Hi my faithful readers.
I’ve been away from blogging for a while, fighting the occasional bouts of crippling anxiety and the ever present Black Dog while trying to keep all the plates of life spinning. I’m not quite sure if it’s classic depression I’ve got, or a perfectly reasonable emotional reaction to the rise of the Alt-Right political movement, (I mean Trump???? Really???? USA what were you thinking? You can’t polish a turd, but you can give it a spraytan and a combover, and apparently it becomes the POTUS.)
Revolving door anyone?
Here in the land of Aus. we have our own problems with our own government. Remind me again, who’s the PM this week? Despite popular concensus, the LNP seem determined to follow the path right one Prime Minister at a time. (What lasts longer an Aussie PM or an toffee apple?)
Next year there will be an Election and we’ll see how that goes when the dust settles. While there’s a chance the Government will pull something out of the bag, but with the polls telling a different story, it looks like the Right have gone about as Alt as they can.
I have hope that we might just be at the tipping point, having swung about as far right as most Aussies can stomach. The far right of politics seem bent on marching their coal fired climate bus, complete with the Nationalism flag and God at the wheel to within spitting distance of a fascist state. We’ve all heard of WWII, right, something about Nationalism and skin colour.
It took about two generations to begin to clear the leftover war baggage in Australian Government. Political leaders stopped searching for Reds under the bed to be able to think about a bigger picture. The process wasn’t quick. Fear remained policy in Canberra until the late 60’s/early 70’s. Vietnam put a stop to that.
It was a gradual awakening, a realisation that maybe there were better ways to solve disputes than shooting at each other. Maybe there were things to do for those they governed, like universal Health Care, Free University, all of which the current crop of pollies took advantage when they were younger.
Gough Whitlam got us out of Vietnam. He tried to swing the debate to the left, trying to meet the basic needs we Aussies take for granted today. Government for the many. To the sound of tv pop stars singing It’s Time arose a movement towards understanding we are all human beings, irrespective of the amount of melanin in our skin.
We made huge gains under Gough in the realms of equality, social equity, Justice, arts, etc, not to mention having a red hot go at saying no to the US, Re:Vietnam. And as we all know, between US fears Gough was a commie, and the GG John Kerr, Gough didn’t survive in ’75.
Luckily his legacy was a noticeable swing left, away from conservative rule, which kept stability but stifled social progress.
In the vast wide open areas that fill the guts of Australia, the land of strange and deadly animals, people were just getting on with their lives. They were trying to beat the hail, droughts, bushfires, floods and flies to eek out a living from the ground. The Labor Government was never a great friend to the people of the bush nor (at that time) big business. So it was inevitable a collective of 1950’s thinkers in Lowes’ suits would always keep a stranglehold on the purse strings.
Gough’s Labor Government moved hard and fast to change the way the country was run. They supported the idea of government for the Majority of people. In the Whitlam Labor years, we saw introductions such as Medical Healthcare put in place, social welfare improvements, a film industry, the seeds of Indigenous reconciliation and lifting everyone in Australia to live above the poverty line. But it was too much too fast. Change is Hard!
At this point the Fraser Coalition Government stepped in and Malcolm (Fraser not Turnbull, we have a thing for Mal’s in Australia,) with a little help from the Governor General and the CIA, (because the US just had to stop them Commies,) orchestrated the dismissal. Of course Old Money and Old men had a hand in it all. They wanted to hold onto the power they’d controlled for more than 30 years
Using fear and promises, stick and carrot, the Old Farts in the background pulled strings and set this whole mess in motion. It seemed that we’d gone about as far left as they’d let us get. Th old money and old white men had won. The Political Pendulum slowed, stopped and began to swing back towards the centre. Fraser wasn’t a bad guy, though I thought so at the time. I was a pretty incensed 11 year old.
