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Now the blame game

By Ad astra    

Do you, like me, bristle as you hear the political class playing the blame game?

Seldom have we been so inundated with such a plethora of reports, inquiries, Royal Commissions and sundry investigations into past blunders. The Ruby Princess episode springs to mind, but there are many others. They all have something in common. They address the same question: ‘What happened?’ The oft-repeated rationale for the question is that we need to know this so that we can avoid it happening again. That is nonsense. What has happened is usually patently obvious to anyone reading the report of the event, and how to avoid a recurrence equally obvious. While how to avoid a repetition sounds a reasonable aim, the actual motivation is to apportion blame.

The political class revels in the blame game. It is another form of adversarial behaviour masquerading as legitimate discourse. We wrote about this in Is adversarial behaviour damaging our democracy?

As soon as a report is released, politicians do not ask how ‘How did we mess up so badly’. Instead, they first seek to find someone or some body to blame. They usually begin by asserting: ‘It wasn’t us’. Political opponents are then targeted with vigour. Even-handedness in apportioning blame is not an option. Scoring political points and damaging the reputation of opponents, is all that counts.

We are surprised when a politician concedes an error; we expect that such a concession will be accompanied by ‘Our opponents did the same’. When a minister makes a blunder, no matter how monumental, colleagues spring to his defence. We saw this recently when minister Colbeck showed his ineptitude so starkly. Yet he was defended by his colleagues and his spineless ‘leader’ did not sack him, as he should have.

I won’t burden you with a long recital of examples of the blame game. Just think of Donald Trump.

When did you ever hear him accept blame for anything?

When challenged with America’s surging unemployment, he insists that, rather than being to blame, he is tackling it with outstanding success. When challenged with America’s faltering economy, he not only refuses to accept blame, but asserts that it is booming as never before due to his superior management.

When asked about the wild spread of COVID-19, he insists he’s not to blame, refuses to accept that his unpreparedness is responsible and even disputes the extent of the epidemic in the US, and the hundreds of thousands of deaths that have already occurred. Who will forget the interview he had with aspiring journalist Jonathan Swan, who challenged him so stylishly with a set of uncomfortable facts that laid the blame at his feet. He was not about to accept Swan’s assertions; he had alternative facts of his own, which he lamely offered on pieces of paper. When Swan retorted: ‘You can’t do that’, Trump looked astonished. In his world, he can do or assert whatever he likes.

In our own country the blame game is in full swing. Who is to blame from the spread of the virus in Victoria? Dan Andrews is the prime target of his opponents, but the ‘bungled’ hotel security arrangements comes a close second; again Chairman Dan the culprit. Opposition leader O’Brien has his daily whinge about Andrews’ ‘bungles’, laying the blame heavily on the Premier for anything that is not going well.

Do politicians realise how much voters despise them when they play the blame game? They seem oblivious to the disdain they attract, as they do in so many other instances. They live in their Canberra bubble disconnected from the real world outside. They are elected to understand the issues that affect us and the problems that beset us, yet how often do they offer us understanding, comfort, reassurance and advice. They let us down collectively, and often individually as well.

When politicians play the blame game, they demean themselves. Yet they seem oblivious to the harm they do to the political class, and the disdain they evoke. Will they ever wake up? I doubt it.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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20 comments

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  1. New England Cocky

    Uhm … a recen tRadioNational programme interviewer asked whether RAbbott, Turdball or Scummo Sacked from Marketing was a worse Prim Monster that Billy MacMahon, the recent long standing holder of the title. The correct answer to the question is ”Choose any one of the three”.

    Notice that no Labor/ALP Prime Ministers were included.

    Bit like the political myth that the LIarbrals are the best financial managers for Australia … another lie.

  2. Tiger

    I was extremely disappointed in this Sunday’s Insiders not one mention of the main political subject of the week that is the lack of aged care. This would have shown that the Federal liberals are responsible
    for the disastrous short comings in this field. Barry Cassidy was impartial when he was host both castigating and praising both sides of politics, but David Speers an ex Sky news man leans to the right
    Iam afraid he has lost a once avid viewer.

