Maybe it’s Us…

Remember that episode of Top Gear where they go to America and paint messages on their cars designed to cause as much offense as possible? For the uninitiated, the show’s three presenters were given a challenge (forget the obviously scripted nature of the show for a moment): write messages on each other’s cars which would make the locals damage them as much as possible. The messages proved to be too successful – after being set upon by rednecks who apparently took issue with one of the cars’ messages in support of homosexuality, a local radio station had broadcast their cars’ registration plates as a target for attack, and the crew had to wipe the messages off their cars and get out of Alabama as quickly as possible. It’s one of the most well-known scenes in Top Gear history. I thought it was hilarious.

But what the first person said in the initial confrontation was quite interesting:

person [redneck]: “Now are y’all gay looking to see how long it takes to get beat’ up in a hick town?”

This is the sort of line we’d love to ignore – something that indicates more awareness than we’d prefer her to have. Indeed, I ignored it the first time I saw the scene – I was too busy laughing with vindictive glee at the homophobes who were now getting humiliated on international television. But what she said was, I think, very telling as to the true reason for her anger. Because I don’t think she was angry about support for gays (well … not entirely at least). I think she was angry about the fact that a bunch of people who obviously thought they were better than the locals came and assumed she would be homophobic, and that she was very obviously being made fun of. In short, she was being treated as a ‘hick’. And in that context, of course she’d be angry. Wouldn’t you be angry if people spoke to you with pre-conceived notions of how you behave and think – that is, if you were being stereotyped?

Which is why I don’t understand why everyone who opposes Trump, and I do mean pretty much every single one of us, seems to think there’s nothing wrong with belittling Trump supporters, and then have the face to wonder aloud about how he manages to get so much support.

Now, don’t misunderstand me here. I do not support Trump. I, like many left-leaning people around the world (I believe the right refers to us collectively as ‘lib-tards’), support Sanders, and truly believe he can make a massive positive impact on many of the issues facing America today. And if I were forced to choose between Clinton and Trump, I would choose Clinton in less time than it takes men’s rights activists to feel sorry for themselves when watching the Ghostbusters remake (which takes a unit of time so small it can only exist in a theoretical sense). In short, Trump is, in my opinion at least, bad.

But I can’t help but hesitate when I see yet another article talking about how stupid and ignorant Trump voters are. “I just don’t understand, surely people are better than this” say the smug moderates who continue typing very obviously false attempts at exasperation and benefits of doubt in an effort to look more balanced than they really are. Well, you know what? Maybe it’s us. Maybe we’re too busy typing out our ‘I’m not that right-wing’ insecurities to realise we’re the ones pushing Trump voters away. Doubtless, if Trump does win the presidency, these same people will gleefully type pretend-lamentations of how people are stupid and that society is doomed and that dictatorships are needed, or something. I doubt even blind cave-dwelling salamanders, cut off from the outside world millions of years ago, could be more isolated from reality than these netizens.

At the moment, Trump looks set to lead the Republicans to an abysmal loss. But if we continue treating anyone with a hint of anti-Clinton views as uneducated proletarians not worth listening to, this might change. Hey, at least the smuggers will feel more energised than ever before, right?

-Z

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

“Well at Least I’m Better Than Americans”

“Well I just think we should have, you know, some control over our borders.”
“There’s barely any people if you compare asylum seekers to normal immigrants, the economic cost would be completely eclipsed if we started taxing Qantas, or any of the other big companies that pay zero income tax, their qualifications aren’t worth much here plus most of them aren’t allowed to work anyway so losing jobs to them isn’t really a worry, and they’d be housed if we stopped counting houses as investments for negative gearing laws so don’t even try to start about putting them ahead of homeless people.”

I’ve got him. He can’t get around the fact that there’s no reason to support offshore processing. He’s doomed, like a factual piece of information at The Daily Telegraph. Victory is near.

“Haha, at least we’re not in America! They’re gonna elect a guy who’s gonna build a fence to stop Mexicans and “make them pay for it” haha! Bernie Sanders is the only guy who knows what’s up and he’s gonna lose!”

trump

Time to make excuses great again. image taken from businessinsider.com

Everyone has a laugh. All is well again.

What the hell just happened?

