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How Right disunity emboldens the Left

We are witnessing a monumental disconnect among those who define themselves as of the Right.

A stark example is the discombobulation of members of the Conservative Party of the UK, who abandoned former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in droves, suggesting the British Right has lost all faith in its philosophy.

The same is true of the Liberal Party of Australia, which, to a casual observer, appears devoid of political relevance.

In a masterclass of brevity, former Prime Minister Paul Keating said, the point of the Morrison government was, it had no point. And as if to reinforce this fundamental truth, Financial Review national correspondent Michael Roddan described the paper’s latest opinion scribe, former Liberal Senator Amanda Stoker of writing, ‘an inglorious fallacy’.

As for the Australian Left, ably led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the Australian Labor Party, along with a slew of articulate, well-educated independents, occupies the former domain of the Liberal Party, the sensible centre. And big capital is keen to invest in a renewables bonanza, as well as a reworking of the National Broadband Network, a return to local manufacturing, and a mining boom in rare earth metals.

So where now for the Right?

Blind Freddy suggests more copying of the delusional mantra’s of the Republican Party of the United States of America, which seems hell bent on waging a second Civil War.

The enablers of rightist fallacies remain the usual suspects of Sky After Dark, the warrior scribes of News Corp, and a core of ABC journalists who seem to suffer an acute case of Stockholm Syndrome.

Professor Marci Shore, a specialist in European cultural and intellectual history at Yale University, believes the terms Left and Right gained the prominence we now understand during the interwar years of the 20th Century. ‘A time of a polarising political spectrum: the Right became more radical; the Left became more radical; [while] the liberal centre ‘melted into air’ (to use Marx’s phrase).’

Professor Shore’s assessment is an accurate description of contemporary Australian politics.

But can this state of affairs last, especially in a party notorious for acts of self-implosion?

I think the answer is yes, providing Albanese remains in the top job.

Albo first eyed the top job when he backed Rudd in the election of 2013, when Kevin saved some of the furniture. After the seminal ALP Cabinet Meeting held in the Balmain Town Hall and in the dark year that followed, Albo enlisted former Senator John Faulkner to analyse the catastrophic infighting which resulted in the debacle of the Rudd, Gillard, Rudd years.

Then, following the 2019 election loss, Albo pipped Bill Shorten for the top job. And in the bitter three years which ensued, it became obvious to ALP rank and file, and the party’s state and national executives, that unity is paramount, if a party of the left is to become a party of Government.

After a decade of mean-spirited governance which delivered almost nothing of value to the Commonwealth, the Australian electorate yearned for stability, and voted for what Scott Morrison aptly described as ‘the “most left-wing leaning” Labor leader since Gough Whitlam.’

In defining how the Right now emboldens the Left, I leave the last words to Malcolm Turnbull, who said, ‘Political disunity is death’.

Henry Johnston is an author based in the Blue Mountains. His latest book, The Last Voyage of Aratus is on sale here.

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  1. Terence Mills

    It is quite revealing that, at a time when the UK economy is in deep trouble, the two prominent Conservative aspirants to the role of prime minister (Sunik and Truss) find it appropriate to be dangling tax cuts in front of the British punters.

    The last thing the UK economy needs right now is to be cutting taxes which inevitably leads to drastically cutting spending and providing fewer services.

    It seems that those on the Right have nothing to offer the electorate beyond cutting taxes. We have seen how Morrison’s tax cuts, some yet to take effect in 2024, have severely constrained the new Labor government in what they can do to rebuild the economy and pay down debt.

