Will our politicians continue to ‘make it rain’ or tighten up the drawstrings and cut off all circulation?
Economics, Dear Watson
The very words ‘economic policy’ usually send a shudder through my system and provoke a quick grab for the radio dial. I would sooner listen to notable degenerates, Kyle and Jackie O, and let them fill my ears with vile rumour and trash, than hear another politician outline their approach to addressing the budget deficit. But this week, I swallowed my panic and decided to listen to the respective plans of our would-be leaders.
In doing so, I learned a few things.
I learned that Labor aim to get rid of the deficit over ten years, and Liberal sooner. I learned that neither party believes the other will achieve it. And I also learned the expression ‘fiscal contraction’, which made me giggle.
Did I learn any clear strategies as to how they are going to achieve their goals? No. Would I have hung around to listen had either party actually gone into the details? Most certainly not. Perhaps this is why details are so rare in politics. People want broad brush strokes and easy-to-understand Mr. Squiggle drawings. Details are for fashion designers and contract lawyers.
I really don’t believe that either side is so incompetent that it would send this country to rack and ruin. Do you? Do Liberal voters really believe that Labor, under Shorten, would see our economy collapse like Greece? Yes, Kevin Rudd was an overreaching lunatic, but Shorten does seem a little more grounded, albeit far less charismatic.*
The Greeks just beat us in the soccer anyway, so they can’t be going that bad.
And is this budget deficit really so pressing as the media would have us believe? Are we really broke? Are loan sharks coming in hot to break all our legs? I highly doubt it. Chipping away at it over ten years actually seems like a sensible plan to me. Rather than just immediately tightening the draw strings and screaming at the kids “We’re eating fucking Wonder White until we’ve paid off Mummy’s gambling debts!” can’t we just cut back on the truffle oil in our scrambled eggs for a while?
I asked an economist what he thought and he said “Fuck, how good were the Fine Young Cannibals?” and that “Our current situation is not diabolical, but if the next government doesn’t make a concerted effort to reduce it, it will start becoming a major issue.”
This tells me that a) it’s not such a big deal, though we should probably start getting our shit together, and b) that economists have terrible taste in music. Two things I have always suspected.
Like a raving mad homeless man on a city corner, this week McClintock is screaming about big issues. Although, in truth, he barely discuss them at all.
The Big Issues
As Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski said, “I got issues, man.”
Or was it “a rash”?
Perhaps it was both.
Nevertheless, this country has issues, man!
We’re drowning in refugees, cheap milk, a budget deficit and The Great Barrier Reef is dying before our very eyes. All this while our planet slowly heats up in a desperate attempt to kill us all (can you blame it?). I don’t mean to understate it here, but I think we’re fucked. Thank heaven Bill and Malcolm have all the answers. Don’t they?
I’m not sure …
Trying to get a gauge on the major parties positions on big issues this week has been tricky. Especially as several of their own candidates have shown they don’t even know what they are. Usually this wouldn’t bother me so much – heck, I don’t even know my own position on some of the issues – but what was alarming was that a couple of the heavy-hitters were guilty of this heinous crime.
What do I care if some Liberal schmuck running for office in Shitsville, South Australia, doesn’t know his party’s policy on Medicare? No offence to those in Shitsville, but Julie Bishop and Sarah Hanson-Young are figureheads of their parties. Strong, articulate and powerful women who have their shit together, basically. But they dropped the ball this week. Will they come back like Thurston or capitulate like [insert any New South Welshman]? Only time will tell.
The biggest issue this week was, of course, State of Origin. New South Wales and Queensland electorates certainly couldn’t give two hoots about what was going on in politics over the past seven days. Queenslanders especially.
Should another nation ever want to invade Queensland, Origin week would be a good time to do it. If they poured their army across the border on the Wednesday afternoon, I doubt anyone would notice. As long as they avoided Caxton Street, but they could always just dress their soldiers in maroon and most would think it a parade.
They would need to ensure full and secure control of all government buildings come Thursday though. Lest they’re faced with an army of wild eyed, fiercely proud, off-purple lunatics that morning. Nursing mild hangovers and a salivating, rabid loyalty to their state, they’re likely to come with everything they’ve got. Win or lose, the night before.
So this is perhaps why, in a week when Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party MP Robert Borsak admitted to killing and eating Dumbo, and probably also consuming Bambi’s mum, Bill Shorten’s blooper in calling Queensland ‘the Storm’ may have been the most costly by far. He surely thought it a harmless faux-pas, quickly forgotten and consigned to the chuckle factory, but he has certainly lost votes.
You might be able to fuck with a Queenslander’s Super and get away with it, but you certainly can’t disrespect Cam and the boys.
