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Tis not the season to be jolly

As one day merges with the next and the year moves rapidly toward its own sunset, I cannot in all truth say that it is a season to be jolly.

Christmas will come and go and Australia will enter its annual month-long period of self-imposed thoughtlessness.

Then in February 2020 our politicians will begin to slug it out for another year without the slightest thought to how they progressed our country in the previous one.

Uppermost in the mind of this writer who will in February of the following year turn 80, will be this question: How can I better express in my writing the horrific damage that this government has and continues too insinuate on our society?

It seems to me, and as irrational as it is, people believe that the party least likely to have the answers that would guide us through this period of time in our history, is the same one to whom they allot their votes.

It is the same conservative government that is at present attacking whistle-blowers, press freedom, curbing peaceful protest, sidelining courts, and limiting advocacy by community organisations. All of which results in a decline in people’s basics rights and freedoms.

In Australia we are witnessing – a never seen in my lifetime – attack on open transparent government that involves the suppression of press freedoms and the malevolent use of our democratic institutions including the Parliament.

How utterly dispiriting it is when the hearts and minds of our politicians are so utterly corrupted by this virus of political lies, but more demoralising it is that ordinary people catch the same infection.

The Australian government is currently using any means available to it to erode constitutional foundations with new laws and practices that indoctrinate secrecy and strangle criticism and accountability.

Save the Children’s director of policy and public affairs, Mat Tinkler, said:

“The secrecy surrounding our offshore processing regime means that the Australian people are forced to judge the merits of acts done in their name without all of the facts on the table, forcing whistle-blowers to take matters into their own hands.”

Yes, it is true and it can be observed in all its manifestations across the world. People are voting for parties who have no intention of helping them and ignoring those who would.

Paramount in my mind is how do I counter their recidivist lying that has permeated the minds of millions.

I was recently asked what I thought were the major problems facing society, to which I answered there were many but I suggested that the overriding problem was that wrong people are in charge. “How so?” my friend asked.

Well, I put it to you that the right of politics are philosophically the wrong people to contend with the changes that need to be made now and into the future because all of them contain an element of humanity. An inability to combine society with economics is a prime example.

If capitalism is the way forward then it has to be capitalism that is supervised, regulated penalised and makes decisions that serve the common good.

Of course, we will still require free markets but it may very well also require limits to growth. Decisions will have to be made around not what we want but what we need. A re-questioning of consumerism.

On the point of people who are able to manage change. The right, who only see society through the prism of cash registers at closing time, will be the least able to understand that change is being thrust upon.

Conservatives have little idea of the concept of change where it pertains to common good because they only ever see change in increments of “what’s in it for me?”

In the new world we are confronting technology that is thrusting its way into every crevice of society, decisions involving climate change, ethics, education, morality, law, medicine, population, infrastructure, water, what we can grow and many other complex issues. The changes we make will have to contain a survive first ideology and not a love of profit first methodology.

In terms of energy and climate change it is clear that the conservatives – by their inaction – have no interest in changing the status quo. Change is simply beyond them even when jobs and profit are obvious winners.

Change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making with its own inevitability.

The problem is that the wrong party is in power!

What we have now is known to all and I don’t think I need repeat my view of the people who have forsaken virtuous yet tuff politics for a politic that should remain in the place from whence it came.

We have at this time in our history a society that is so indifferent, so alienated and untrusting of politics and the people in it that they voted for a lot of hapless men and women who have demonstrated their unworthiness for nearly 7 years.

To say that they picked the wrong party is not sour grapes, but a statement in fact.

Only a socially progressive party that is stripped of the motive of profit and instead understands the difference between the purpose of life and the reason for it, is qualified to make the decisions necessary to survive into the future.

My thought for the day

One of the oddities of elections is trying to understand how the voting public would so willingly return a party that has governed so abysmally.


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  1. whatever

    They are like the Board members of some miserable Bowling Club or RSL, busily making up rules and regulations that are little more than wretched spitefulness.

