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Day to Day Politics: The Great Paradox of Our Times

Sunday February 7 2016

I have a confession to make. Writing a daily post is time-consuming. It takes a lot of research and you have to be on top of things, constantly thinking a day ahead. And of course one is reliant on the day-to-day political gossip for source material.

Occasionally though one just feels flat, in want of a day off. Today is that day.

Filling in for me today is my friend Stuart Whitman. I met Stuart on Facebook about four years ago. We have had coffee together a few times. His engaging personality and kindly disposition always makes for enjoyable discourse. Until this week Stuart worked in the Senate Canberra. He is well versed in the machinations of government and that of the Labor Party.

The Great Paradox of Our Times

The paradox of our times is that we live in a pre-revolutionary age of massive global economic, environmental, social and cross-cultural convulsions as the old order of the world we have known to be “reality” collapses around us yet the political status quo internationally lacks the courage or vision to lead the profound systemic change or even ask the deep questions we need to be asked or to re-imagine how the world can work.

Yet forces such as climate change, the new industrial revolution and subsequent loss of a large part of the workforce, and the widening inequality will not wait for us, they demand a brave and visionary response.

We can’t put these global bushfires out with a garden hose.

Not wanting to unsettle an electorate they wrongly assume is unable to think critically or act rationally or behave humanely, we are told to accept the crumbs of piecemeal progress because anything of the scale of transformational polices required to see our civilisation through to the other side, renders any political figure proposing them nuts or “unelectable”.

Instead of embracing the challenge and adventure of the age and the hard work required to lead and channel the coming transition to make sure it is peaceful, democratic and wise we have timid responses and focus group marketing lines. Instead of working together to ensure the global underclass is finally lifted out of their desperation and afforded dignity instead of growing in ranks of misery, we have a generation of people who don’t seem to be capable of thinking beyond the entrenched Thatcher-Reagan worldview of the past thirty years. The only world so much of the electorate and political class has ever really known.

There seems to be deep fear of any alternative to the view offered by Thatcher and Reagan that we are not to trust the common will of the people in the democratic state offering grand scale programs of much-needed reform and change. God forbid we challenge the dogma that the market has all the answers and the constituent body of the people is not to be trusted. Better to go quietly about your business and not rock the boat. Trust the powers that be and your political patrons, and shut your mouth and you will be looked after.

In an age that demands courage, everywhere we look we see cowardice.

Why is it that in this time the world-weary old men and women are now the radicals and so many of the youth even on the left of politics are so illogically conservative and reactionary?

I am thankful that although I was an infant at the time, I still have a memory of a world before Ayn Rand ruled. I hope I get to see it again in my lifetime.

Stuart Whitman.

My thought for the day

‘It seems to me that the wisest people I know are the ones that apply reason, and logic and leave room for doubt. The most unwise are the fools and fanatics who don’t’.

 

21 comments

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  1. Trish Corry

    John I applaud you for your daily posts. I set my task for 2016 to publish a blog post once per week and I have already not achieved that and it is only February! So just visualise me sitting her applauding.

    Stuart, That leader you are talking about is Jason Clare. His turn will come. 🙂

  2. Terry2

    Daniel Andrews has offered to break the deadlock on the 267 asylum seekers – including 37 babies – that Dutton is committed to returning to Nauru and, despite what the MSM tell us, it seems that the majority of reasonable and compassionate Australians are saying ‘let them stay’.

    Already the very loud and vocal far-right are screaming ‘flood gates’ and they should never be allowed to settle and must be returned to the tent camp on Nauru.

    The challenge now, for Turnbull is to concede that enough is enough and take the decision making away from Dutton, who has already demonstrated that he doesn’t have a compassionate bone in his body, and let these folk be resettled in Victoria and – as I said yesterday – commit to closing the holding camps on Nauru and Manus as soon as possible.

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/feb/06/victoria-will-take-refugee-children-says-premier-daniel-andrews

  3. Steve Laing

    As you rightly said, and to paraphrase Game of Thrones, change is coming. And when it does…

    I’ve realised that zombie films are in fact perfect allegories of what will happen with global change. Vast bodies of humanity in desperate search for food and water – how long will it be before long pig will be protein source being sought? Our ability to work collectively has been so eroded by the selfishness of the simplistic and dangerous politics of Reagan and Thatcher, that our ability to work in effective alliances for the common good is nigh on impossible. I shudder to think how my offspring will handle that calamity.

  4. David

    Trish I agree 100% re Jason Clare. He is Labors ‘shining light on the hill’, If ever Labor had a leader and PM in waiting it is Jason. I hope he is quietly, without the right faction bullying, gathering those loyal to the principals of the real Labor ideals around him.
    For the sake of the party and the country as soon as Bill Shorten loses this election, which he surely will, a new clean sweep leadership is needed.

