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Politics. What is it good for?

I don’t know if there are people out there as fed up as I am with this interminable election campaign, with its interminable commentators making interminable commentary and engaging in interminable speculation in between interminable gotcha moments, and what in the name of all that is good and great and human, is the bloody point of it all?

Politics, the art or science of government, has become merely the art or science of winning and holding government, as is irrefutably evidenced by the last two leaders of this country whose overweening ambition was to become Prime Minister, without any idea of what to actually do once that personal ambition was achieved. I’m not partisan: there’s a persuasive argument to include Kevin Rudd in that narcissistic leader pool as well.

Caretaker Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently plumbed new depths of sog with his sepia video of himself as an infant astride the shoulders of his single dad, as if to reassure voters that loving his dad, who left him a property portfolio worth some $2 million, (he probably would have loved him even if he hadn’t: I’m not the one drawing false equivalences here) somehow qualifies him to lead the country.

This humongous non sequitur makes me question, yet again, Turnbull’s much-flaunted promise to treat the punters with respect as a means of distinguishing himself from his predecessor, that lunatic (to quote Turnbull’s father-in-law and former attorney-general Tom Hughes, even though the old man took it back last week) Tony Abbott. It is difficult to take back having described someone as a lunatic, especially when the original comment rings with far more truth than does the retraction.

Then on Friday morning I looked at Twitter only to find a photo of Pauline Hanson or her doppelgänger peeing into a cup at the football. Well, I thought, the day can only improve but I was wrong because election.

Hanson is not welcome in the parliament, thundered Turnbull, which is an astoundingly stupid comment because if she’s elected she’s in the parliament: this is a liberal democracy and politicians can’t refuse entry to other elected representatives you’d think Turnbull of all people would know that and apart from anything else, he pissed off innumerable Hanson supporters who took the comment personally, as of course anyone would at the prospect of their elected representative being ostracised in a parliament where everyone is meant to be equally representing everyone outside of it.

Hanson retaliated by observing Turnbull to be arrogant and I, for one, find myself agreeing with her on this if nothing else. I don’t agree with her (or her doppelgänger) crouching on their haunches to pee into a cup in a football stadium: women can actually pee standing up (with or without assistance, see image above) and in such a situation it might be more seemly to do just that. Or there’s always bush wees, as we’ve taught the young ones in our family bush wees are good, until we realised they thought we meant peeing in any bushes anywhere anytime rather than peeing in the forest, but anyway.

It signals the end days of a society, said Aristotle or Plato, I can’t remember which and am in such a state of election-induced lethargy I can’t be arsed using my Google finger, when tolerance and apathy become the dominant public sentiments. Are we there yet?

There is so much one can hardly bear to see and hear: the unending violence against women, the cavalier destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, the determination to mine the country into eternity, the neglect of and disinterest in our most vulnerable citizens, the wicked scapegoating of waterborne asylum seekers, the increasing privilege and entitlement of the haves: how can my one vote possibly have any real effect on any of these sites of heartbreak?

As Bob Dylan observed, the only thing I know how to do is to keep on keeping on, a line I have on many occasions found useful and here we are again. Our politicians are a sorry-arsed lot on the whole, at least the ones who claw their way to the top. We have not yet created a Trump, but I don’t doubt it’s within our capabilities and neither does Jonathan Green in this gloomy piece.

But all is not lost. I can see some use for that Shewee thing, in the kayak, yes definitely. I don’t attend footy matches but there are traffic holdups on the Pacific Highway when you’ve forgotten to pee before you left home.

It doesn’t seem at all remarkable that a post on the usefulness or otherwise of politics should end up with commentary on urination, so I might just leave things here, wish you all well for the next few weeks of shameless propaganda, and take myself back to the couch to continue my binge re-watch of Mad Men. Ah, they knew how to treat women back then. No Shewee for you, sweetheart.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.


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  1. michaelattoowoomba

    AS your ref,to Dylan=Keep on keeping on,ditto.And because I am getting bereft of worthy comment.

    at least a maybe smile=‘third-time-lucky’-first-up-from/7347466….M.F.

  2. mark delmege

    Mad Men is good.
    I’m beginning to understand the psychology of a long election campaign and you can bet they did too.
    And we can start to ponder who will look best in a clown suit – post election.

