Perhaps the speed of the 21st Century really has taken away people’s concentration span, but I keep coming back to the same point. While a clever brain can hold two points of view simultaneously while working out an answer, lesser minds usually seek a logical consistency that means they don’t frequently swing from one thing to the other without some attempt at a fig-leaf of an explanation.
You know the sort of thing:
“Yes, I am on record as saying that I don’t support violence in any situation but that guy I just punched must have really deserved it because I’m such a pacifist.”
“Yes, the economy does seem to be running into some headwinds, so isn’t it lucky that you have me in charge because Labor have showed they couldn’t manage an economy in recession by doing all they could to avoid one when we had the GFC.”
So, I’m having a lot of trouble putting together the narrative of the Barnaby Joyces of this world.
We’ve always had bushfires so it’s nothing to do with climate change. Dorothea Mackellar wrote about “droughts and flooding rains” in her poem over a hundred years ago, so this nothing new.
No, the bushfires are not worse. They’ve been worse in the past.
These bushfires are particularly bad because in the past we had hazard reduction burns but thanks to lots of red-tape like not burning on days when the fire is likely to get out of control, we have a build-up of fuel and without that, we wouldn’t have a problem.
No, it’s not unprecedented. Didn’t you hear me? We’ve had worse in the past.
Yes, it’s because of the fuel. The past fires were easily brought under control because we didn’t have all those greenie restrictions.
And so on…
While it’s possible to mount a strong argument against each point, it because impossible to defeat the moving target. It’s very reminiscent of against the There is no climate change/Of course the climate is changing because it’s changed in the past so it’s nothing to do with emissions.
When it was just climate change and the bushfires, it would be bad enough but the thinking seems to be seeping into other areas too. How else can the PM stand there and say that he has a report; he can’t show it to you because it’s confidential but he can tell you what’s in it? The absurdity of this is the failure of people to call out its absurdity. I wish some journalist would ask Morrison if he’s breached the official secrets act by revealing the contents of a report which can’t be shared!
In the past few years, I’ve made some very accurate predictions like removal of Abbott for Turnbull, and Scott Morrison impersonating Steve Bradbury to beat Dutton. (At this point, I should point out that Bradbury’s Olympic triumph was not solely luck. He concluded that he wasn’t one the fastest three skaters, so his best chance of a medal was to hang back and hope that some of the faster skaters got knocked over. It was a deliberate strategy which relied on others making a mistake, whereas Morrison… Come to think of it, it was exactly the same strategy!) Anyway, my capacity for prognostication relies on one simple idea: pick the most absurd course of action and imagine it happening.
Which, of course, brings me to Barnaby Joyce. I could predict that he’ll attempt to sell himself as a man who believes in family values so strongly that he started a second family, but that’s not absurd enough for the man who made the Christmas Eve video where he told us that he wanted less government in his life.
No, my prediction is that Barnaby will make another tilt at the Nationals leadership and unless his colleagues decide that they have to make him happy by giving in, Joyce will take the rebels and form a new party, arguing that they’re getting back to their roots by reclaiming “The Country Party” as their name because they’re going to stick up for the little guy in the bush by backing mining, fracking and less government, unless it’s a subsidy to buy non-existent water or a coal-fondling lobby group. “We are no longer ‘Nats’!” Joyce will tell us, but stop short of giving his rebel colleagues the name that the rest of the Coalition will be calling them.
This strange turn of events will embarrass the government in House of Representatives with several votes being lost when Joyce announces that they’ll be abstaining until the government agrees to put a new coal-fired power station in every city and to legislate to restrict the amount of wind and solar which can be allowed into our nation.
Faced with possible humiliation of the floor of the House, Morrison will decide that this is his chance to get rid of the pesky Nats – and others – once and for all. He’ll call an election, content in his conviction that miracles do happen for him on a regular basis. Not only was he made PM, but he was actually elected by voters. Why not a third sign that he is the chosen one?
Content that the sports rorts and the disinformation about Labor’s policies did him no harm last time, he will begin his campaign by telling people that anyone in a marginal electorate will be given ten thousand dollars so they can start their own sporting club providing that they’re not a member at the time of signing, and attacking Labor for their policy of compulsory vasectomies for any male over the age of eighteen. He’ll try to win the female vote by announcing that Labor intend to charge you extra tax based on the number of children you have, presuming – like Tony Abbott did as Minister for Women – that the only thing a woman cares about is having babies.
The Murdoch press will ignore everything that he puts out and back him on the grounds that, as we’ve fallen into recession and the long-awaited surplus hasn’t eventuated, we need a government prepared to make the tough decisions. Various editors will attack Labor for their plans to actually spend some taxpayer money on the taxpayers when it could be better spent by ensuring that newspapers had enough money to continue operating.
Ok, it might not all turn out like I’m suggesting, but given the last few years, would anyone be surprised?
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