    You COULD, for example, make a rule that you don’t have to call an Ambulance for anyone who has an accident but doesn’t have a Membership badge. Just let them bleed to death in front of the poker machines.

  2. Baby Jewels

    Personally, after yesterday’s Conservative landslide win in the UK, I think the world, not just Australia, is screwed. I have no idea what it would take to stop the rape and pillaging of the people and the planet, it’s so far underway already. It makes me sad that my first grandson will be born into this, in March. What kind of life could he possibly have, unless he’s got some sort of extreme talent? His parents are already struggling.

  3. Terence Mills

    I notice that the coalition will go into the new year committed to their ideological policies including their Union busting legislation which has already been rejected in the Senate but they will not let go.

    I’ve also noticed in recent months, unions being hit with massive fines for relatively minor breaches including a recent $270,000 penalty for unlawful picketing provisions introduced by the Coalition : surely, picketing is what unions do !

    Interestingly, in their attempts to “clean up the unions” the one significant area of malpractice and blatant criminality involving a union leader, who just happens to be a favourite of the Liberal party, dating back to 2012 has never gone before the courts. Despite a civil court finding in 2015 in favour of the Health Services Union ordering that former boss Kathy Jackson pay $1.4 million in compensation to the union for misappropriating funds the reimbursement has never been made and the criminal charges appear to be bogged down.

    Maybe Christian Porter could look into that rather than wasting his time trying to prosecute witness K and his lawyer over the Timor Leste spying fiasco.

  4. patrick deegan

    Just so well written… as a 75 year old… I too, can stand back and look and shake my head, and wonder… where will all this end… You used 5 words that said it all…“what’s in it for me?”

  5. New England Cocky

    “Conservatives have little idea of the concept of change where it pertains to common good because they only ever see change in increments of “what’s in it for me?””

    This point is shown in too many country towns and cities, Consider the politics of the New England and Northern Tablelands surrounding the university city of Armidale, population about 25,000 since about 1974 and growing only with every NSW government forced amalgamation with surrounding shires.

    The local National$ Dowager has long advocated Armidale to remain “just as it was when I came to town” in 1961. So being from a distinguished Sydney medical family she became a social centre and effective political activist for the nat$ at all levels of government and community. Her incumbency as Mayor and in council was overthrown in 2000 by a sectarian coup of under-whelming local self-servers having few ideas beyond their own pecuniary interests.

    In the last about 60 years her advocacy infected all strata of society with the politicians wanting to keep Armidale isolated from “too many new ideas coming up from the coast” so sealing the now Waterfall Way between Armidale and Urunga on the mid North Coast was discouraged. Similarly almost every business proposal put to successive councils during the past 40 years has been discouraged because “that will attract outside workers who will likely vote Labor” thus disturbing the cosy little sinecure filled by a nat$ backside.

    Indeed, the only real progress seen in Armidale has occurred under the political leadership of the late Bill McCarthy (ALP) and Richard Torbay (INDEPENDENT) Northern Tablelands with Tony Windsor (INDEPENDENT) for New England obtaining commonwealth funding.

    So the situation today is:

    1) the nat$ Dowager sadly is in 24/7 metropolitan palliative care, her successful advocacy for a 1961 future being achieved in 2019;

    2) the new Armidale Regional Council is failing to invoke the Force Majeure clause in the strange water supply contract between the former Guyra Shire Council and the Guyra Tomato Farm growing tomatoes for export and the profit of foreign shareholders living overseas while local ratepayers struggle to survive on Level 5 Water Restrictions.

    3) Political skeptics are wondering the quantum of political donations ‘purchased’ by installing a $13 MILLION pipeline from the Malpas Dam drinking water supply for Armidale directly into the Guyra Tomato Farm and the importance of a rare, little publicised, visit by nat$ party leaders to “inspect” the site. Perhaps there are future political donations to be had?

