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Depressing …

February 8th, 2011

… that with leadership as underwhelming as Gillard’s, the alternative should be so bad as to make it no contest for anyone who cares about policy.

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  1. Alan
    February 8th, 2011 at 15:26 | #1

    Mondayitis a little late, John?

  2. gerard
    February 8th, 2011 at 15:59 | #2

    I guess you watched 4 corners too.
    I had the exact same thought.

  3. Sam
    February 8th, 2011 at 16:11 | #3

    Wow. Really apropos of nothing there. I agree with the sentiment, it’s even more depressing that you don’t need to give context; there are so many examples to choose from.

  4. Donald Oats
    February 8th, 2011 at 17:08 | #4

    I missed the 4 Corners episode last night – glad I did now.

    I won’t vote for an Abbott government but Gillard was a great deputy PM (and I mean that) who is a total waste as a PM; whether her office is the problem, or something else, I don’t know. Labor is a complete policy mess and on top of that, can’t cut through the Oz’s 100% negative campaign (at least, whenever I open to an Oz story on the web or someone’s copy).

    Abbott is too nasty even when he is trying to be nice, and he is way way too conservative for me. Too many actions by Labor now are not what I voted for, but I’m not going to compound that error by voting those policies in by voting for an Abbott-led Liberal government. Shivvvverrrr me timbers at the thought.

    Might trundle over to the Labor web site and see what they are standing for today…

  5. February 8th, 2011 at 17:42 | #5

    Strangest part, out of many strange parts, was that most of the people interviewed had a completely different view to each other of what her political philosophy might be. She was/is obviously a political chameleon. Until now, when she has ended up as yet another Obama/Blair/Rudd “Third Way” corporate political client. Or, as she said in her only definite statement of the night “I’m not a socialist” (though still, she says, a “feminist” whatever she thinks this means other than being a female PM)

  6. Freelander
    February 8th, 2011 at 18:29 | #6

    The modern politician is a professional. They have one objective, staying elected. Without any internal moral compass, they are blown about by every transitory popular breeze, real or imagined. That’s why “the moral challenge of our time” could be dumped without a moment’s thought.

    When John Howard became Prime Minister, that marked the ascendency of the professional politician. It was morals overboard from then on in.

  7. February 8th, 2011 at 20:51 | #7

    Disagree Freelander, they (eg: howard, bush, blair, rudd, gillard, harper, cameron) are not affected in the slightest by anything ‘popular’ whether a breeze or a cyclone. ‘They’ obey only the dictates of being the corporate/political client.

    Which reminds me, I forgot to get my question in to Q&A in time last night: “To the panel, what is your definition of ‘fascism’?”

    They never ask my questions, anyway [sad face emoticon].

  8. Michael
    February 8th, 2011 at 20:59 | #8

    We seem to have entered an era where many of the problems gathering on the horizon are just too big and too complex to be managed by the present politicians and the bureaucracy. What factors in the population have created this current political climate? It’s like some kind of interminable political purgatory.

  9. Ikonoclast
    February 8th, 2011 at 21:55 | #9

    Gillard is an intellectual lightweight and a total sellout to corporate capital.

    Overall, what we are seeing is the triumph of corporate capital in destroying the world. I’ve known this was coming since my tertiary student year (1975) when I read Marx and Meadows et al. (Das Kapital and Limits to Growth.)

    Economies run on energy which must be harnessed for useful work. We are now over or almost over the energy peak. Peak oil was 2005. Peak energy harnessing was probably 2009 but we may get one or two more upticks (at most).

    Once harnessable energy is in decline the world economy immediately goes into decline. The world economy will contract over this decade and fall off a cliff in the decade after that.

    All over, red rover.

  10. Freelander
    February 9th, 2011 at 00:33 | #10

    @Megan

    You could be right. Public opinion does seem largely ignored. But they still seem to be elected.

  11. February 9th, 2011 at 02:00 | #11

    Ah me. Australian politicians care about being re-elected. Caring about policy is a secondary thought and only gets half way to primary if it satisfies the being re-elected criterion. Tony’s policy is to deny anything the Government says and hope for the best. Trouble is he gets the timing wrong sometimes and fails to guard his thoughts on other times. And Julia’s major strategy seems to be to change previous strategy.
    There are times when we really do need to be a lucky country.
    Mind you, if all else fails there is always The Australian …

  12. Chris Warren
    February 9th, 2011 at 08:23 | #12

    Poor Gillard, just not the right time to be come PM. A capitalist crisis looms, and the only way to stave this off is either by increasing the population (to keep effective demand up) or increase exports (ie fossil fuels). Both lead to climate-catastrophe.

    So what do capitalists want? Economic crisis or climate crisis? Or both?

    The economic tendencies are easiest to visualise as while stock-market indexes are not adjusted for inflation, they do act as a thermometer for the health of capitalism.
    Since 1999-2000 global stockmarkets have been in a chaotic crisis mode and, more latterly, overall volumes have been sliding.  This seems to confirm the Marxist understanding of the internal logic of capitalism.
    see:
    FTSE-Crisis
    DOW-Crisis
    Australia, as a parasitic capitalism which switches economic allegiance whenever it feels like it, has a later slump and, so far, less recovery. See:
    Aust-Crisis
    ********************************************************
     I suppose for some, this is depressing, but remember, there is reason for this.

  13. wilful
    February 9th, 2011 at 08:57 | #13

    I was wondering about this, not being a close student of history, whether our political class at the moment has hit new lows, or whether it’s always this bad.

  14. Chris Warren
    February 9th, 2011 at 09:32 | #14

    wilful :
    I was wondering about this, not being a close student of history, whether our political class at the moment has hit new lows, or whether it’s always this bad.