  2. Phil Pryor

    Conservative politicians use tax cuts as fundamental policy, to reward members, supporters, donors, insiders, all the while making life for ordinary punters and plantation dwellers much harder. Cuts to amenities, services, choices, basics, all follow. Sullen, angry, resentful we may be, but we are coerced, intimidated, threatened by tax cuts, one of the greatest swindles and lying superstitions of political economy. I went to school with a sixpence for the day, with a tram or bus ride for a penny, comics threepence, as were salad rolls. A child could get a penny’s worth of hot chips, a penny icecream. Go to you supermarket now, 2022, with a five cent coin and ask for something, anything. The huge inflation of money over the last half century is built in to economics plotting. The USA alone spends about 110% of its income per annum, to no actual harm, except to victims of low wages, poor conditions, tax cuts…Speculators, fleecers, media maggots, advertising vermin, money manipulators, arms dealers, (and grog, drugs, gambling) these all do well. Taxes themselves are “optional”. U K people, wake up to these smiling thieves. Find policies to suit all people fairly, get better representatives, vote for decent living conditions, CHANGE.

  3. Andrew Smith

    There is a point to just gaining and clinging onto power while doing nothing proactive on legislation for the nation, creating a stasis in society.

    The LNP coalition became, from Howard years, a delivery system for not just local industry bodies, but imported fossil fueled radical right libertarian and nativist agitprop via Koch Network think tanks aka IPA/CIS (cut budgets, services, taxes & govt.), Tanton Network dog whistling i.e. positing immigration restrictions &/or population control as environmental measures; while deflecting from fossil fuels, carbon emissions and robust regulation.

    The spin, PR, comms, dog whistling, ‘gotchas’ and ‘wedging’ were and still are conducted (mostly) by NewsCorp, 7 and 9 with their oligopoly control over media for above median age i.e. print, tv and radio; in return for dilution of media laws and seemingly permanent consolidation of their business model (till their socialist rattling of the can, is ignored, when financially things go pear shaped).

  4. totaram

    Terence: “..have severely constrained the new Labor government in what they can do to rebuild the economy and pay down debt.”

    Only if you still believe that they have to “pay down debt”. Please understand, that if the economy grows nicely, there is no need to “pay down debt”. Further, that can only be done if the private sector is agreeable to increasing its debt, unless there is a substantial trade surplus. This is the simple consequence of the financial sectoral balance identity (which even some of the best “economists” seem to be unable to grasp)

  5. Terence Mills


    I assume you are talking MMT which I confess completely eludes me.

    I do, however understand that we have borrowed close to a trillion dollars during the previous Morrison/Joyce vaudeville act and I note from a recent article in the SMH that :

    The annual interest bill on total government debt, which this week [May 6 2022] increased to $886.5 billion, is forecast to reach $26 billion in 2025-26.

    We could do a lot with $26 Billion !!

  6. wam

    I read and re-read, Henry, why didn’t I find any reference to the pathetic six years of little billy and torpid tanya?
    The caucus ignored the grassroots and a short look at Albo and his team in 22 has exposed their error as billy not only never got near his Beaconsfield effort but also.
    The libs cunningly, dumped their head who took the heat with him.
    Since the lying rodent, only the hand clapper kept his sycophants together for a second election.
    A mistake to rely on another miracle. The bandit had learnt a new scam.

  7. B Sullivan

    “the sensible centre”

    There is no such thing.

    In parliament it comes down to two choices. Yes if you think it’s right, no if you think it is wrong. There is no sensible centre between right and wrong. ‘It’s a little bit wrong’ or it’s not as right as it should be’ is not a sensible direction to be pursuing.

    Those who follow a central path because they think it is more sensible than going the right way instead of the wrong way are fooling themselves into deliberately choosing to go the wrong way. Where’s the sense in that?

    The Left say we should close the gap. The Right say we should leave it open. The Sensible Centre say we should half close it. The Sensible Centre says, “Not as good is a good compromise between no good and good enough for purpose.” The fact that not as good is not good enough for purpose does not appear to bother them.

  8. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Though it worries me when I see wages failing to keep up with inflation ; at the same time as interest rates are going up ; but inflation is further fueled by tax cuts for the rich. Better to stop the tax cuts ; and hold some of the extra revenue back to take the heat out of the economy ; without forcing low wage and average wage workers to pay for it through inflation and relatively lower wages.

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