In this eight week tribute to jibber-jabber, TPA’s Alasdair McClintock takes us through the highs and lows of the upcoming federal election. Proving, once and for all, that when it comes to politics, he has no idea what he’s talking about.
What kind of lunatic wants to lead this great country of ours? Are they so naive they think they can make a difference?
Or just power-mad degenerates who yearn for their names in the history books?
It is a thankless job. Australia, as a whole, is such a fickle beast. We are as vile, ruthless and vicious as we are open, forgiving and thankful. So quick to turn on each other, then defend one and other should someone else join in the vitriol. Soaked to our eyeballs in Bundaberg Rum and Victoria Bitter, we are convinced of our own ability to ‘do a better job’ leading the country than those who actually jump through the hoops and attempt it.
And why not? Our leaders have been about as productive as Mitchell Pearce’s State of Origin career of late. Thankfully, the pooches in Canberra have been left out of the scandals, but how long will that last for?
We’ve had our fair share of dreamers, narcissists, holy men and alcoholics. Now we have two gnomes men. Driven by what? Power? Fame? Ego? Sex? I can’t imagine many ridgey-didge, jaw-dropping political groupies are roaming the streets of the nation’s capital, desperate for some pasty, white, middle aged flesh to be pressed up against them. So I’m certain it can’t be the sex. You don’t need to be a politician to walk into an S&M club.
And it’s certainly not for the fortune.
Malcolm ‘Harbourside Mansion’ Turnbull could probably buy the country if he wanted to. Wiping out this all powerful budget deficit in one fell swoop, with enough spare change for some raspberry daiquiris at Casablanca in Double Bay. And Bill “Beaconsfield” Shorten could surely make more money in the private sector. Doing what? I don’t know. I’m not sure he’s doing anything now, as it is.
So if not sex, money or power – the traditional motivations of the red-blooded male – it must be ego. Ego: the only thing, apart from our thumbs, that separates us from the monkeys. Or so I’m led to believe. I’ve met some pretty egotistical monkeys.
A wise Venezuelan once said to me “Do you know that the problem with the human race is, Aldo?” He then wrote ‘EGO’ in bold capital letters on the notepad in front of him, crossed it out with a furious slash, and confronted me with a tremendous stare that shook me to my boots. Thank you, Roberto. You are an intimidating man, but wise nonetheless.
He was right, of course. In a way. Ego is as much our downfall as it is our success. Could you trust a man driven solely by ego? Maybe, if his interests aligned with yours. Should you? No. Because his interests will never fully align with anyone but himself.
And these are short men, do not forget.* Short men have very little but their egos to keep them going. History has shown us what short men are willing to do, and as exemplified so elegantly in the circus that is the US presidential race, about the worst thing you can do to a proud man is label anything about him “short”.
Needless to say, the Opposition leader has the very word in his last name. This would have been an intolerable cruelty in his high school days. What demons from the schoolyard is Bill still carrying with him? He strikes me as a master manipulator (as all good politicians are) and I do not doubt for a second he soon learned to use bigger kids to act out his dirty work. Bill’s Goons, if you will. Perhaps it’s why he went on to work with the unions.
Turnbull, on the other hand, seems to have fooled himself into believing he could actually be our saviour. From what, Malcolm? Flat screen TVs and annual trips to Bali? You did save us from Tony Abbott, I will give you that, but he still looms like a menacing shadow, all the way from the Northern Beaches to your Point Piper palace. You can’t stab the devil in the back and expect him to go quietly.
However ignorant, evil and misguided as Abbott was, at least he made decisions. Great leaders are known for their decision making and I don’t think Turnbull even confidently picks his tie in the morning. And that should be his forte. We all fell in love with his charming, self-assured style, when he had no real responsibility and the time to subscribe to fad diets and detoxing. He was once accused of being all style and no substance, but that would now be a generous appraisal.
His time in power must have worn him and his self-belief down to all time lows. The cracks are showing. Gone is the glint in his eye and the charming confidence that only comes with someone who has made their fortune and knows they are a success. Now he looks tired and jaded. He has learned it is near impossible to make a difference and still make everyone happy. Because we are all selfish beings who both fear and love our neighbours and don’t even really know what we want, but we sure as hell know we want it now. One suspects, if it weren’t for his ego, he would pull out of this caper altogether.
So who should we vote for come election day? Which of these men is least likely to completely cock things up for us all? Is it even possible for them to make that big a difference to our daily lives? I can’t imagine my social media feed is going to change too dramatically either way. Is Shorten going to make Game of Thrones spoilers punishable by public flogging? I don’t think so.
For all this talk of the ‘great divide’ between the two major parties, they all seem the same bunch of douchebags to me.