    4) Meanwhile the slowly declining number of main street family shopkeepers are struggling against the buying power of national supermarket chains and the daily export of sales turnover out of our city, thus preventing the about seven (7) multiples general turnover effect that flows through the business community from purchasing in family owned local businesses, and the cheaper prices.

    5) Tourists are walking the Armidale Mall once the bustling “Jewel in the Crown” now the deserted “dead heart of town” counting the grown number of empty shops and struggling to find a coffee shop because of the high rents imposed by non-local landlords and their agents.

    6) But consider the situation in other New England towns like Guyra, Glen Innes and Tenterfield where the nat$ are attempting to rip up the Great Northern Railway (GNR) to install a fail rail trail allegedly for the Guyra Geriatric Grandmothers Cycling Group to use occasionally on their dawn rides. However, the real reason is to remove competition for freight from the GNR against the Northern Inland Railway (NIR) having a nat$ ‘ole mate’ as Chairperson. The NIR’s own financial study shows that the initial government investment of about $700 MILLION TO DATE will take at least 50 years to recover, if at all.

    7) Meanwhile successive NSW governments have allowed the GNR to decay for over 30 years between Armidale and Wallangarra/Jennings on the Queensland, thus preventing the essential delivery of drought water supplies by rail to those towns as happened during the 1965 drought while actively discouraging tourists from visiting these regional centres.

    8) Maintaining the status quo means that our kids leave town to pursue careers in other centres often too far away from grandparents; businesses are happy making last year’s turnover without realising that inflation has robbed them of whatever percent from the net profits reduced by annually increasing costs; and school kids can aspire to visible careers in supermarket check out chick or shelf-stacker, a petrol pump jockey or a mower boy.

    Still, Australian voters get the government that wins the majority of seats and so this scenario may well be a matter of shooting yourself in both feet.

  6. wam

    The voters that labor lost were worried about losing something in the changes. They are easy prey for rupert’s paper peddling fear.
    They are workers and pensioners and welfare recipients who trust this government. People who believe that labor is the wasteful spender and linp are the economic managers. They are honest and caring people but their truth is ‘dole bludgers’, ‘welfare cheats’ and climate change denying.
    Albo has to redress their economic fear. No labor has really achieved that goal.
    Did you see, lord, and I labor noticed the results when the electorate doesn’t like a leader and his policies? Perhaps there was another reason why shorten lost? Well you and Albo can wait another 10 years for the answer?

  7. Andrew Smith

    Especially an Anglo world issue led by the US Chicago/Austrian schools of economics whose ideas would not be normally acceptable to informed electorates; US, UK, Australia and less developed nations like Chile, Hungary, Russia, Turkey etc.

    Ian Dunt of Politics.co.uk suggests some return of normalcy to both Labour and Tory politics, after Brexit in whatever shape or form, once this unique older demographic rattles through, and there are similarities with Australia.

    Radical right libertarianism leveraging ageing and monocultural electorates (now outnumbering younger more liberal cohorts) via hollowed out partisan media supporting conservative messaging, and constantly dog whistling the (centre) left, climate science, minorities, immigrants, non Christians etc.

    The radical and/or inequitable economic policies from the US (via Koch network think tanks like the IPA in Oz IEA in the UK) are implemented while electors are distracted by irrelevant noise (see above), and caters to above median age voters increasingly dominated by self funded retirees and/or pensioners, as insurgents or a praetorian guard, not impacted like the actual working workers are.

    Issue for MPs, parties and their own vested interests using beliefs or sentiments and xenophobia to be sloganised, also tested in media and reinforced often, means the slogan becomes the policy, but not grounded on anything except a motherhood statement, aka Brexit.

    Thus far no meaningful detail or plan has been offered for Brexit to be implemented vs. aspiration of ‘getting a deal done’; one predicts more chaos to come over the medium long term as consequences of one action impacts another.