  3. Matters Not

    Perhaps truth like beauty is in the eye of the beholder? In other words – it’s subjective and not objective but that’s not most people want to believe because they like certainty. Just read this article if you crave evidence. It’s here in spades.

  4. Jack Cade

    Morrison’s news piece today was more or less saying ‘Victoria is Andrews’ baby and nothing to do with me.’

  5. Kathryn

    Daniel Andrews is doing the RIGHT thing in enforcing isolation and wearing masks!
    If you want to know how NOT to handle the Covid-19 crisis, just have a look how short-sighted, right-wing extremists are mismanaging the pandemic in conservative, right-wing havens like America and Brazil – two countries that have the highest number of people suffering – and dying – from Covid-19 complications! To date, America has more than 6.29 MILLION suffering from Covid and nearly 190,000 Covid-19 related deaths on their hands and so many people there are STILL refusing to isolate and wear masks! I guess you just can’t stop stupid. These are countries that – like the pathetic Trump-admirer, Sloth MorriScam – are totally against the wearing of masks. Morrison never misses an opportunity to denigrate Andrews’ short-term shut down and isolation for no other reason than it upsets the flow of money and profits pouring into the pockets of the greedy, capitalist cronies of the profit-obsessed Lieberals! Don’t worry about endangering the lives of the rest of us – as long as THEIR wealthy, self-absorbed mates in the Top 1% make a profit (at our expense) then everything is fine and dandy, eh?

    If the LNP want to find someone to BLAME, they need look no further than the gormless NSW LNP State government (whom they hold up as the dubious high performing “STANDARD” ) – yep, that’s the Berejiklian government who allowed the RUBY PRINCESS to sail into Sydney Harbour and permitted that Ship to offload a heap of passengers suffering from Covid-19 BEFORE they had a chance to look at the final results of the Covid-19 Tests given to passengers before the Ship docked! Yep, the very same government who allowed this Petri Dish of Covid-19 sufferers loose onto the Sydney streets to spread the pandemic near and far throughout the country!

    Prior to that, we had the ineffective, do-nothing Sloth Morrison sitting on his hands (as usual) doing ZIP whilst medical experts gave him warning after warning that Covid-19 was working its way around the world and heading for our shores!

    Then we had Morrison – AGAIN – trying, and failing, to play the BLAME GAME on the ALP for the appalling state of Aged Care and its undeniable involvement in the catastrophic rise of Covid-19 within our aged care system. Well! Well! Clearly MorriScam forgot that it was his malignant hero, JOHN HOWARD, who – years beforehand – decided to sell off and PRIVATISE government-owned Aged Care facilities – sold off to greedy, profiteering, multi-millionaire corporate predators who place PROFIT well ahead of compassionate, effective care of our aged citizens. Rich, smug, self-serving aged care owners like the notorious multimillionaire owners of the COVID-19 ridden Epping Gardens, owned by multimillionaire aged-care moguls Tony Antonopoulos and Peter Arvanitis, who poured millions into their pockets whilst underpaying desperate, poorly trained staff! If there was EVER a case AGAINST privatisation and the sale of OUR taxpayer-owned facilities, this must be on top of the list!

    The ONLY thing the lying, conniving, scheming, oily Marketeer, Sloth MorriScam, is good at is applying an irritating smirk whenever cornered with a hard question and playing the BLAME GAME which has reached a level that is beginning to nauseate the overwhelming majority of intelligent Australians who can see through Morrison who is about as transparent as a sheet of glass! Morrison couldn’t tell the truth if he had a gun to his head. Nor can Morrison – or any of the useless, self-obsessed, corrupt members of his dreadful cabinet – ever, not once, face any level of responsibility for their catastrophic mismanagement and the fact that they actually DOUBLED OUR NATIONAL DEFICIT long before Covid-19 became a problem for the rest of us or something that “Daniel Andrews” became the LNP’s Whipping Boy!

