Pedantry and selfishness
For some of my readers I will undoubtedly come across as a snob, because I grew up in the UK at a time when how you spoke, dressed and presented yourself was important – particularly if you were looking for a job.
England is, traditionally, much more class conscious than Australia, and, in my youth, in order to get a white-collar job required your spoken and written English to be impeccably correct.
Even to get a job in the BBC, it was once also necessary to have a Southern Counties accent, but fortunately that is no longer true.
Marrying in 1931, my mother had to resign from a job as Personal Private Secretary to a very senior Civil Servant, for which she had required high level skills in shorthand and typing – from dictation.
So, long before we had school lessons in English Grammar, my mother had instilled into my siblings and me most of the finer points of spoken and written English (as soon as we could write, we had to pen, on Boxing Day, ‘thank you for my Christmas present’ letters to every relative, with spelling and grammar up to standard!) – and a few other subtleties as well, which are too often overlooked.
I still wince when I hear someone say something like “Me and John went out to dinner last night.”
I realise that saying ‘I and John went out to dinner last night” sounds both clumsy and just plain wrong, yet if she had gone alone, she would have said “I went out . . .” and sounded perfectly correct.
Now I am not trying to give a pedant’s grammar lesson, but pointing out a far more important point in my upbringing.
Always put other people first.
“John and I went out to dinner where we were joined by friends who gave John and me an anniversary present” embodies correct grammar – plus a modest degree of self-effacement.
But when it comes to politics – self-effacement flies out the window, and what is good for the politician in government is much more important than what is good for those governed.
Again, in England, the monarch was also head of the Church of England, Catholics were kept in the background and lip-service was paid to the idea that the United Kingdom was a Christian nation, which tolerated all other religions.
(Much may have changed, but I have only visited the UK on holiday twice in the last 50 years.)
And being Christian embodied the idea that we have a duty to help others and, when possible, put their needs and interests before our own.
Hard work, in truth, and failure to meet those obligations was not uncommon – but nowadays it seems to be completely forgotten!
The most important duty of any modern politician, it seems, is to himself and his party – in ensuring re-election and a cushy retirement.
I have watched Morrison’s performance this year with dismay and disbelief.
Having used social distancing as an excuse, he has manufactured a situation which has enabled him to be transformed into a petty dictator.
He has cut himself off from the people he is supposed to support – the electors and their families – and curried favour with industry giants – no doubt in the hope that he will reap the benefits once he decides to leave politics.
He clearly – like many others in government – does not understand the meaning of a ‘conflict of interest’.
I personally believe that without the National Cabinet, we would now be in a much worse mess than we are.
Not only in terms of physical health, but also on financial grounds, because the Coalition’s continuing criticism of Labor’s hand-outs and policies in the GFC would not have allowed Morrison to follow a similar path unless forced to by the Premiers.
My personal opinion is that now is the perfect time to introduce a Universal Basic Income (UBI) and adjust the tax system so that the payment is taken away from those whose incomes have not been drastically affected.
Easily done, much more equitable than the current plethora of welfare payments, and it allows for the fact that the financial crisis will not be over in a matter of weeks!
But I have spent the past 7 or 8 months talking to people, face-to-face and through social media, about Global Warming, which, for most of them, is at least as great a crisis as is COVID-19, and they almost unanimously want to phase out of fossil fuels into renewable sources of energy NOW – not after months and years of pouring more fossil fuel emissions into the atmosphere, thereby ensuring more and greater crises from extreme weather events.
Current discussions are already indicating that bush fire containment is not exclusively an issue for the states.
State borders are not respected by fire, and we need a national system which recognises that.
Planning now should be concentrated on dealing with the known consequences of fire, flood and drought while also developing every available weapon to ensure that power moves completely away from short term and long term dependence on fossil fuels.
Our politicians can, to our knowledge, work their butts off to ensure they pour money into the electorates which support them and to ingratiate themselves with business and industry which supports their party.
PLEASE PUT THE NEEDS OF THE ELECTORATES ABOVE YOUR OWN. POURING MONEY INTO YOUR FAVOURED ELECTORATES DOES NOT BENEFIT THE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE, AND THE RIDICULOUS IDEA OF USING GAS TO TRANSITION INTO RENEWABLES HAS TO BE KNOCKED ON THE HEAD HERE AND NOW.
I don’t apologise for shouting because people seem to have been distracted and deafened by misleading propaganda from the fossil fuel lobby.
We elect governments to satisfy OUR needs – we are not there for THEIR convenience or as a stepping stone to a bigger and better career!!
And before I am accused of bias – I think the Opposition has made a pitiable attempt to keep the government honest.
Forget about policy for the next election – you need to start convincing people NOW that you can offer anything worth voting for!
I end as always – this is my 2020 New Year Resolution:
“I will do everything in my power to enable Australia to be restored to responsible government.”
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The outstanding example of a politician who puts others first is Dan Andrews!
When did he last have a holiday, Mr Morrison?
I think it could be correctly stated that the last people to know the best use of the English language are the English themselves….Grammar is a deluded concept that may have use in the pedestrian realms of academic or administrative communication, but in the genre where it is best displayed and most proficiently utilised..; that of the world of literature..there are no distinct rules of grammar..the language is plasticine..to be twisted and squeezed..to be stretched and moulded, brute-forced even into the shape and dimension that the user desires…and if..like the Irishman James Joyce, or the American Gertrude Stein…or even the Englishers own bard Shakespeare..there needs be a complete ripping apart and reconstructing the entire musicology of the language…then so be it…after all, with so many stolen phrases and borrowed words from any and every other language dead or alive in the world, “English” really belongs to nobody save those who use it!