    No, there was a huge boom mentality as wool and wheat expanded, then again when gold expanded, the (when refrigerated ships emerged) when meat exports expanded.

    Depression emerged during the Menzies era, and the Vernon Committee was probably the main artefact of this era.

    Fortunately (and unexpectedly) Australia went back into glorious boom-times (from the 60′s) based on minerals exports.

    Our current economic-fugue is in part imported from overseas, but is a relatively recent development, essentially based on the failure of Australian capitalism to maintain Australian manufacturing, and a failure to put Australia on a competitive services-exporting path for future economic prosperity.

    Our current prospects are more difficult than past experiences and we have the climate issue superadded onto our affairs.

  15. February 9th, 2011 at 09:53 | #15

    @Chris Warren
    And meanwhile Parliament, it seems from yesterday, has turned to Hollywood to script its speeches (in the absence of politicians capable of pursuing effective policies).

  16. wilful
    February 9th, 2011 at 12:23 | #16

    Chris, I was actually asking about the quality of our political class.

  17. Robert (not from UK)
    February 9th, 2011 at 12:41 | #17

    Gerald Ford’s less than stellar intellectual powers were famously attributed by Lyndon Johnson to having “played too much football without a helmet.” I’m wondering if Abbott’s latest antics (his announcement that “S**t happens” – please excuse the coarse argot just this once, Professor Quiggin) can be partly attributed to frontal-lobe cerebral damage incurred during his boxing days.

    His every utterance appears to be based on saying the first thing that comes into his head. This is a syndrome quite often to be found in ex-boxers, and one that is sometimes appealing in two-year-olds, but is hardly very attractive in someone already 53. (I, for what it’s worth, am 49).

    It has often been reported that among the few people in Australia actually able to inspire a bit of awe in Abbott is Cardinal Pell. My hope is that His Eminence, who – whatever his faults – cannot be any too pleased about the Australian Catholic “brand” (for want of a better word) being trashed by Abbott’s role as Australia’s best-known Catholic layman, will cut his losses, and make to Abbott a private telephone call quoting, in effect, Cromwell’s words: “You have sat there too long for any good you have done. In the name of God, go!”

  18. Chris Warren
    February 9th, 2011 at 15:07 | #18

    wilful :
    Chris, I was actually asking about the quality of our political class.

    OK…but I do not separate the ‘political class’ (and their behaviours) from their economic environment.

  19. wilful
    February 9th, 2011 at 16:03 | #19

    So Ming was good because we had lots of wool? Whitlam was no good because of the oil shocks?

    Ahh, doesn’t matter.

  20. Chris Warren
    February 9th, 2011 at 17:18 | #20

    wilful :
    So Ming was good because we had lots of wool? Whitlam was no good because of the oil shocks?
    Ahh, doesn’t matter.

    Yes, that is how the electorate judged matters.

    Ming wallowed in the “Lucky Country”, Whitlam was booted out just as macroeconomic instability accelerated, and capitalists wanted the razor of Fraser.

    Not ‘wool’ and ‘oil shocks’ only but also associated aspects of the various times (Connor’s borrowing etc for Whitlam, Cold war shenannigans etc for Ming).

  21. Alice
    February 9th, 2011 at 19:39 | #21

    @wilful
    One shouldnt ever forget the public spending that went on under Ming. He wasnt, at least caught up, in the current fervour of conservatives to shrin k the government to the point of total ineptitude and failure. In fact it was Ming who said “there is no difference between public investment and private investment”. There isnt. If such fearless (of ratings agencies and the global banks and the world bank “advice”) conservatives actually led once in this country – for gods sake throw the ratings agencies and the global banks out and let the Mings lead again. (yes there was a bit too much war mongering from him – but is it not a small price to pay to prevent the total destruction of government and neglect of government infrastructure we see around us from both labor and liberal).

    Tell me, could Ming have managed an economy our size…. now…..and still delivered and protected decent public services as he did back then??

    Because if he could (and I suspect he could better than any of the media fool politicians we have now) – then where is the new Ming?

    Im a swinging voter. Just show me someone, anyone, who isnt a fool to vote for..I dont care what side they are on.

  22. Jim Birch
    February 10th, 2011 at 08:49 | #22

    @Alice

    Tell me, could Ming have managed an economy our size…. now…..and still delivered and protected decent public services as he did back then??

    Interesting question. Certainly in Ming’s day there wasn’t the media crawling all over everything trying to extract the most lower brain activity from everything. Most of his political period was pre-television and certainly before the 3 second sound grab. Politicians were expected to be able to sustain an argument and (believe it or not) a lot of significant policy debate actually took place on the floor of the house. This is a very tar cry from current media avididity for determining the authenticity of Gillard’s tears or how close Abbott came to decking a reporter. Personality was a minor interest, not the main game, as attested by the number of drunks, womanisers, curmudgeons, cripples, and plain ugly men who carried out successful political careers prior to the time of media saturation.

  23. Alice
    February 10th, 2011 at 19:12 | #23

    @Jim Birch
    Well Jim…al I can say is that if “sh*t happens” then its certainly happened to our political debates and speeches and quality etc and you can read all about it in the news…every day (a daily diet of tripe in actual fact – Im beyond gagging – but Im not desensitised – I just want the Murdoch low level bogan trash media outta town).

  24. paul walter
    February 12th, 2011 at 14:25 | #24

    By thelookof it this might prove prescient. Bishop has outflanked Abbott as to his redneck position and she can’t be any more unelectable than Abbott let alone any more irrational.

  25. gerard
    February 14th, 2011 at 10:50 | #25

    54% Coalition on 2PP.

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