    The winners are the top end of town, finance sector (avoiding global regulation/scrutiny) and the privileged who generally gain and profit from chaos through the less well off voting against the interests of future generations for some short term media fed narcissistic gain on identity.

    Danger is younger generations replicating the same cultural/political outlook through media and society e.g. young Australians supporting Brexit for supposed increase in visas and trade, while the UK and it’s monarchy declines, Australia is spun like a top if it neglects its place in Asia, not the UK or US.

  8. Vikingduk

    Where is this mythical beast, “good government”, visionary politicians, accepting the urgent need to change? Are they so cowered that they dare not reveal themselves? Have they thought, bugger this, I want more too? Or are they merely fictional, a stray hope we may harbour to keep from having a good look, a good think, preventing that blinding flash of waking the fck up, we are in deep shit.

    The Madrid affair has ended in a disaster, many countries refusing the changes necessary, thereby ensuring the rapid increase of the destruction the only planet available to us.

    Mostly, it seems, only the young and powerless appreciate the urgency, the necessity of the massive changes required. There is no hope politics or a different flavour government have the will to make the changes necessary, to speak honestly, to not be black hearted bastards. Different actions are required to address our problems now.

    Two schooners of thoughts and prayers thanks, that should do the trick, eh?

  9. Jack Cade

    Had the Labour Party embraced the result of the referendum, they would have trounced Johnson, about whom the British have no illusions.
    Most of the areas of the country that chose Brexit in the referendum were Labour-held seats, formerly industry-rich areas devastated by Thatcherism and continued by Blair. These people loathe everything about Johnson and his Conservative Party except Brexit, but they voted against their own best interests simply because they resented being a group of tiny off-shore islands with a long history of common law and democratic institutions which became secondary to the EU laws.
    People in the Black Country, which used to be the industrial heart of the world, saw successful local industries offered subsidies and inducements to transfer their factories to depressed areas of Eastern Europe, while many immigrants came into Britain from those same areas, attracted by the prospect of higher wages ( and thus, paradoxically, causing a reduction in the wages in Britain because of the influx of cheap labour.)
    Our ‘compulsory voting’ is a better, though imperfect, voting system than the British ‘first past the post’, where the candidate that gathers the highest number of votes wins the seat. You could become an MP when 75% of the electorate didn’t want you.
    If I had been living in the UK, I would have voted for Brexit, probably for some of the wrong reasons. But Brexiting could allow the UK to re-apply for membership but on more favourable terms. That’s a good enough incentive. As it is, the UK will probably regret Brexit for the duration of the next parliament because it won’t fix the problems that caused it and will cause more problems that haven’t been acknowledged. But Brussels will be very concerned because other member states – possibly France, which is already continually in civil turmoil, and Italy, could see Brexit as a good idea.

  10. Andrew Smith

    Both UK Labour and Tories catered to ageing declining electorates ignorant about the benefits of the EU and susceptible to xenophobia; creating a gerontocracy to help the few at the expense of youth and working age.

    A severe case of ‘collective narcissism’, now let the Brexit chaos continue.

  11. Socrates.

    Capitalism is supposed to be based on ingenuity and service on a level playing field.

    What we have is creeping feudalism.

  12. Max Gross

    I dread what’s coming. Hitler was initially elected democratically. Got mit uns!

  13. Phil

    Brexit and Johnson will bring the UK to its knees. Act in haste repent at leisure.

    The silver lining, Scotland may get their independence. I hope so.

  14. Zathras

    I’ve never understood why people tend to increasingly vote against their own best interests but it seems we are more driven by the shopfront razzle dazzle and celebrity attraction of individual political leaders than their policies.Even the ABC played along with the idea by turning them into cooking-based TV stars with Annabelle Crabb taking along dessert.

    Politics has become like some warped reality TV show rather than the business of Nation Building but with consequences that are frequently ignored when it matters, yet complained about afterward.

