One thing that the world of Twitter has taught me is that, if the Liberal Party is a very broad church, as someone or other is always saying, the Left is simply a place without walls or windows or doors. It is bound by nothing. But it took Twitter to make this clear.
I live in a town surrounded by mines, and filled with National Voters. These are people who have voted that way for generations, and will always vote conservative, come what may. There are a good few Liberals among them, very few Labor supporters, and some Greens, mostly farmers who have realized which side their bread is buttered on, but not many of them. Our local National Party member, Mark Coulton, will romp it in, yet again.
But mostly, here in my little town, people don’t really want to talk about politics. ‘Politicians are all the same’ ‘Politics doesn’t affect me’ and ‘Kate stop being boring’ are too often the refrain, if you mention anything political, even lightly. Except the National voters of course, who are loud and proud and very unkind to those of us who do not think the way they do. On election day, there is never a Greens table, handing out how to vote forms. And often no Labor people either. It’s Lib/Nat all the way.
So, making my way onto Twitter, not knowing what to anticipate, was like finding a new home, where I least expected it.
Because I didn’t understand the true nature of the 'progressive side of the political spectrum' in this country, until then.
'Diverse' doesn’t quite cover it.
At this point I have been unfollowed and/or blocked by Labor supporters and Greens supporters. Been called a "Liberal mole", by both.
And that is all fine.
What is not fine is this: Many Labor supporters have the view that "once Bill Shorten is established as the Prime Minister, all will be well". Asylum seekers will then be treated better. And the poor will have a chance. Penalty rates will be secure. And Gonski will be funded for the whole six years.
But where is the evidence for this?
The evidence is quite to the contrary.
Labor have been marching side by side with the Liberals right through the notorious Abbott era, with Bill supporting Border Force, the inhumane detention of asylum seekers, the harvesting of meta data and now? Labor have bought into the whole neo-liberal LNP agenda, much loved of the IPA, and even serious, seemingly-centrist journalists. Labor must now "balance the Budget", they have to be "tough on spending" and "tough on cutting" and be a pale shadow of a conservative government ruled by a PM who likens "governing a country" to "running a corporation".
Tony Abbott once said that we are "open for business" and Malcolm has run with this. He appointed the ex-Immigration Minister Morrison, a man who is not on top of his Treasurer’s portfolio, and who is still the king of the "three-word slogan", having his weekly ‘chinwag’ with shock-jock Ray Hadley.
These people are fresh for the plucking, but mostly sail on with little attack.
Shorten could not even bring himself to mention 'climate change' recently, as he visited storm-battered areas of the country. And Bill actually does talk about climate change.
But the Liberals practically coined the word ‘politicisation’ and now any reference to anything they don’t want mentioned or any criticism of LNP policy elicits a knee-jerk attack response that tolerates no acknowledgment that these people live in a purely political world; heaven forbid that anything might be referenced in terms of politics.
Is this high farce? It has to be.
Why, why have Labor bought into this?
But the biggest problem is that dyed-in-the-wool Labor voters are perpetuating the myth that, once in power, Labor will do the right thing.
But as of now, Bill hasn’t even acknowledged the dire straits of people living on welfare in this country, the fact that it hasn’t been raised for decades and that poverty impoverishes and destroys the lives of the most needy. It was Bill who would not countenance any changes to hardline asylum seeker policy, at last July’s Labor conference. And now Bowen won’t confirm that penalty rates will be protected. Cuts to welfare are on the cards and those locked up offshore have no idea what a Labor government might do. Labor on a recent Friday waved through a $1b of cuts from the Abbott era and, not knowing what kind of Senate we might have, who knows? They might get passed. Maybe they won’t. But this is risky business.
We have two neo-liberal parties and, as disappointing as it is, perhaps it is to be expected.
What is not okay is for Labor supporters to delude themselves that Labor, any longer, aspire to Curtin's "light on the hill". bobcarrblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/john-curtin-labors-durable-hero/ …
Gough Whitlam would not have truckled under on any agenda he believed in. And no, I don’t believe he would have let Murdoch push him around, either. He made mistakes, yes, but he was brave and reckless, and this Labor Party is not. They are pragmatic politicians.
As Labor Twitterers keep saying, it is the "art of the possible" and of course, that is true. But shouldn’t we at least be "aiming for" the impossible?
This is 2nd in the BloggerMe Series "who2vote4 & Y?" A series of blogs by independent thinkers on the coming Australian federal election 2016