So…when it comes to the written word, “bruise it or lose it!”
Eloquent and measured as usual Rosemary.
For me almost as bad is over correction by the way, as in eg “she saw he and I”! Awful, hear it often.
But more to the point , the greed and selfishness reminds me of the Roman Empire. To vote for the party that appeals to greed, that engages in an auction as the ACT is doing right now, as in we will give you this pot of money or that if you vote for us, is debasing and contemptuous as well as contemptible.
Totally agree with the UBI. Could have saved the country so much money in the long run.
For mine the most unforgivable aspect of Scottyfrommarketing is his complete and total arrogance.
He has zero humility. Zero compassion (unless it is politically beneficial) and zero understanding of both science and people.
My only hope is that in his naked power plays during the Pandemic he has shown the Queenslanders the mistake they made in voting for him. He vilifies 2 of the nation’s most popular premiers in the most transparent manner and somehow expects his marketing prowess will dig him out of the Grand Canyon he is rapidly building for himself.
Did you see the video of him explaining why kids shouldn’t watch Tik Tok?
It was patronising, pedantic and sounded like Sammy J’s Playground Politics!
Trump has taken a large swathe of the US for fools and Morrison has done the same here with, of course, help from Uncle Rupert.
How can Morrison or any of his ministers or any Labor ministers or the media or a majority of voters ever turn these events completely around to fulfill the conditions listed in the article above when we are all operating within a limited framework artificially constructed by a ruling middle-class.. a framework insulated against destruction by artificial laws and a judicary constructed specifically to protect the properties of the ruling middle-class and enforced by a policing authority managed by that same class…a system that has been manufactured since the bourgeois took political control from the aristocracy.
History can trace the intentions of the wealthy merchant class right back to the “Maecenas Factor” in Cassius Dio..the industrial revolution destroyed the skills and craft base of the peasantry and led to the surge of bonded labour to the factories and cities which in turn . . . well..we know the rest..and now here we are with a complete parliament that serves soley the ruling middle-classes…NOT the workers, NOT the small producers, but only the “middle-men”…
So ask not if you are of the working class for whom the polls favour, it favours NOT thee…
Joseph Carli – I would love to know what was responsible for your deep concern over class warfare. I see the world’s problems as stemming from greed – for the already wealthy to have more and from many of the rest “I want what he’s got!”
The ruling class has money and power while clarity and accuracy of expression has its importance in scientific reporting rather than literature.
I do not know how much time you have spent in the UK, but I spent more than a third of my anticipated lifetime growing up there. The population was as diverse as is Australia, even then, as a result of the now diminished British Empire.
Worship of possessions is replacing religion but neither is of any value in a world destroyed by greed and inaction on global warming.
Got some good news last night.
The intended NPWS contracts and sub-contracts for this fiscal year’s environmental works have been shelved or suspended as part of emergency cost-cutting measure (apparently a bunch of nashoes are going to get jobseeker opportunities as well) .
What is left in their coffers is to be reserved for dozing out firetrails
This relieves me from the onerous burden of about half the expected workload for the next ten months.
More time to think, less temptation to consume.
Rosemary…you propose a query to me in your first sentence and answer it in your second…rather than get embroiled in a raking over old coals, I wrote a piece on this site back in May 2017..that answers those things…read the comments and you will see also how language has been “weaponised” by the ruling political/ethnicity group to control those “outside the network” of class / ethnic “suitability”.
V.I.Lenin…Letter to the British Workers…
“. . . It is not surprising, therefore, that I desired to speak to the delegates of the British workers exclusively as delegates of the workers, not as a representative of the government of Soviet Russia, but simply as a Communist.
I was not surprised to find that several members of your delegation hold a standpoint, not of the working class but of the bourgeoisie, of the exploiting class: in all capitalist countries the imperialist war fully revealed an old ulcer, namely, the desertion of the majority of the workers’ parliamentary and trade union leaders to the side of the bourgeoisie. On the false pretext of “defence of country” they were actually defending the predatory interests of either of the two groups of robbers of the entire world—the Anglo-American-French group, or the German group; they entered into an alliance with the bourgeoisie, against the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat; they covered up this treachery with sentimental petty-bourgeois reformist and pacifist phrases about peaceful evolution, constitutional methods, democracy, etc. This is what happened in all countries; it is not surprising that in Britain this state of affairs has also been reflected in the composition of your delegation.”
‘Gee Corvus, that’s awful news about the National Parks budget being completely gutted.’
Good luck Rosemary, you are swimming against a flood tide of apathetic arseholes who don’t re ally give half an honest phuq about the state of our environment.
National Parks and Wildlife manage a bout 4% of Australia’s land area.
One of their main briefs is to conserve the health and diversity of endemic populations of native flora and fauna in ecosystems under their management.
The budget cuts I mentioned mean that general admin and activities like fire trail maintenance and hazard reduction tasks are pretty much the only bits within NPWS that will still be functionally operating beyond shopfront necessity.
Bar a few projects insulated by special scheme funding, most of the plant and critter oriented work is shutting down till notice.
In practical terms, this means that many sites currently under treatment will revert to ‘novel ecosystems’ (aka “feral weed pits”) and that some lifeforms will pass into extinction un-noticed.
Anyway, back to the footy…