Time and again I meet people who use the ‘at least I’m better than Americans’ line to get themselves out of trouble, or just to feel better about themselves. I thought it was just a university student thing, like feeling ‘nostalgia’ for Catdog, or thinking our opinions matter, but it’s not. Fully grown, fully intelligent people still use this line. And other people agree with it. Everyone agrees with it. Hell, American tourists, worried about not fitting in here, agree with it. Forget global warming, forget nuclear de-armament, this line will be the thing that unites the peoples of this planet and bring about world peace. And, frankly, it makes no fucking sense.

refugees

We, the nation keeping refugees in indefinite detention, in order to evade international law, with bipartisan support, are laughing at Trump’s wall. Okay. image taken from looppng.com

Let’s go with this example. Let’s compare illegal immigrants in America with our offshore processing policy. Ignoring the fact that illegal immigrants aren’t refugees, which already invalidates his argument, the number of illegal immigrants in America dwarfs any statistic related to boat people in Australia. According to reasonably reliable estimates, there are as many as 11 million illegal immigrants in America, 8 million of whom are employed, in a nation with 22 million unemployed people. Even if we scale this down by a factor of 15 for Australia’s population, we still end up with ~730,000 people. We in Australia do not and have never had anything even remotely approaching this number of asylum seekers. And in America, it’s actually considered controversial if illegal immigrants are deported, whereas we don’t bat an eye when a student who’s overstayed their visa here gets the same treatment. We are, quite objectively, far worse in this area.

But does that matter? Do people actually care what the facts are when it comes to America? I don’t think they do. No one seems to know or care that America spends proportionally more on medicine than Australia, or that their news programs are required to hire with diversity in mind (have you seen Australian news that isn’t SBS – it’s like looking at a freaking salt lake), or that they recently made gay marriage legal, or any of the (many) other things which suggest that, actually, America is quite a progressive society. We even have the bare-faced cheek to talk about oppression of black people there, when we have the Stolen Generation, a ten-year difference in life expectancy for Indigenous Australians, sub-40% home ownership rates, 1300% higher homelessness rates, and a broad public perception that they complain too much, leading to very little action to solve the issue. None of this matters. They base their view of America on news outlets which I can only assume have their entire foreign crew based in the dodgiest town of Texas, cultivating some sort of hick story so far removed from the rest of the nation it shouldn’t even qualify as a caricature. And they’ve been doing this for years now, conservatives and liberals alike. It’s become a part of our culture, like Vegemite or pretending to watch and/or care about soccer. I don’t think I’m exaggerating here when I say it’s become politically correct to hate America.

bad living conditions

‘Well at least I’m better than Americans!’ image taken from pub209healthcultureandsociety.wikispaces.com

Now, hopefully, you’ll see that this is bad. Hating a nation is getting woefully close to xenophobia. But it gets worse. You see, people have started justifying their terribly callous views to themselves by using this phrase. Want cuts to Medicare? ‘Well at least I’m better than Americans!’ Want to support offshore processing? ‘Well at least I’m better than Americans!’ Want to stop paying unemployed Indigenous Australians Newstart, the only thing keeping them (barely) alive, unless they move to a town where no one’s going to hire them anyway? ‘Well at least I’m better than Americans!’ Love the tax cut that gives $80,000-$87,000-a-year families, far above the average income, more money, whilst introducing work for the dole at $4 an hour? ‘Well. Well.’ By using this extreme-right non-existent nation as an excuse, we’ve been slowly sucked towards the right, telling ourselves that as long as it’s better than ‘America’, it’s okay.

What I’m really saying is that we should all move to America. They’re, ironically, the only ones unaffected by this nonsense, and it’s actually a pretty cool place too.

-Z

‘Get a Sense of Perspective’

Deep down, in the fiery pits of hell, Satan stirred from his slumber. His most trusted acolyte, Alan Jones, quickly took his place to the right of the dark prince’s throne (in keeping with his world-view, which is more right-wing than Satan’s).

“What is your bidding, my lord?”
“We have done good work to further the suffering of humanity, but we must go further! The wretched human race is still progressing, albeit at a stunted rate.”
“But how are we to further slow their ascension? We have already opposed contraception so they’ll run out of food within fifty years-”
“-not enough!”
“-and convinced the populace that bombing other countries is fine but taking their resulting refugees is not-”
“-refugees? Who cares about them?”
“-and we’ve even started those protests around abortion clinics!”
Satan paused. “Yeah … I think that was a bit too evil, you know? I mean, some of those women were raped into pregnancy … let’s not do that again, eh?”
Jones rolled his eyes. “Then what are we to do, my lord?”

Satan pondered the question. He had been toying with an idea for a while.