By the time the dust settled on our Aussie version of Julius Ceasar, things were actually not that bad. The Liberal party had curbed the worst of the financial bleed that trying to change everything at once puts on an economy, but he didn’t see the pendulum gaining momentum in the backswing. His comments in later life would suggest he disagreed with the pendulum upswing on the right side.
The Hawke Keating Labour years followed and they continued to strengthen the social, societal side of things, and they solidified the finances because they approached the changes at a slower place, soothing the Center by playing the Right and Left. They didn’t see the Pendulum picking up speed.
Fraser was pretty progressive, with more center political values. This was late cold war era remember, and we had a lot of 30 year old war babies with families and the Nuke of Damocles hanging over there head. He saw no need to slow the pendulum as it raced through the lowpoint of the arc in the direction of Alt-Right hell.
Then little Johnny Howard got rolled out by the old money/old whiteguys, (OM/OWG) of business and politics. Riding high on the wave of prosperity that comes from digging up and selling the dirt from under us, Howard’s Lib/Nat Coalition spent up big. Johnny used the mining money to keep most people happy most of the time, which was not such a bad thing, though 18% loan interest was killing us. On the fringes of financial ruin, most people were hanging on. But Howard didn’t even see the pendulm rising in its arc and heading for the aforementioned Nazi Horror Sequel.
Anyway, as the millennium closed, we discovered that the big wide world we’d been selling our dirt to was in trouble. The disaffected, (those that the rich and powerful folk had screwed over for the last umpteen years by bombing and stealing their ancestral resources), put the fear of religious extremists into everyone and airplanes became missiles. While we on the fringes suggested talking, little Johnny Howard was a child of WWII and he reacted as would be expected. He sent troops, because blah blah blah US interests.
War affected us personally again, as we learned you can’t be in this world without being involved, for better or worse. The OM/OWGs of the world saw their opportunity. Do we really not know that these wars are making the the OWGs billionaires. War baby Howard used the Middle East as propagnada, along with the ever present US of A’s assistance, and distracted everyone from the oncoming pendulum.
Then came Rudd/Gillard/Rudd, a half hearted attempt from the left of politics to prove they could be just as right wing as the Lib/Nats. I honestly miss Juila Gillard, who achieved much despite needing the constant support of the crossbench. Rudd not so much.
Their biggest error was to meet cruelty with cruelty regarding refugees. The Alt-right’s screeching about invasion and sovereign borders had an impact, and the rest of us were silent when we should have spoken out. Evil flourishes when good people do nothing. Too many of us are afraid of headscarves and beards, and the alt-right know how to push the xenophobic buttons. Thus Labor raised the cruelty levels to appease the Alt-right. It failed of course, the Alt Right do not play well with others and the heartland of Labor’s support could see they’d lost there way.
So began the Current Coalition Government’s turn in office, on a promise that they’d never play PM musical chairs. And so began the turmoil. Nobodies happy except big buissness and foreign interests as our debt has ballooned and confidence in the future has collapsed.
As for the refugees, the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government have continued to up the cruelty ante, both on refugees in offshore detention, (Read concentration camps,) and the disadvantaged at home. This government has spent the years lining their pockets and trickling on the rest of us. Of course, metaphorically, it’s been a bloodbath.
Aussies love their country, but we’re realistic enough to see we’re a part of this world, and hiding behind the flag and Advance Australia Fair, calling anyone who says, look you’ve gone too far, UnAustralian. All I can say is they obviously live in a very different universe to the rest of us.
The time has come to see that unquestioning Nationalism is a recipe for social and political suicide. Most Aussies don’t like Nazis, and we’re not real found of those who want to stand in the alt-right wasteland, blaming everyone but themselves.
So as the new elections loom on the horizon like a roadside Macca’s after a long drive, we have a chance to change things. To slow the pendulum,and get it heading back towards the middle ground. Use your vote carefully, distribute your own preferences and know who you’re voting for.
Think about the future, and get involved.
Oh, and don’t vote for nazis.