    We end up with leaders who can “talk the talk” but not “walk the walk” and it’s the same in the USA and now Britain.

    As for the Brexit results, most of the Labour “leave” seats voted mainly on the basis of immigration and blatant lies about the EU but they are the ones who will feel the economic pain. I saw an interview with a pro-Brexit man who imports fresh flowers from France daily by truck who didn’t realise his business could not survive if his truck was held up for days by new customs rules but later admitted he would still vote the same way. His motivation was about immigrants and not himself.

    In the end we get what we deserve.

  15. whatever

    Did you hear Boris mention the ‘OneNation’ meme?
    He and the Tories dropped this phrase all the time, but it was rarely published. The entire Brexit campaign was just such P.Hanson shrill xenophobia and nostalgia for an imaginary past.

    (BTW, the real P.Hanson seems to believe she can behave as a paid lobbyist for whoever writes the cheques. Not really what a Senator should be involved with, but at least the TaxOffice should be investigating Paulines’ new gig.)

  16. Michael Taylor

    Phil, not only will ‘they’ lose Scotland but I hear that the unification of Ireland is back on the table.

    “Farewell to old England forever,” goes the old folk song. Perhaps it’s the new theme.

    Zathras, Carol and I heard horror stories while in the UK from people who voted for Brexit – based on a series of lies – and who only now realise the full impact of their misguided vote.

    The “Stay” vote was always expected to win, but then the Murdoch media played the race card and public opinion swung towards leaving the EU.

  17. Zathras

    There’s a recent telemovie called “Brexit” – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8425058/ – that describes the way social media was deliberately used to skew and manipulate public opinion and is an interesting example of how the system has changed, not just for Brexit but for democracy itself.

    Although Brexit is the vehicle used for the story it goes much deeper into how votes can be manipulated and is a warning to us all.

    Trailer only – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8425058/videoplayer/vi2496641561?ref_=tt_ov_vi

  18. Bruce Winchester

    Having a Pentecostal Prime Minister who personally and privately believes in the Rapture and End of Times prophecies is a distressing concern for those of us who harbour more naturalist and humanist views and hopes for the future of mankind and this planet.
    I still shudder when I think of Scott Morrison declaring to his congregation (his real congregation, not the Australia electorate) “I will burn for you!” and lament the cruel irony of his ignorant words.

    And what hope is there? Labor has gone Liberal lite, and couldn’t organise a pee in a bucket without drenching their own socks. The Greens with too little, too late to avert the effects of global climate change and a vain handful of boisterous ineffectual independents.

    I fear Hanrahan was right. “There’ll be bush-fires for sure, me man, There will, without a doubt; We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan, “Before the year is out.”

    I’m sorry. I am losing hope. Anyone able to offer some assurance for the future?

  19. nonsibicunctis

    No Bruce. I know that I’ll be labelled an extreme pessimist or negatively inclined or a quitter or some such but I don’t believe in hope any more than I believe in love. Both are abstract fantasies; words used to describe generally indescribable feelings which are never true save in the instant of the moment and in which same moment they are gone.

    The reality is that our population is NOT smart. The electorate is NOT smart as politicians like to say (in order to flatter them). The average Australian has little or no knowledge of the very electoral systems within which they cast their votes, let alone the policy issues and political manoeuvring of the various sitting members, aspiring members, past members and other influencers in Australia’s political hierarchy.

    The last thing that the decisions of most voters are based upon are evidence, past record of a political party or government, priority of issues with a view beyond the present, or a concern for other than themselves and immediate circle, let alone the country or world that we are likely to leave to our descendants.

    As everyone here, is in my belief aware, control of Australian society has never really been free of a colonialist hierarchy though now that hierarchy operates as much, perhaps even morei through the influence of outrageously wealthy individuals, old notable families,, and large corporations.

    The electorate in Australia are basically no better placed than the peasants who worked estates for ‘noble-men and noble-women’ with rich inheritance of assets and status.

