Are we guilty of Schadenfreude?
Reading the mainstream newspapers this week and listening to talkback radio has been like going back in time to 2013 when the Labor government was in disarray, the economy was supposedly haemorrhaging and the national debt was skyrocketing.
We remember how the Murdoch press were in hyper drive spilling out story after story about a dysfunctional government, incompetent ministers, backbench members speaking out of turn, leadership rumblings which turned out to be true and so on, and so on. Talkback Radio was doing much the same.
Today, that same Murdoch press are still at it, as are Fairfax and yes, talkback radio too. And it is still the government they are lambasting, except that it is the new government, the one we elected just 17 months ago. How the wheel has turned.
Yesterday, February 4th 2015 was perhaps the most telling when Paul Kelly, editor at large with The Australian wrote such a scathing article about the present government, I thought we had just emerged from some form of time travel.
A link to Paul’s article is blocked behind a paywall. But this is what he wrote, “The Abbott government is being destroyed before our eyes. The Liberal Party’s frustrations and divisions have cracked wide open. It has taken only 17 months for a sizeable section of the party to announce that Tony Abbott has failed as PM and needs to be liquidated.”
I would go further than that, Paul. The whole government needs to be liquidated. But in saying that I hope neither of us have violated some obscure national security law that might interpret the word ‘liquidated’ as meaning something more than a harmless metaphor.
As Paul’s article points out though, this whole, hilarious circus, has come to this point, i.e. the possibility of a leadership spill next week, without a leadership contender playing any part. It’s all about the failings of the present leader.
Frankly, anybody who could see through the facade Tony Abbott has been hiding behind for the last five years, could see this coming a mile away. When looking at his contradictory nature, things he said way back when, compared with his comments on a variety of issues today, it should have been obvious to anyone in the media a long time ago.
It was obvious for a large part of the electorate. That is evidenced by the election result itself; hardly a landslide. But such was the hatred for Julia Gillard, who by any measure looks positively presidential today, those contradictory failings were allowed to go through to the keeper by a supportive media who just wanted her, Kevin Rudd and Labor out.
And now the chickens have come home to roost. For those of us who saw what was happening, who could see the fallacy of Abbott’s promises, the lies about the state of the economy, the opportunism over the boat people, the regressive climate change policy and perhaps a dozen or so other contradictions, we are all now struggling to hide our enjoyment at the way things have turned out.
Are we guilty of Schadenfreude? Yes we are. Schadenfreude is such a delightful way of expressing our present feelings. I think Blair Donaldson, a responder on Facebook captured the feeling best when he wrote, “If members of Abbott’s own party are more interested in removing him than finding a viable alternative, it says a lot about the poisonous atmospherics in the party. There must be a fair bit of schadenfreude among the PM’s critics in the party and on the opposition benches as they watch Abbott get undone by his own ego and incompetence.”
Abbott’s time as PM is nearly over. It just needs to be pronounced. But I can’t help thinking how much I would enjoy letting it bleed on for a little while longer.
Schadenfreude does that to you.