Deterring Democracy At Home
Amazingly, and I do thank you all, people have been on my case to write more about politics. As you know I do it from time to time and then live in embarrassment for days afterwards because I feel I should know better than to put any faith in any politician. Nonetheless we are all political animals and as some auteur said “all films are political. Some are intentional and other are not, but they’re all political”, which is to say even if I assiduously avoided writing about politics here, well, even that is politics.
The other discouraging thing is that Australia voted in a clearly intellectually inferior, intellectually dishonest, and dare I say flat out wrong party into Government. I’ve written a few times why a Tony Abbott government would be disaster while he was in opposition, but now that it has come to pass I feel great difficulty in summoning up the urge to cover the old terrain. Still, I figure I must because if I shut up, then nobody will speak up for me. It was bad enough when a an ALP Prime Minister like Julia Gillard would not speak for me and decidedly, pointed say she was not a social democrat; it’s much worse living under a Liberal-National coalition government where it is clear they only speak for those with money (and not necessarily class).
The news that Tony Abbott is trying to control the media as much as possible and has turned into a control freak is not surprising. Some have pointed out Kevin Rudd was struck by this impulse and this is true. The so-called ‘discipline’ that political leadership demands means that they want to control the message as much as possible, but in a classic case of Marshall McLuhan, the message becomes the medium where we can read all sorts of things into Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin’s attempt to stem the flow of information. They’re clearly thinking like the North Korean Leadership that thinks if the population don’t hear about it, there won’t be trouble. This has resulted in the contention that the boats won’t be towed back as suggested by Tony Abbott prior to the election – that he was merely suggesting that this might be an option.
Excuse me but, please explain how this isn’t fraudulent? I don’t want the boats towed back, but if I were a voter who wanted Tony to order the navy to tow back the boats (“damn the difficulty, damn the consequences!”), I’d be mightily miffed that he’s backed down this quickly. The Coalition have even stopped telling us when boats arrived, and instead will give us a tally once a week, hoping to hose it down as an issue. And as I watch the news media (because I’m still a news junkie) the press are doing a terrible job of holding Tony Abbott to account on any of these kinds of stupid promises he made in the run up to the election. It really is the pits, and that’s just the boats issue.
Readers may recall that I pointed out prior to the election that the most important issue for Australia’s future industry was the NBN, and sure enough the LNP Coalition have marched in and started gutting it. Now, I don’t know about you but the future industry is digital, future industrial growth is digital, and to that end the ALP government went about building the NBN.
Just to jog your brain, get a load of this:
Right now Google is running this experimental network in Kansas that is running at roughly 8.5times the speed of the best case scenario of the NBN. In this context, Kansas – the city in the state that wants to teach Creationism in science classes – has spawned a tech industry of startups trying to capitalise on this speed. This is clearly the future of cutting edge industry instead of the idiotic business of digging commodities out of the ground be they iron ore coal or agricultural produce. And even on the best day, the best bits of the NBN won’t match what Google has put in Kansas.
Meanwhile in Australia the Coalition Government has proceeded to gut the board, install Ziggy Sitkowski, and has said that those places which haven’t got fibre to the house will get copper to the node. The problem is that our copper has not been maintained since about 2008 (thanks to Sol Trujillo’s cost-cutting), and it’s falling apart in some areas. But we’d have to pay extra for the fibre to the house and at the moment Telstra charges $500-$800 to put any cable from the node to your house, while some places with NBN already installed had it done free. This has got to be constitutionally wrong!! Somebody work up a test case here please!! And why is this happening? Because Tony Abbott and his government don’t believe that there could be a digital industry future for Australia. That’s it. The Australia he and his mentally challenged colleagues envisages is essentially the 1950s where they don’t even have Television. And this explains why they went to the polls without even an Arts policy.
Worse still, all the newspapers bar The Age in Melbourne supported these luddites in their editorials, and The Age to their credit supported the ALP on the back of their broadband policy. The LNP are so backward looking, when they talk about infrastructure, they’re talking about roads!
Thus it is that the LNP are handing over money to the NSW Government to build WestConnex, the big tollway linkup proposed by Infrastructure NSW, headed up by Nick Greiner (who has since resigned). Now, roads are infrastructure true enough but Tollways are terrible things to be building. Tolls, as imposed in the Medieval era did plenty to stifle trade and development so the thing that most renaissance princes did was to abolish them. It’s quite amazing that we’ve allowed ourselves at this point in history back into thinking that paying tolls for roads is somehow okay. But these idiotic notions arise because idiotic MBA types have run for office saying that the government is somehow like a business and should be making money from its infrastructure. And let’s not forget that most of these idiotic MBA types from the Harvard Business School and their derivative copiers; vote LNP; and work on boards for companies that build and administer these toll roads. But hey, let’s build more roads even though as infrastructure goes, roads do not directly contribute to the productivity of the economy. And Pay a private company to build it. And let them collect medieval tolls. Reward the conglomerate rent-seekers all the while claiming to be on the side of Small Business.
The scary thing is that none of these contradictions matter to the cognitively dissonant LNP. Which just goes to show just how stupid these people are. It’s like that old ‘Sixth Sense’ joke: “I see stupid all the time and they just don’t know that they’re stupid,”; it certainly applies to the LNP government, one month in.