  5. thebustopher

    I just re-watched a Father Rod Bower Speech I had the privilege of videoing in July last year. He concludes it – along with most others of his – with

    “And so now may your god bless you, and if you don’t have one may you bless one another.”

    Perhaps the latter is much more productive than the first?

    Here’s the speech https://youtu.be/3VZ6-26ovvU

  6. JohnB

    “In an age that demands courage, everywhere we look we see cowardice.” – yes, in Australia that is too true.

    However in the US, “It’s Time!” for Bernie Sanders’; his democratic socialist narrative is brashly ‘Whitlamesque’ – he has dared to be different and tell the populace some home truths.
    His extraordinary altruism, his rejection of greed and avarice, his courage to speak out – to challenge the all powerful ‘establishment’ on social issues, to attempt to connect to ‘the common people’ in deference to hostile national media shows up Australia’s current so called progressive political leaders/parties as timid neoconservative corporate appeasers.
    One of Sander’s economic advisers is a proponent of MMT Stephanie Kelton – which provides promise of enlightened future economic management.

    This Sanders video is 90 mins long…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slkQohGDQCI
    – but I found it riveting viewing.
    If the ALP want a powerful narrative to engage the public in 2016 it is contained in this Sanders’ speech – the only missing ingredient is a selfless credible leader with the courage to break from neocon groupthink and ‘tell it as it is’.

    The attack on the working classes, proper democratic governance, compounding social/financial inequality are all factors common to Australia – but none of our leaders dare to publicly identify or speak out against those fundamental issues.

    Instead they ignore macroeconomic reality put to them from so many quarters – they acquiesce to the popular neoliberal economic rhetoric of ‘budget repair’, promise to work towards ‘budget balance’ and reduce the ‘deficit’ – at a time when we need expansive confident further investment in the nation, not economic contraction.
    As if the austerity inherent in their less harsh conservative agenda will be less damaging or painful.
    The future they offer is no future – more of the same corporatism – but softer gentler implementation.

    We need radical change – democratic socialism is not a demon to be scrubbed from the political platform or banished from public discussion. It is about creating fairness and social/financial equality.

    Whitlam had foresight and the courage to deliver a vision to the populace for a better more inclusive future – Sanders is doing the same for Americans.
    More power to him.

  7. RosemaryJ36

    Peter Dutton is such an idiot! “People are free to come and go” pig’s arse! They are at greater risk from the locals if they go out than they are from the guards of they stay in, by all accounts. Someone should try to rape Dutton, and then stand near him all the time – a constant threat of more – and give him some idea of what it is like to live in constant fear!
    These people making decisions live in ivory towers. They have not experienced the real world and to condemn genuine refugees to their current hellish existence with no end in sight is disgusting, appalling, inhumane – words fail me!
    I have just turned 80 and and am normally very circumspect in my language but this current mob – in BOTH major parties – makes my blood boil!

  8. Paul Murchie

    Terry2 ( :

    “Daniel Andrews has offered to break the deadlock on the 267 asylum seekers – including 37 babies …”

    although it might look like a Compassionate Gesture from a C*tholic Premier, this offer a really a crafty attempt at Political Grandstanding on several levels: 1) in terms of State VIC-ALP/ NSW-LNP (faux) rivalry, it is One Upmanship – (Deutsche Bank Disciple) EVIL J*SUS Baird is playing the same Compassion Card ( i don’t know that Andrews has Canberran Political Caste Ambitions, but it’s safe to say that Baird is positioning itself for an eventual and inevitable move to the Big House; 2) Andrews is using its own Messiah Complex to play Political football with the lives of these 267 Asylum Seekers (in line with the Religios who have offered them Asylum in Churches, and against the VIC LNP who are still Politically TOXIC, but who continue to claim that they have a loyal MSM Subscribing Voter Base of DEPRAVED, DEMENTED ZOMBIES and NeoNazi Aspirants; and 3) Andrews is playing some cunning WEDGE POLITICS from the State Margins against the Federal LNP – the Abbort-Turdfull “MORTS-VIVANTS” LNP are committed to the EVIL, DEPRAVED, PSYCHO-SOCIO-PATHOLOGICAL DESTRUCTION of the lives of desparate, traumatised and extremely vulnerable People (as are the FED ALP) – they can’t go against their Broadspectrum Interests or against their own Right factions or against the MSM or against the dictates of the 1%, so no matter what they DON’T DO, they’ll still be looking WORSE by the day. the Shitty-Pillbeserk FED ALP have the added advantage, from this stunt, of having the attention turned away from their own role in these Biocidal Atrocities, at least, so they HOPE. whatever happens or doesn’t, it may be a few votes for Andrews, but it’s just another Pre-Election PLOY …

    the DUOPOLY MUST BE ABOLISHED !

