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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