“We must further oppress women. If half their species isn’t making any meaningful contribution, their progress will be even more halted.”
“But how are we to further oppress women? Our agent Mark Latham has already called any woman with aspirations a child-hater, among other things. I don’t know what you want us to do.”
“Let’s think back here. Why were Latham’s comments not taken seriously?”
“Because he’s an idiot?”
“Well, yes but no.”
“He’s a loudmouth?”
“Yes but no.”
“He’s washed up?”
“Yes but no.”
“He’s completely irrelevant? He has no class? He’s trying to tell everyone what a happy time he’s having being kicked into obscurity? His comments are rebutted by anyone with a brain-”
“There! His comments are rebutted. The reason why our anti-women efforts are never quite taken seriously is because if there is any debate about it, they always end up figuring out the evilness of our efforts. The problem is, in those debates, anyone with a brain always supports gender equality.”

Jones was intrigued. He could tell Satan was going somewhere with this.

“What if we gave less intelligent people a way to win those debates?”
“But, my lord, you’re asking anti-feminists to speak intelligently, which is too much to ask of the-”
“No, we don’t have to go that far. We can go the other way – say something so incredibly dumb that the debate stops right there.”
“What did you have in mind?”
“Why don’t we plant the idea in those people’s minds,” here Satan paused for dramatic effect, “to have a sense of perspective?”
“Sir? Isn’t their perspective the fact that oppressing women is stupid?”
“Well, why don’t we change their focus? Say something like, ‘well in Africa they have genital mutilation, you’re talking about first world problems you ungrateful bitch’ or something?”

Jones was disappointed. He expected something better.

“Why would they compare their situation to a place completely irrelevant to them? I know anti-feminists are dumb but they’re not that dumb.

perspective 1

screen taken from theguardian.com/au

We’re basically saying that a woman’s genitals need to be mutilated before they can start calling out sexism; everyone’s going to see through it.”

perspective-2

screen taken from youtube.com

“I dunno, I think they’re pretty dumb.”
“I have my reservations, my lord.”
“Alright Alan, let’s make a bet. Plant the idea in your radio show, and if it doesn’t catch on, I’ll buy you a drink.”
“Okay, my lord, I’ll take you up on that bet.” Jones was not above taking a free drink.

Jones went back to the surface world. Satan cursed himself – he just put forward a bet with zero chance of winning. His idea was stupid – no one would fall for it. He had the last laugh, though; he didn’t specify what drink he would buy.

-Z

Keeping an Open Mind Sucks

My parents had two related, but different, philosophies on how to raise me. My father always wanted me to develop world-views on my own, and never pressured me on anything. My mother, whilst supporting the idea of open-mindedness, also explicitly told me that nonsense is nonsense, so that Andrew Bolt, the Liberal Party, and any remotely critical views of the Chinese government were not worth discussing. Overall, I think my dad won out, because my teenager-parent-hating-years were spent with my mum, so I’ve kept a fairly open and malleable mind to most situations.

One thing this open-mindedness led to is my gullibility. Sadly, I’m always the one who falls for the ‘did you know they took gullible out of the dictionary’ jokes. But another annoying thing is that my political views are swayed as easily as a blade of grass in the wind or an SUV whilst turning. I’d like to say that this only happens when an opposing viewpoint is valid, but there seems to be a relatively valid viewpoint every damn time.

The first time I read about the gender pay gap, for instance, I was outraged, and brought statistics about gender pay inequalities and the misogyny of corporate fat-cat-white-male CEOs to far more conversations than was necessary (yeah, I was ‘that guy’). But one day, someone hit me with a blinder: CEOs are just trying to save money whenever there’s an excuse; they’re not truly sexist, or else they wouldn’t be hiring women at all. Equipped with this new perspective, I went to conversations telling people to stop being so naive and that CEOs are just trying to save money. Someone then shot back with ‘it doesn’t matter if they think women are actually worse workers, they’re paying less because of gender and as such they’re sexist’. Again, my views turned, and I went to conversations with a renewed sense of outrage at sexism, only to be shut down again when someone mentioned that the pay gap is mostly due to maternity leave. Now, I just stay away from the issue, and non-feminists think I’m a feminist whilst feminists think I’m a dinosaur.

Another good example is the issue of euthanasia. Now, no one really opposes euthanasia, do they? Not anyone that I’ve met at least. But on an episode of Q&A (the watching of which totally makes me a seasoned political commentator), Paul Kelly mentioned an issue: if euthanasia was an option available, older people who are not in any terminal illness but see themselves being a financial burden on their children may feel pressured to take this option, with, or importantly, without suggestion from their children.

You know what? Paul “Howard’s-Innocent-in-Children-Overboard” Kelly makes an annoyingly good point. Now I don’t know what to think about euthanasia. And this pretty much sums up my views on most political issues. See, I’ve discovered that, in reality, there are three, not two, points of view – the popular one, which is right, the unpopular one, which is also right, and mine, which is always wrong. The only way I can seem smart in political conversations is to say the opposing viewpoint and mention that ‘it’s not necessarily 100% true, but X-viewpoint is an interesting way of thinking about it’. Basically, I’m a wanker in those conversations.