    #TearUpTheTPP

    φ

  9. Terry2

    Paul

    What we’ve got to do – all of us – is just drop the politics, take up Andrews on his offer – which has been echoed by Baird – integrate these people into the Victorian community and over the next six months quietly do the same with the people on Nauru and Manus and then close these hell holes forever.

    By the way, the Victorian state elections are in November 2018 .

  10. Matthew Oborne

    How will the Libs gets votes if they aren’t torturing brown skinned people?

  11. Neil of Sydney

    How will the Libs gets votes if they aren’t torturing brown skinned people?

    This is what happened under Rudd/Gillard.

    https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/asylum-seekers-refugees-and-human-rights-snapshot-report/2-onshore-detention-and

    Between January 2011 and February 2013 there were 4,313 incidents of actual, threatened and attempted serious self-harm recorded in immigration detention facilities in Australia.[73] In the 2012–2013 financial year there were 846 incidents of self-harm across the immigration detention network.[74]

    Between 1 July 2010 and 20 June 2013, there were 12 deaths in immigration detention facilities. Coroners have found that six of those deaths were suicides.[75]

  12. David

    Paul I am intrigued you have such personal knowledge of the workings of Mr Andrews mind. A rare talent indeed, it must have brought you fame and fortune. Odd I don’t recall ever coming across your name previously. Ah such is the modesty of the brilliant ones.

  13. Backyard Bob

    What we’ve got to do – all of us – is just drop the politics, take up Andrews on his offer – which has been echoed by Baird – integrate these people into the Victorian community and over the next six months quietly do the same with the people on Nauru and Manus and then close these hell holes forever.

    None of this can happen without the permission and co-operation of the Federal Government, and since that isn’t going to happen, Paul’s belief that Andrews is grandstanding is pretty much on the money. Mind you, if it helps embarrass the Government on some level I reckon he can grandstand all he wants.

  14. Katrina Logan

    David
    I too was a bit shocked at Paul Murchies Nostradamus like effort .
    I wish he would use some of that intellect to turn of thee CAP LOCKS now and then, or maybe one of the “DEPRAVED, DEMENTED ZOMBIES and NeoNazi Aspirants;” bit him

  15. Backyard Bob

    It is always amusing when someone who can’t use a keyboard tells someone else how to use a keyboard. Internet fora are such a lark.

  16. Rossleigh

    Gee, Mr Neil, you’ve convinced me…
    Wow, baby, I’ll never vote for those Labor people ever again.
    Now, just try really, really hard to make a case for voting for those Liberal incompetents.
    No, you can’t tell me how bad The Greens are.
    Just try and defend the Liberals. Even the Turnbull Liberals given you’ve never been able to defend Tony.

    Go on….
    Make a case.


    Yeah thought not.

  17. Rossleigh

    Mister Neil?
    You there?

  18. Rossleigh

    Come on, I be showing you respect!

    Oh, you, like them climate deniers don’t want to talk about the science once one asks about the science.

  19. Rossleigh

    “Mistah Kurtz – He dead”

    Mr Neil, he not even know how is…

    He not know who he…

  20. Paul Murchie

    David ( :

    that’s really quite funny !

    i have a little hobby. it’s called KNOWN THINE ENEMY : MAPPING THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ZOMBIES ( and other MAMMONITIC PLANET DESTROYING POLITICAL CASTE NARCISSISTS ).

    anonymity is the destiny of all humans, don’t get hung up on Identitarian Ephemeralities !

    cheers ( :

  21. Paul Murchie

    Terry2 ( :

    “By the way, the Victorian state elections are in November 2018”

    yes and the next Fed “election” is between now and October, unless the Turdfull declares martial law or something serious happens to derail it.

    the duopolists are all starting to jump up and down about “we’ll take the Illegals ! doh ! we’ll take the Poor Refugees ! doh ! we’ll take the Asylum Seekers ! doh ! we’ll take the Babies ! Yes THAT should buy a few
    votes ! …”

    but unless we’re talking about Greens WHO HAVE NEVER SUPPORTED this CONCENTRATION CAMP TORTURE SHIT, what motivation do the Duopoly ZOMBIES have to all of a sudden try to make themselves LOOK all MORAL and Humanitarian ? why ! there must be a Federal Election in the wind !

    YAY VERILY ! LOOK AT US ! LET US POSTURE and PONCE ABOUT and REMEMBER the WORDS of OUR LORD, MAMMON ! no ! J*SUS ! BLA BLA BLA …

    i refuse to give them any credit or any positive attention for ANYTHING ! but, yes, i can see the GetUp! strategy ( :

    #TearUpTheTPP

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