Friday 15 December 2017
Author’s note: Assuming you didn’t know when I wrote the following, when do you think it was?
1 A close examination of the outcome of the Brexit referendum reveals that the young – those who see the future in terms of international modernity – overwhelmingly voted ‘yes’. Importantly, one in five of them didn’t vote. It was a victory for the very worst elements of old-style racist nationalism for which the old voted in abundance. People are drifting away from traditional politics, feeling disillusioned and disenfranchised.
In terms of the malaise of the young voter, the same complacency can be seen in Australia, where only half of the 18-year-olds eligible to vote in the upcoming election registered to do so. They understand the issues of a modern pluralist society but think they don’t have a voice. Or not one they would expect politicians to listen to.
What they miss both here and internationally is that in the absence of their collective vocal protest they are giving license to the worst elements of civil disunity. They are, instead of seeking social change for the better, actually endorsing far right philosophy.
“We must have the courage to ask of our young that they should go beyond desire and aspiration and accomplish not the trivial but greatness. That they should not allow the morality they have inherited from good folk to be corrupted by the immorality of evil minds”.
In the meantime, ultra-conservatives worldwide are rejoicing. They have hate on their lips and their hate comes from the beginning of a smile.
Commentators in Australia are saying that the Brexit vote will advantage the conservatives here. I understand why, but whatever way you look at it, it was a protest vote and simply highlights the disdain people hold for politics. All ideology of whatever shade or colour. This protest (and a volatile one it is) might just as well benefit Labor or the independents.
The fact is that opinion polls are fast becoming less reliable. The last English election, Brexit, Victoria, and Queensland have seen them all wrong. Dare I say that contrary to the assumption that I began with, people might be taking more notice than we think.
“Having the ability to admit that you are wrong is an absolute prerequisite to discernment and knowledge“.
All the experts might say that the Coalition will maintain the status quo, but will it? It’s a little premature to reveal my hand.
In a piece I wrote some time ago, ‘What should Shorten do’ I suggested that he should turn the body politic on its head. He hasn’t done that. Not even come close to it but a day is coming when a man or woman will confront established views and say they are not working and propose a new way to do democracy. A representative way.
Until then, we are stuck with an out-dated model that is long past its use by date.
2 So here we are just days away from electing a new government. If the Coalition wins it will be the first Government in my memory to win two elections in a row without any policies. If Labor does, it will be an achievement for policy over slogans. Having said that, it will not be a victory for democracy in so much as it will not have addressed the underlying problems that are destroying our social structures.
It will, however, be the first election in a long time to give us a clear ideological choice.
3 At first, I couldn’t believe it. ‘Turnbull could lose his seat’ the headline said. “No”, I thought. Then on closer examination, I found that it was true. He could do so even if the Coalition wins.
Roy Morgan released some polling last week with the intention of seeing how the Greens were going in their best 20 seats. One of them just happened to be the Prime Minister’s seat of Wentworth. He won the seat at the last election with 63.3 percent of the first preference vote. The trendies of Wentworth loved him for his progressive ideas, his seemingly sophisticated discourse and his dislike of three-word slogans.
How disappointed with his interchange of “stop the boats” with “jobs and growth” they must be.
Indeed they are. The Morgan Poll had Turnbull’s vote down to 41.5 percent. He is now just another politician.
Hard to believe, isn’t it? Where has his support flown to? According to Morgan, Labor got 8.1 percent of it, taking them to 27.5 percent. The Greens got 7.4 percent of it, taking them to 22 percent. Together Labor and the Greens have 49.5 percent of the vote in Wentworth. Others have 9 percent.
So, assuming Labor gets most of the Green preferences and a few from others, then Labor is in with a chance.
In fact, the bookies’ odds of 20 to 1 look like a fair bet to me.
4 Much has been written about the scare campaigns from both parties. With the Liberals on border control, I can only say, “what’s new?” It’s not a scare campaign of election necessity but the continuation of one that has been ongoing for many years.
As for Labor, you can call it a Medicare scare campaign if that’s your desire but in their defence, it is not without substance. You can suggest that the privatisation of a portion of it does not represent a sell-off but it is also valid to suggest that doing so could be the start of it.
“Life is about perception. Not what is but what we perceive it to be”.
5 When it got to the end of Malcolm Turnbull’s campaign launch a few things occurred to me. The first was just how much time he spent talking about his opponent. Of course, there are many interpretations you can read into it but his constant emphasis on telling people how they should vote suggests to me at least that internal polling has them worried.
Secondly, when you have little to say about your own party, then people should question why they deserve your vote.
Thirdly, after perusing the venue it occurred to me that Liberal Party donations must have dried up.
Fourthly, I recalled that it wasn’t so long ago when he addressed a similar gathering, those assembled booed him.
And lastly, I couldn’t see John Hewson in the audience. Well, to be truthful I knew he wasn’t there because he was at an environmental protest in the Prime Minister’s seat of Wentworth.
6 The latest census tells us that 7 million Australians are now ‘no religion’. At 30% they are the biggest category, overtaking Catholics who fell to 22%, and more than double the number of Anglicans.
39% of people 18-34 are ‘no religion’, and there is no reason to expect people will become religious as they get older.
In terms of public policy, it makes you wonder why we still have prayers to begin our Parliaments, and give so much public money as tax breaks to religions.
Religion should be a private choice, and not impinge on the civic life of others.
6 June 2016
My thought for the day
“The pathway to the riches of knowledge is in the reading, the exchange of creative ideas and in the doing“.