  3. Athena

    It’s not just the election campaign that is so tiring. It’s having to watch our politicians like a hawk all the damned time because they’re so hellbent on ruining the country for their own personal benefit. It’s having to carefully evaluate everything they say to see through their spin, hidden agendas and compulsive lies, and I include the MSM in that evaluation. It’s having to look around for the reasons why we’re being distracted with complete nonsense. And it’s wondering why the majority of Australians aren’t interested in telling them that we want something better.

  4. Terry2

    Sussan Ley to the rescue : after a community dialogue and 40,000 responses on problems with private health insurance :

    The problem has been defined as ‘you are buying the wrong policy’ and the solution is to brand private health insurance products with Gold, Silver and Bronze pointers respectively, ‘useless’, ‘totally useless’ and ‘crap’.

    Oddly, the single biggest complaint about private health insurance : the ubiquitous ‘Gap’ is not mentioned at all.

    Go figure !

  5. kasch2014

    Yes, you are so right in your view on politics. Have a look at my funny web-site. Sorry about the background, haven’t found the time to re-do it and Front Page has no equivalent in Linux, so I have to wait until I learn a new bit of software to redo the whole thing. Download the little coffee table book (tongue in cheek called “The W Tree Missive”), too, and please don’t let your mind snap shut at the “G” word. It has a meaning which is just not covered by any politically correct euphemism. The site?:

  6. wam

    oh what a lovely campaign the longer it goes the better for labor when the shock jocks and autocue reader get sick of jobs and growth.
    ‘art or science of winning and holding government’ has it ever been anything different (except for the pre-diludbran loonies)
    With you terry2 what suss on health profit for the insurance companies, is saying:
    you made a life style choice to go rural and if you cannot fund that choice suffer.

  7. kasch2014

    Well, money is not a resource, and I am not suffering at all in my rural location – used to suffer a lot in the city of Melbourne (relatively speaking) thirty years ago. It would be a real hellhole now, I avoid it like the plague. The city is not a viable life support system, so it has no real existence except in the short-term while the country can support it. Now we are destroying country so quickly via pollution and over-consumption, no amount of money will save the cities. Only the inhabitants waking up to reality will do that. And then doing something about it – our governments at present are about 50 years behind the eight ball. And they are voted in mainly by city dwellers and rural urbans. I’ve lived off grid for thirty years, and watched the various irrelevant bulldust factories of politics etc,, market and spin-doctor this country and the world into a deeper hole by the year. Bull dust (spin and marketing) are no help in improving our chance of survival with a decent quality of live, and money is a intrinsic part of that bull dust.

  8. Miriam English

    kasch2014, check out the Wikipedia page Comparison of HTML editors. Especially note the second and third tables in that page.

    I mostly hand-code web pages in a text editor, but if I need to make something quickly without worrying about efficiency I use either:

    • Composer, which is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor that comes as a part of Seamonkey. Seamonkey is an internet suite from Mozilla. It contains web browser, email program, addressbook, IRC chat, and Composer, a webpage editor. Sadly some recent versions of Composer have introduced a weird and irritating bug that sometimes makes it difficult to save images as part of a page.


    • Kompozer, which is similar to Seamonkey’s Composer, but stands alone, the same way Mozilla’s Firefox is similar to Seamonkey’s web browser part and Thunderbird is virtually identical to Seamonkey’s email part.

    Both Composer and Kompozer are more powerful than they at first appear. Two of the things I use most are at the bottom of the window. One is the set of tabs that let you switch between layout view, tag+layout view, and source code view. The other is a list of tags along the status line at the bottom of the window. This list changes according to where on the edited page the cursor is placed and you can right-click a tag in the list and remove or edit it. When you get the hang of these you find editing proceeds incredibly quickly.

    I’ve tried a number of other programs, but they mostly create terrible HTML — awfully bloated. For instance you can save HTML from OpenOffice’s wordprocessor (and, in fact, from most wordprocessors) but they all create masses of unnecessary crap where the code often outweighs the actual information in the page. (The worst offender is Microsoft Word which produces HTML files that are often ten or more times as large as they need to be.)

