“Why are the peasants revolting?”
“Madame, it is because they don’t have jet skis.”
“No jet skis? Why, let them eat cake…”
Ok, some of you have probably heard about Coalition MP, Andrew Laming, telling us that “Inequality is staring over the fence and noticing another guy has a jet ski and you don’t have one.”
Actually, I suspect that some people won’t be doing that because they don’t own a fence, but that’s probably because they have the same “nasty egalitarian” (to quote Dr Laming again) tendencies as Bill Shorten.
Of course, it’s all about the politics of envy. You know, those that don’t have nice cars, envy those who do. Those who don’t have jobs, envy those who do. Those who don’t have homes, envy those who do. Those who don’t have food, envy those who do. Those who don’t have sensitivity or empathy… are quite happy being in Malcolm Turnbull’s government.
Yes, I’m sure we’re going to hear that phrase and “class warfare” quite a few times before the next Federal election.
Mm, good old class warfare, eh?
Just in case you’re confused, class warfare is NOT arguing against increases in the minimum wage, cutting people off the disability pension, introducing internships at $4 an hour, or the attempts to reduce or abolish penalty rates. Neither is arguing that a cut to the top income earners or reducing company tax class warfare. Of course, increasing funds to private schools while cutting the government sector wasn’t class warfare either.
No, class warfare is when you threaten to tax family trusts more effectively. Class warfare is when you challenge the notion that people on extremely low incomes are benefitting from negative gearing by pointing out that the reason that their incomes are low is probably because they’re negative gearing fifteen properties as there’s no real way that someone on an actual wage of $27,000 could afford private school fees for three children and a jet ski. Or when you point out that the trickle-down economics doesn’t seem to have worked and maybe it’d be worth giving trickle-up economics a go. I know that some of the learned gentleman in the Coalition will try to tell me that things don’t trickle up, but I know that gravity – like climate change – is just a theory.
Anyway, because the Liberals seem to have a problem with addressing inequality… and not just because they don’t know its postcode… I thought it might be interesting to analyse one of their recent little offerings in terms of language. Seen this?
You may notice the use of the made-up word “jobactive”. It’s a much more impressive sounding word than “jobpassive” or “jobnonexistent”. It has all the suggestive action of an ad for bran. And for me it has much the same effect. However, one only has to take a step back to wonder about it for a second, and you realise that it’s to remind everyone that people with jobs are active while those lazy layabouts on the dole should be given a bath and a haircut and sent to fight in some war to teach them that life wasn’t meant to be easy.
The word “PaTH”, of course, suggests someone typing after a liquid lunch. However, it’s an acronym for “Prepare, Trial, Hire”. Unfortunately, there was nobody smart enough to think of a word starting with an “a”, so they’re writing it in small letters so that you don’t notice that it doesn’t belong. “PTH”, of course, sounds like term of derision, while “PaTH” makes it sound like you’re going somewhere, even though the initial trial of the PTH only led to a small percentage of the people getting to the “H” part. “PaT” just doesn’t sound as exciting, does it? We’ll prepare you, trial you and give you a pat on the head!
And then we have those three phrases: “Getting them ready, giving them a go, getting them a job.”
Notice the present tense. The government is doing this now. So don’t worry about the past and the fact that they haven’t brought down unemployment in spite of saying the magic words, “jobs and growth” ten times and spinning round in circles just like the magic formula told them to. As well as “getting them ready”, they’re “getting them a job”. This isn’t in the future, this is now. Of course, that does contradict the nature of a PaTH, but when have Malcolm’s boys ever been consistent.
Malcolm’s boys? I suppose that’s a bit sexist. After all, unlike Tony who only had one woman in Cabinet but assured us that many were knocking on the door, Malcolm now has as many women in cabinet as there are occupying senior positions in the Taliban.
I notice there are two “gettings” to one “giving”, so I guess we’re getting more than we give. Certainly, the businesses hiring people under the PaTH program are geting more than they give.
Ok, I know that it’s meant to teach the unemployed skills such as getting out of bed, turning up to work and learning to put up with sexual harassment. Yes, once employers realise that there are young people who’ve managed to develop these skills in just a few months, there’ll be jobs for all and the growth that the Liberals have been promising won’t be restricted to Peter Dutton’s portfolio.
“So what did you learn on your internship?”
“Well, on the first day, I learned to get out of bed. I wandered around the house for a while, and then I received a phone call where my boss offered to teach me how to turn up to work on the second. After that it was all plain sailing and I feel ready to run my own business and provide jobs for others. Hopefully on 457 visas because at $4 an hour, it’s too expensive to take on Aussies.”
Yep, it’s easy to see how well this class warfare thing is going to play out. I mean, I’ve just looked over the fence and realised that I live in a place where equality reigns because nobody seems to have a jet ski, so I guess the revolution won’t be starting in my suburb. But I fear that it’s only a matter of time before we have the Occupy protesters all marching on Parliament, chanting, “What do want? Jet skis! When do we want them? NOW!” Then, in the blink of an eye, Lake Burley Griffin will be awash with stolen jet skis being ridden by the remnants of the Tony’s Green army.
Ok, I know that some of you latte-swilling types probably think that inequality is about more than this. But clearly you’re wrong. Andrew Laming has spoken. And he’s a doctor.