the issues, if not the politics, and the way forward is not by closing our doors with Nationalistic fever, but by being more open to the problems of the future, by being an open society.
Unlike me John Howard never learnt how to use a computer or the value of the internet. Still a Luddite.
”John Howard said Donald Trump’s election and Britain’s decision to quit the European Union demonstrated a global push for greater ”national sovereignty” that’s also affecting Australian politics.”
”In terms of social activism. The word wait should never mean never.”
“A commitment to love and social justice demands the transformation of social structures as well as our hearts and minds'”
The push for “National Sovereignty” as Howard puts it, in large part, can be put down to the inequality he and other conservatives saw fit to impose on us.
2 Essential Media this week still has Labor 6 Points clear of the Coalition.
They have some interesting observations in the weekly surveys.
A Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the Fair Work Commission’s recent decision to reduce current Sunday penalty rates paid in retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacy industries?
32% approve of the Fair Work Commission’s recent decision to reduce current Sunday penalty rates and 56% disapprove.
Those most likely to approve were Liberal National voters (55%), men (40%) and aged 65+ (49%).
Those most likely to disapprove were Labor voters (74%), Greens voters (73%), women (63%) and aged 18-24 (64%).
B Q. What do you think will be the more likely result of cutting penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers?
57% think that the most likely result of cutting penalty rates will be that businesses will make bigger profits. 24% think businesses will employ more workers.
Those most likely to think businesses will make more profits were Labor voters (73%) and Greens voters (66%).
Those most likely to think businesses will employ more workers were Liberal National voters (42%) and aged 65+ (41%).
3 I had an email from a friend
”I’ve a neighbour who supports Hansen. He’s not a fool. He knows he’s being fu%ked by the system and he’s angry. His anger distorts his common sense.’’
On this day in 2016 I wrote the following (I was tempted to post the whole article):
Traditionally two-thirds of the American economy has relied on consumerism. Wages are still at levels they were 30 years ago. Even people on average wages require food stamps to survive. People no longer have disposable income to feed the hungry giant of consumerism.
In Australia a similar situation is developing. Wages growth is at an all-time low and the government seems intent on keeping them so. The problem though is that without wages growth consumers don’t have expendable income sufficient to meet consumer demand for goods and services. America has found that out. Conservatives don’t seem to comprehend that you may be able to obtain growth on the back of low wages but if the low wages prevent people from buying what you produce. You have defeated your purpose.
Revolutionised morally regulated capitalism could, if legislated and controlled enable everyone an equitable opportunity for economic success. With equality of opportunity being the benchmark of all economic aspiration and legislation. In America 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined?
None Union wages are also affected by the decline of unions. Tax cuts to the wealthiest have not improved the economy or created more jobs.
The incomes of the top 1% have increased exponentially since the GFC.
Conservative Republicans couldn’t care less.
The problem is the politics.
In Australia, although not yet at the same level as the US, inequality is manifesting itself in a similar fashion. At the end of Peter Costello’s tenure as treasurer he was asked why the rich had become 7% richer. His answer was to say that at least the poor had not become poorer. Joe Hockey said that:
“The bottom line is we have to lift the tide so that all boats rise.”
This is akin to Thatcher’s:
“The poor will be looked after by the drip down effect from the rich’.”Time has proven this a nonsense. So will Hockey’s.
The government’s actions since the 2013 election have been anything but an attempt to bridge the gap. To the contrary there has been an unashamedly concerted effort to take from those less well of (there is no need for me to list them) and give to the rich. And all indications suggest that this will continue with unabated irrationally.
My thought for the day.
”The ideas of today need to be honed with critical reason, factual evidence and scientific methods of enquiry so that they clearly articulate the currency of tomorrow.”
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