Forget ‘The Political Compass’ – Just Take a Drive

It’s a long-known fact that everyone’s political views, no matter how different, are, in their own eyes, exactly in the centre, or ‘centre-left’ if they’re far-right. But, of course, in reality, this cannot be true for everyone – my friends hated my controversial decision to grow a mullet, so I’d say they’re more conservative than me, for instance. So how does one objectively measure how liberal or conservative a person is, if we’re not to trust their own judgement? Some might point to online tests, most notably The Political Compass, but these tests, whilst giving you a detailed picture of your standing in relation to the rest of the world and the major political parties of your country, take up to fifteen minutes, and will add up to five cents to your power bill. My newly-devised method, meanwhile, gives you a guess that may occasionally be accurate in a mere half-hour, and will cost you nothing provided you’re good at scabbing lifts off people.

You see, a person’s attitude to driving is, actually, quite relevant to their political stance. Let me explain. A forever unbroken rule of driving is that everyone faster than you is too fast, and everyone slower than you is too slow, regardless of your actual speed. However, different people respond to higher/lower speeds differently, and here is where I make my judgement. If one were to see a minivan with tyres thinner than our taxes for Qantas driving at below the speed limit and didn’t mind, I would contend that they are probably liberal-minded, as it shows they’ve kept an open mind to the possibility that different drivers and cars may have different speeds at which they are comfortable. If, however, a driver doing 80km/h in a 100 zone gives a car zooming past at 93 an indignant stare pretending to be dismissive (well that’s what he did to me), I would contend that he is absolutely not open-minded, as he refused to consider looking at the road though anyone else’s point of view.

By the way, he drove a light green Commodore Calais, probably VY model, on the Hume Freeway, near Watsonia in Melbourne, about a month ago. You’re damn right I’m bitter.

This method of political diagnosis has strong implications. For instance, we can now predict the transport policies of either party if they are to become government (since we still have no idea who it’s going to be). If Turnbull comes into power, we can be sure that speeding fines will be increased. I can see him complaining about the slow car already: “This guy’s doing a bad job, his speed isn’t showing any growth….” If, on the other hand, Shorten gets in … things will probably stay about where they are now, actually, because all he’d say upon seeing a slower car is ‘Medicare’, having lost the remainder of his vocabulary during the election campaign. If the Greens got into power though, we’d expect the only proper system of roads, the autobahn, except that they’re against using petrol. It’s a horrible catch-22 for them. So basically, things are going to be bad for drivers in Australia. Sorry fellas.

Oh, and I won’t hide it – woe is the person in front of me who dares to drive anything more than 2km/h below the speed limit. Especially if they’re driving Commodores.

-Z

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Deja vote

Its been quite a while since I posted last. I’ve let down our loyal reader…mum? Are you still reading our blog? Anyway, here’s a bonus post to make up for it, and to ruin what was left of our posting schedule. The post is as follows;

I came to the UK recently and thought cleverly to myself: “I’ve escaped the boring as shit failure that is the impending Australian state and federal elections! Woohoo!” I will un-caps that sentence for your comfort. But I’m a little pissed, because as soon as I arrived here in “the mother cuntry” I found that they were having their own bloody election. It gets worse though, because it’s identical to Australia’s. Dun dun duuuun! Now, it will become, if it isn’t already, painfully obvious that my political views are simple, and childishly ignorant. So at best I hope this tantrum rant will have a little value as some sort of gauge of the average voter’s simple gut reaction.

Here in merry England they have a conservative government that failed to deliver anything worthwhile in their miserable term in office. This government is warning against voting for the, I think vaguely left, but mainly vague in expression, opposition party which has been so changeable that it might as well be run by a poker machine. This should already sound extremely familiar to anyone back home. The government’s done nothing except what we didn’t want them to do and the opposition might as well be a hive of backstabbing bees all wanting to be Queen and not caring what grade of honey they make in the meantime. But the similarities don’t end here.

Back home dear old Tone has been dilly-dallying with submarine tenderising or evaluating, whatever. The government here is doing the same, only with nuclear missiles, so a bit more serious than the “spaceships of the ocean” we’re so tired of worrying about. The opposition here are a rebranded rag tag group of green eyed dickheads and nobody, rightly, trusts them to replace the bombs. The government however, like back home, failed to deliver on their promises made last election, so no-one trusts them either.

Back home our successive governments weren’t happy with our platter of immigration control options, so instead, opted for variations of the toilet bowl and pig-trough methods of managing the poor humans who are unfortunate enough to be forced to come to Aus. Of course, here in the UK they have a similar situation; the conservatives are too weak to tell their racist constituents to hang themselves or stay off their side, so they umm and arr and wait for Germany to excuse whatever they do. The opposition do the same thing and the independents brandish pitch forks and say ugg! So there’s no hope of the country controlling its immigration barring some lucky reintroduction of the plague.

And the fucking posters everywhere are irritating as fuck. At least they don’t have Clive Palmer’s face on them.