    Our social conditoning, beginning in schools where most of us are taught by individuals least likely to question the ‘system’, continues as we grow through the means of warped, lying and bigoted shock-jocks, governments, individual influencers and human nature that seems almost always to place self before anything or anyone else. That selfishness is fed by the advertising industry, the culture of celebrity, 5 minutes of fame, aspiration to live like, even have the large houses, flash cars and self indulgent wealth of those who, in the main have done nothing more than manipulated others such that they make or have made huge sums of money on the backs of the labor of others.

    Populism is the result of the ignorance of the average person to recognise when they are being conned and because of their selfish, me first, outlooks and monetary or wealth based goals and celebrity notion of status, they are only too willing to believe that they can join the club. They are not aware enough to question an issue or consider other than its most immediate implications and are easily swayed by induced fear – at which the conservative politicians are so good at engendering – and racism, sexism, anti-intellectualism, and an unsophisticated understanding of how such ideologies or economic approaches such as neo-liberalism will never benefit them.

    So, Bruce, no there is no hope. The very fact that we have an irrationally religious Prime Minister says it all. No one with a working intellect and an understanding of logic, rationality and reason, would choose to elect to the prime office of our nation [The GG is a puppet of an anachronistic monarchy which has no place in 2019] a person who believes that myths and faery tales are fact and is even so foolishly stricken that he will exhibit his cowardly and pathetic idiocy on national television.

    That says it all.

  20. Bruce Winchester


    Its my experience that the branded pessimist most times proves to be the realist. Life amongst the lotus eaters is simply disappointing.
    The blank stares I get after explaining the hows and whys of issues of social and political crises, that momentarily drag people away from their constant absorption of the minutiae of ever constant media entertainment, disturbs me. That some cannot name the current prime minister or identify Dutton from Frydenberg, yes, really, they can’t, leaves little hope that they might even barely understand or even care about the inadequacies of this government and more importantly how it might negatively affect the quality of the lives they could or should be living. A sense of history and even social responsibility, lies dead in many.
    I better quit before someone brands me the pessimist.

  21. Stephengb

    Several times I have made reference to the 1971, Memorandum to the American Chamber of Commerce written by Lewis Powell Jnr.
    It makes fascinating reading, but it explans much more, it shows how we got here and how it was done

  22. Matters Not

    Bruce Winchester – modern media empowers people who are desperate for excitement in what (for the many) are unexciting societies. Via the MSM, one can decide – who goes on to an Island or into a house and then vote as to whom shall leave and under what circumstance(s). Then there’s the Logies, the …. There’s plenty of opportunities for the punters to express their views. And usually it’s open to all and sundry.

    On the other hand, when it comes to (pre)selecting the candidates to represent us in Parliament (particularly in safe seats) there’s all sorts of barriers in place. And some wonder why the youth are alienated. Clearly the young aren’tt dills. Just realists. Just saying.

  23. Terence Mills

    It is quite disturbing that our legislative system is in the hands of a couple of independents who frequently don’t have a full grasp of what’s going on or who can be swayed with promises of largesse.

    For Lambie to repeal the Medivac legislation makes no sense at all. It seems that she was sold on the old Dutton refrain, that to leave medical evacuation in the hands of health professionals would see an influx of rapists, pedophiles and murderers seeking to take advantage of medical evacuation to get to Australia even though the minister still had final veto.

    The union bashing legislation was lost in the senate on Pauline Hanson’s vote and the government want that to again be the first piece of senate business in the new year. They are confident of a win this time. So what has been promised to Hanson to change her vote ?

    This is no way to run a country !

  24. Zathras

    Lambie has always been little more than an attention-seeker and most seem to have forgotten she originally sailed into Parliament on the coattails of Clive Palmer so that’s an indication of her abilities and awareness of important issues.

    Now she potentially holds the power of life and death over some refugees. I agree it’s certainly not the best way to run a country.

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