  6. Phil Pryor

    Morrison, a large piece of filth and fantasy driven bowel fodder, is titular head of a conservative rabble of greed, selfishness, irresponsibility and nothing good in governing. His appallingly ignorant ministry is virtually illiterate, benighted, undereducated, inadequate.., they cannot function decently. Greed and robbery and domineering has led to insecurity, poor conditions, wage theft, lower than fair returns , so that semi slave behaviour caused by conservative origins and actions has caused much of this trouble, especially in old age homes under federal inadequate control. When this superstition drenched, ego inflated, bowelbrained bastard goes, soon one hopes, we must fight for change, better, a fair go. But, the yanko wanko warty media maggot in chief knows one thing only, fuhrer freedom to do what he effing well likes. Plantation life is poor, bonuses have been underpinned, the drip to needy citizens is feeble, the greed and cornering and hoarding of the self appointed royalty of robbing, rorting and ripoffs is surging on…

  7. Matters Not

    Andrews may be in the business of pursuing the right course of action but politics being what it is – intention is soon forgotten when the outcome becomes apparent. Then the right exits centre stage to be replaced by the good or the bad. in the minds of the voters. And Andrews knows that it’s outcomes that wins or loses elections,.

  8. Jack Cade

    I am still of the view that this all stems from the Ruby Princess. And Roger of Ockham said that in a range of possibilities the most obvious conclusion is the right one. Call me a conspiracist if you wish, but I believe that somebody with clout in the federal Coalition had a mate, on that benighted ship, who was anxious to get home. It was one of two, and maybe even both. And whoever it was caused the dissemination of the virus all over Australia. That’s my belief and nothing will convince me otherwise, enquiry or no enquiry. As has often been said, you don’t commission an enquiry unless you know what it’s conclusion will be. This government has the conclusions first and tells the enquiry what it’s going to find. It has done it many times,
    QED.

  9. Kerri

    I find Frydenberg the most offensive!
    His blatant attacks on Dan Andrews to distract from his own financial ineptitude.
    As for Michael O’Brien, even my hubby, who votes LNP, cannot stand the broken record that is the state opposition leader.

  10. RosemaryJ36

    Barrie Cassidy was, like Kerry O’Brien is now, more free to speak out against the government. Now it puts the ABC at risk of further financial cuts. I am a strong supporter of the ABC and reckon they are quietly fighting the good fight to remain balanced.

  11. New England Cocky

    @Jack Cade: I think you may be correct because when the Ruby Princess story first broke there was a quickly removed news item on ABC Radio alleging that disembarking was rushed because some Hillsong members wanted to get home before lunch.

    Then you had the ”complete cooperation” of Scummo preventing Federal officers giving evidence to the NSW Inquiry into the Ruby Princess.

  12. RomeoCharlie29

    Saw both Andrews and Scummo on the news/7.30 last night and absolutely know which of the two I believe. Though I live in the safest place in the world, I support what Andrews is doing. The hotel security bungle, like Labor’s so-called pink bats issue, was a case of private companies behaving badly. You can say what you like about who put the system in place, but if the selected companies had done the right thing it would certainly not have been as bad. As for Friedanegg, I thought his attempts to blacken Andrews verged on the hysterical. I look forward to the day when Scummo has to face the music for his many misdemeanours, though not holding my breath. BTW, I know Albanese and Labor are copping a lot of flak for not going in harder, but then I look at the Vic Oppn leader, and see an example of futility.

  13. Alc

    Seen them all since Menzies never ever thought in my lifetime I would see such a succession of ineptitude headed by Abbott, Turnbull and now Morrison. The fact that the likes of Taylor, the Aged Care goose, Cormann amongst many others hold on to their jobs, is surely an indication; of the lack of both perception and guts in the leadership. How many times have we heard “ we are putting measures in place to ensure this never happens again” before exactly the same scenario inevitably occurs once more. Apart from Smirkos obvious lack of anything resembling authority, anyone who admits to having that snake oil salesman Brian Houston as your mentor has got serious internal problems. The time is ripe for a strong Labor leader to break through, but I doubt we have one at the moment.