-W

So, This Tony Abbott Nonsense….

“Tony Abbott might get kicked out! Well, no one’s challenging him … but … it’s gonna happen … probably….”
-all the political news I’ve read recently

Now, from the outset, let’s be clear. I, like apparently everyone else in Australia, don’t like Tony Abbott as Prime Minister of Australia. I mean, he tries to evoke some sort of Manly Bronzed Aussie Mateship in what he believes is the majority of his electorate, but he doesn’t promote drinking beer? Seriously, Hawke cried several times on national TV and he’s still more of a man than Abbott. I could also bore you with how bad his policies are for Australia but I’m sure someone else already has. The point is, I don’t like Abbott. Okay? Good, because I’m going to defend him now.

As I see it, we’ve two issues here: the media and the backbenchers. They’re sort of connected and feeding off each other at the moment, like the very hungry caterpillar. First, the backbenchers. Listen here. Grow the hell up. The party does not exist for your own career. Sure, fight for your electorate, but don’t make it public and damage your own party, which got you elected and is the reason you have any semblance of relevance at all. Mind you, this isn’t exactly new; there’s been lots of mouthy unliked backbenchers in the past – who can forget Wilson “Iron Bar” Tuckey, the backbencher that always sat in front of the cameras (I’m sure it was just a coincidence…) during parliament sessions? Oh wait, you did forget him? Don’t worry, I only just thought of him myself. Nevertheless, mouthy backbenchers, one can argue, are an integral segment of political parties; they can say controversial things (usually stupid but there are occasional exceptions) without too much fear of reprisal, unlike ministers. They’ll always be around.

So why am I so annoyed now, and why should you be too? Well, mouthy backbenchers were mostly harmless; they said a lot of edgy against-the-grain stuff to puff themselves up for the media but they never really achieved anything. That is, until Rudd. Rudd was thrown out, whilst in government, by edgy party members who got scared of losing. It was a freak event, something that shouldn’t have happened and should never happen again. Or so you’d think. Right now, the same thing is happening; Liberal Party members are getting anxious and apparently lobbying for a leadership change.

Is this now the precedent? Every time backbenchers get edgy from the polls, they try to throw out an elected leader of Australia? Hell, Abbott thinks The Average Voter is impressed by iron man participation more than intellectual credentials, and he has a whole team of people and apparently millions of dollars analysing them. Are we going to say that when these people are uneasy, mid-term, we’re going to take drastic action? While you’re at it, you might as well build a new school because kids have been telling you they don’t like going. We already make jokes about how long it takes for progress to take place here, so are we going to make this new layer of caution that apparently every post-Rudd prime minister has to exercise? Visionary governments will always have times of unpopularity during their terms; they can’t only do the things The Average Voter wants if there is to be any real progress. And I know, I know – Abbott stands for anything but progress, but we can’t make exceptions here. Leadership change is bad for a party, bad for a government, bad for the country.

And the media. There is no news. So please for the love of god, stop ‘speculating’. All this speculation and attention is, I’m fairly sure, 50% of the reason why Rudd was kicked. Of course, report facts and issues that are in the public interest, but let’s be honest, there’s a seriously disproportionate number of articles about the current situation, whose latest bit of news is that there is still no candidate willing to contest Abbott. The thing is, media attention worries people far more than opinion polls; it’s not so much a spotlight on the situation, more a death ray that pulverises instead of seeing anything. If it’s shone on anything, given enough time, something will give way. If the Abbott camp wasn’t in trouble, it sure is now, and it’s going to lead to actions that would otherwise not have taken place. If journalists weren’t just being lazy and regurgitating the same crap over and over again, none of this would have happened.

What’s even worse is that those edgy backbenchers are actually feeding this death ray with leaks and shows of ‘disillusionment’ (spell check assures me that’s a word). They feed information in hopes of bringing about a change of leadership, which news outlets gobble up to make a news story, which brings about more panic within the party, which brings about more leaks. It’s a cycle of destruction that benefits the news outlets but destroys the public image of the party and is sure as hell not going to help those leakers get re-elected. Scott Morrison’s done what he should be doing (I never, ever thought I’d say that) when he told the backbenchers not to follow the Labor Party’s example and stfu.

I, for one, am hoping that Abbott does not get thrown out. I hope the Liberal Party come to their senses and ignore and/or placate the media with something other than a leadership change, not just for their own sake, but for the sake of Australian politics. If mass media, in the aim of getting ever more readers, can bring down a second elected prime minister in 8 years, we can forget about action on climate change, a proper NBN, legalising gay marriage, and the many other very-slightly-controversial reforms Australia needs. We make jokes about America’s difficulties in passing universal healthcare, but ask yourself, if we didn’t have a national healthcare scheme, would we, in our current form, enact one? Or would we have The Average Voter saying it’d only help dole bludgers and have it shouted down by edgy backbenchers and The Herald Sun?

-Z