    There is just one wordprocessor I used long ago which produces nice, clean HTML code. I believe it was KWord. I don’t have the K Desktop Environment (KDE) on my machine, so it is difficult (though not impossible) to install KWord. I use Puppy Linux with its tiny and lightning fast combination of JWM (Joe’s Window Manager) and ROX filemanager.

    Incidentally Microsoft’s and Apple’s often-praised WYSIWYG web page editors are some of the worst offenders for introducing bloat to the internet. I wish schools, colleges, and universities wouldn’t use them. We now have a whole generation of webpage designers who don’t have any real understanding of the web.

  9. kasch2014

    Thanks a lot for that, Miriam. I don’t understand much of the jargon, but I will try. I used to do my web pages in Microsoft Office 2003 Publisher, open them in Microsoft Front Page, and then look at them in a browser until they seemed right. That didn’t require any knowledge of HTML. I am 67 y.o.and have only worked with PCs since 2002, when a career change required it. Since then I have had to swallow so many new systems (started with a ute load of old win 3.1 and win 95 pcs and the fastest thing I had ran a Pentium 1 with 16MB of RAM) and since then I have worked setting up hundreds of recycled PCs for people via a community college in Bairnsdale, Vic., and from home etc., while constantly learning new stuff.

    I am now getting to the point where I do most creative stuff in Win XP on an off line PC and then posting in JPG or PDF on line via Linux. I’m sick of Microsoft after XP (Win 7 is really a user hostile platform, mostly concerned with getting money for Microsoft and other strange agendas) and it’s fine to use XP off line.

    The world has little new content, but a million new ways of saying very little of interest. Thanks again, Miriam, I will read up on your advice using your references.

    These days I am always tempted just to put all the web page content into a Jpeg file and just uploading that, and do all my editing in the Publisher Format and re-saving as Jpg and uploading. That does sometimes produce odd effects with different hardware when the web page is opened on some other laptop, PC or God forbid, phone or tablet. The use of these small devices has really made the production of creative visual content a new challenge which I am not keen to meet.

    I only help one other person with their web pages now, and I am heartily sick of even doing that – I have so much work on an isolated rural property which I run alone on a low budget, and I have to be everything like a mechanic and a plumber, engineer , etc., gardener, cook, and general handyman, machinery operator, builder, woodsman, blah, blah. I just want time out to go cycling and visit friends ….

  10. paul walter

    I wonder if it will finally get back to the Labor party and the Greens stuffing it up between them, because some individuals in both parties won’t make an effort to get on with the other.

  11. totaram

    Politics – what is it good for? Excellent title. It suggests it is something like a purchased item that you can put on the shelf and think about when you have the time. Unfortunately, the reality is very different. Irrespective of whether you wish to engage with it or not, it is going to affect you, and if you don’t take preemptive action, the effects may be something you don’t like, but by then it will be too late. Many who voted for this govt. are hopefully feeling that already. They were promised so many things which never came to be, unless you believe the spin about the spin – or is it the lies about the lies?

    So it is a stupid question. It is neither good nor bad. It is what it is – like the air we breathe or the water we drink. You can’t live without it. Ignore it at your peril. Better engage with it, even if it means spending some precious time on it. It is important.

  12. Marilyn Riedy

    Enough! I have had enough! I just want to vote now! All three parties whinging and blaming each other.lies everywhere I turn. Not one statesman of the ilk of Hawke or the mighty Gough. This is what you get with career politicians – too busy with their snouts in the trough to care one iota for the nation and its people. I am going to use my preferences to vote in the Senate for the Sustainable Australia Party and then individual senators that I know have stood up and fought for the people.I am looking at the Independents in my electorate and I will choose my own preferences thank you. You lot have shot yourselves in the foot and I don’t trust any of you! God help Australia if Liberals are re-elected.

  13. Jexpat

    Many Australians understand your frustrations, but as somone who lived many years in the US and the UK, my thoughts are:

    If you believe this: “God help Australia if Liberals are re-elected,” then the rational and responsible thing is to vote to ensure that doesn’t happen.

    Some would call it a choice among evils.

    My late granpa would simply say: vote to keep the worst sons of a bitches out.

    Gramps was a bit rough around the collar, but he was tough to beat in a game of cards.

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