Fear Of The Unknown Unknowns

Sometimes ‘The People’ Are Idiots

The unthinkable is about to happen. No, not World War III, but an Abbott government is about to get in if the polls are to believed. This is about as swift a turn to the right as you can get and show what ingrates and opportunists the political middle ground of this country can be. But the bit that gets me the most is that the swinging middle of the electorate is about to vote into office a decidedly sorry lot who have refused to have their costings looked at until 3 minutes to midnight in the election. If their intellectual dishonesty doesn’t stink to high heaven, their efforts in government surely will because these people are banking on doing some pretty stupid things.

A couple of days I ago, I pointed out that their policy on the internet and broadband alone should disqualify them from taking office, but close behind their idiotic NBN policy is their climate policy – their so-called Direct Action plan. I know it’s late in the game and we’re all past reading stuff, but here’s a link from Pleiades that’s worth reading: Part I & Part II. In Malcolm Turnbull’s own words:

Because most capital equipment, especially in the energy sector, has lives running into many decades, the business is going to require assurance that the government subsidy will match the life of the asset – so running well beyond 2020.

Which is why a subsidy scheme which terminates in 2020 will achieve very little….

Having the government pick projects for subsidy is a recipe for fiscal recklessness on a grand scale and there will always be a temptation for projects to be selected for their political appeal.

In short, having the government pay for emissions abatement, as opposed to the polluting industries themselves, is a slippery slope which can only result in higher taxes and more costly and less effective abatement of emissions.

Which is to say, Malcolm Turnbull is saying Direct Action can’t work. Certainly not in the way the Coalition have gone about selling it; and of course all of it suffers from the great credibility gap of Tony Abbott being an un-reformed climate sceptic global-warming denier.  There’s just no knowing how any of this Direct Action policy is going to work or if it’s even viable.

Pleiades also wanted me to point out to you that the Coalition do not have an Arts Policy. At all. Not a sausage. This is probably not surprising in that the arts community of this country is entirely, reflexively hostile to the Liberal and National parties, so if anything they probably just want to abolish all arts funding. (And I admit there’s an evil side to me that wouldn’t mind seeing that because I find the reflexive progressivism of Australia’s arts community to be pretty obnoxious. But that’s a different issue altogether!)

Even the alleged strong suit of the Liberals looks pretty crappy today. Here’s Michael Pascoe lambasting Joe Hockey yesterday after the Liberals gingerly released their costings.

After all the huffing and puffing, Hockeynomics is only proposing a $6 billion improvement in the budget’s cash bottom line over four years. In light of the past four years of hyperbolic fiscal posturing, this is genuinely astounding.

Even if you take year three and four budget projections seriously (and you really can’t, as everyone should now know), that works out to be an average improvement of $1.5 billion a year on a $400 billion budget – all of 0.375 per cent. It’s not even a rounding error. A half-decent Queensland storm can blow that away in half an hour.

By way of comparison, Tony Abbott is blowing $1.8 billion on reviving the novated lease/FBT tax lurk enjoyed by a minority of new car buyers, let alone an even smaller minority of voters. Consider the massive percentage increase in the Coalition’s budget improvement goal that could be obtained by implementing just this one tax policy based on principle and equity instead of subsidising a few salary packaging firms. Hey Joe, do the math.

After all the histrionic fuss and slanderous accusations about waste, the Coalition proposes to save a relatively speaking marginal 6billion. The way Abbott carried on for 3 years, you’d think that Australia was about to turn in to Greece (uhh, …no) or go into a Great Depression Mk. II (uh… no again); but of course it’s not like he’s got any real savings on offer and is instead proposing a largely skewered-to-the-wealthy paid maternity leave programme.

And frankly, you’d have to be pretty dense to be voting for any of these claptrap policies thought up in the isolation chamber of entitled sectionalists hoping to scare the electorate into voting for them. But that’s what really gets me. Middle Australia is saying to the pollsters that’s exactly what they’re going to do. Vote in the eminently unsafe, unhinged, reactionary monarchist, sectarian nutjob that is Tony Abbott as their Prime Minister.

I’ve been racking my brains as to who but those with expensive Private School educations, would be voting for this mob? The western suburbs of Sydney they say. But for the life of me I can’t imagine why the people in most need of support would vote in the people who are going to kick them in the hip pocket.

Anyway…

…the scuttlebutt has been that the polls seem to indicate 53-47 to the Coalition. Even this has been disputed by some. It turns out the polls are collected by landline, so they  skew heavily towards the retired elderly, who are in general more conservative-leaning than the young who do not bother with landlines and get about on their mobile phones. Pleiades tells me when pollsters conducted a poll that included mobile phones, it started to look more like 50-50, which is to say, a hung Parliament is once again on the cards.

Now that, would be cool because then Tony Abbott will chuck a hissy fit again and not deal, and that would leave us with another minority ALP government, just to stick it up the noses of all these idiot munchkin editors who claim stability is more important. (Only the editor of the Age had the good sense to argue in favour of the ALP based on policies; and based on policies, he had the NBN as the leading item followed by Gonski. I call that doing his job. What the hell are the other papers doing but playing cult of personality and personality politics?)

The most terrifying of them might have been the editorial on the SMH. Yes, the Sydney Morning Herald no less supports Tony Abbott. Now, I’d normally quote the most coherent part but amazingly the editorial presents very little coherence of argument about policy and mostly has knocks on how history has unfolded. Well Mr. Editor we’ve all been reading your paper and we can tell you your characterisation of the last 3years in this sorry editorial is mostly impressionistic nonsense not worthy of consideration, that somehow illogically ends up supporting Tony Abbott with a plea for stability.

Heck, Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt was ‘stable’ for 28years.  Saddam Hussein’s reign was equally stable. Muammar Gaddafi too. I don’t think stability in of itself is any good, and this is exactly the point where armchair political scientists go wrong. Niccolo Machiavelli argued in favour of a stable government, but the second condition a government had to fulfill beyond stability according to Machiavelli, was delivering the maximum benefits to the maximum number of people in the constituency. Somehow I don’t think the Liberals and Nationals are capable of the latter. So, I don’t know how we’ve come to this, but this election campaign period has exposed the editor in chief of the Sydney Morning Herald as an idiot munchkin – something I did not know until today. You sure can put that down to “you learn something new everyday”.

This election is going to be a litmus test to see how stupid people are. In future people will be able to look back and ask which way you voted. If you say you voted for the Liberals and Nationals in 2013, you will be laughed at for your stupidity.

Just don’t vote for the Coalition what ever you do.

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