  14. ajogrady

    The rabid and rancid rights privatisation of the aged care sector is proving to be what many who opposed it would be. That is it is a vehicle for the merchants of death and the mercenary hyenas of capatalism to operate unhindered whilst allowing unforgivable suffering and misery to be performed in the guise of care for far to many elderly Australians that goes unpunished in this Neo Con world of profit before people. Add to this the unedyfing vulgarity of the coalition between the MSM and the L/NP which has now morphed into a fascist entity that is destroying Australians and their living standards rapidly. Democracy in Australia is now a distant memory if it really ever existed.
    Scotty from marketing,the penticostalot Pinocchio, with his conga line of corrupt theives and con artists masquerading as a government are doing what they do best, deceiving and destroying gullible Australians lives and living standards while they funnel taxpayers monies into the pockets of L/NP donors who mostly do not pay taxes. Corruption 101. All with the MSM’s blessing and co- operation. The insanity of Australians voting for the party that does not respect them and worst of all does not represent them proves that Australia has become a bona fide lunatic asylum run by the inmates.

  15. Michael Taylor

    I’m getting rather annoyed at people such as Alan Jones, Trump, and Jeff Kennet who are arguing that most of the COVID-19 deaths are due to existing conditions. Trump, for example, is trying to tell us that there have been only 9,000 COVID-19 deaths in the USA (the actual figure is around 190,000).

    By their reckoning, if an unfortunate person riddled with cancer is given a week to live and the next day gets hit by a bus, the death should be recorded as cancer.

    They are trying to fool us.

  16. wam

    Now you are talking MN
    Truth is what your believed facts tell you and you are not lying if your aim is that truth.
    Ad Astra has concocted a truth but it is usual the politician’s first look at a report is to find anything that agrees with their or the party truth because it is dangerous to come between a pollie and a chance to brag.
    .The truth that amazes me is how the member for manila is supported but again I assume that booby had some influence in 10000 labor shitfing to phon?
    ps
    Michael, or themselves???

  17. corvusboreus

    RomeoCharlie29,
    Agree.
    Both the breaches of biosecurity protocols by private security contractors in Melbourne and the pink batts saga were illustrations of the dangers of placing public responsibility and/or channelling government funds into private profit enterprises without providing adequate oversight.
    The deaths that occurred during the insulation subsidy scheme were especially clear cases demonstrating the necessity to correspondently expand safety rules and oversight when drastically expanding potentially hazardous industries, an argument for un-deregulation, if you will.
    Unfortunately, this was not clearly pointed out so no real lessons were learned.
    Instead we got Tony’s bonfire of red and green tape.

  18. DrakeN

    Michael T, their mythical Jesus had the words: “…for the truth is not in them.”
    If those hypocrites were what they claim to be they would never issue such contarian untruths; which they do for some misguided sense of political purpose.
    That the whole of the political spectrum is fractured over this pandemic and how to deal with it is truly evidence that we live in a failed system controlled by sociopaths and even psychopaths.
    Garry Linnell in The New Daily hits the nail beautifully with this:
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2020/09/09/garry-linnell-profits-over-people/
    History has much to tell us if we care to recall.

  19. Maxwell Denehy

    We now have Terry mc rann/(herald sun rag.)neil Mitchell 3aw.attacking Dan Andrew’s….both lnp red necks…..i,ve yet to hear an intelligent remark from anyone other than Dan Andrew’s about a way through this covid issue..give credit where it’s due.. he fronts up dosent get flustered answers coherently.dosently blame everyone else (when he could) he gets 9/10 from me.the blokes got faults but he shits all over his counterparts

  20. Jack Cade

    Anything recommended by any Murdoch serf should, because of its very origin, be assumed to be bad for ordinary people.
    I have only a handful (5) of friends in Victoria, including family, and, from what they tell me, most Victorians are annoyed at the lockdowhs but support them because they know what the potential is. And Morrison’s state of NSW exported the virus to the rest of Australia anyway.
    Someone should fashion a model of the Ruby Princess for presentation to Scummo with the caption ‘I DIDN’T STOP THIS BOAT, I UNLEASHED IT.’

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