Well, either all of what I’ve written is true or I just don’t have any debating skills. Sometimes I wish I turned out more like mum.

-Z

Eurovision is a lot like The Hunger Games crossed with a soap opera.

from google and such

from google and such

Ever watched Eurovision? I watched some on TV. Well, Australia was in this year for the quarter-quell. We’re pretty much the equivalent of District Thirteen. There are a whole lot of crazy people in space clothes on TV. They’re all smiling like they have a gun to their heads, and are spitting glitter while they tell the world the scores. Those scores seem to have more to do with some kind of overarching political agenda than the actual competition. You know, just like televising elaborate to-the-death cage-fights involving children would.

It’s the glittery aesthetic combined with the intense political passive aggression that makes it seem so much like the Hunger Games I think. In the books, America has disintegrated through some apocalyptic future war. What’s left are several different regions with different economic contributions to a dictatorial capital city. Every year the city holds a competition between all the members of the conquered nation to see whose kids are best at killing each other. It’s a humiliation, accepted by the participants in the name of keeping-face for unity. Like Eurovision.

Eurovision is the ultimate humiliation for broken nations, forced to send their children to go dancing on a trampoline to techno-folk music so they can be judged by the rest of the world. The judges themselves are people with Botox smiles and glitter coming out their tear ducts as they blink “PLEASE KILL ME” in Morse code. Exactly the same as in the Hunger Games. Additionally, weird shoulder pads from 1960s sci-fi films and beehive hairdos all make an appearance in both Europe and the fictional post apocalypse. I could feel the humiliation coming out of the TV, but wait, there’s more.

I think his chin rest is the trigger for the bombs they rigged to his family’s home, don’t you? from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1183403/Eurovision-judge-forced-quit-caviar-lunch-contestant.html

It’s been publicised that “anti-booing technology” has been devised since last year’s Eurovision. Supposedly in response to excessive booing at the Russian contestants. Not because of their act, but because the crowd thought up no better way of acting out against Russia’s politics than by booing at a song contest. This will clearly stop Putin’s homophobia in its tracks, they thought. Apparently, the Putin administration agreed, and out comes this unapplause censoring machine. Of course the technology is designed only to protect Russia’s image instead of its poor entrants. They’ve been taught all too harshly that they were merely an effigy of their country’s politics. Anti-booing technology is also a little too reminiscent of the media control and propaganda all through the Hunger Games. The contestants just had to smile and bear it, or else their families would GET IT! Well, probably not, but that’s a good point to start on mentioning the differences I see between the Hunger Games and the whole of Europe.

This is how Russian contestants are picked for sure. Image stolen/I’m not that cool, its a link from; http://whatculture.com/film/10-reasons-the-hunger-games-isnt-a-rip-off-of-battle-royale.php

The Hunger Games sported a tense system of oppressive trade and governance amongst several districts which involved intense passive aggression. In Europe however the districts are called ‘countries’. I better put in some more differences than that, make myself sound intelligent. For instance: in the Hunger Games there was one capitol with total control of the different districts’ trade and governance. Alternatively, Europe has a handful of big players and a bunch of little kids caught up in the group. The little countries are like the kids who end up wagging school because they’re too afraid to speak out against the big kids’ plans and so end up trying to hide their tears as they break the rules under duress. Those big kids however are all about as big and influential as each other, so they have weird dominance stand offs where they yell “oi, throw the first punch dickhead” and put their arms out like they’re Spartacus. No monopoly of power means more passive aggression between powers; this means the strained smiles are much more snarky in Eurovision than in the Hunger Games.

On top of that the European countries want to look good for the rest of the world. “Don’t fuck with our gang” is a phrase I expect is carved in Latin, in an office somewhere in Brussels. The European Union is pretty much a bunch of nations that hate each other but want to look like a big happy family. They’re the couple who really should get divorced but stay together “for the kids”, except the kids are adults who want to leave. They’re really there for each other’s bank accounts. So their lives involve a lot of private investigator contracts and lengthy secret meetings with divorce settlement lawyers. Because they’re also so deep in each other’s pockets in Europe, they have to maintain their fake smiles permanently with fish hooks. America sometimes comes over for a really awkward barbeque, and tries to leave as soon as it can.

I’m sure that my shallow, lay-mans understanding of the economic and political complexities of Europe and the European union are correct. Just look at my clever association between young adult fiction and a song contest. I’m clearly right about this. I am glad you’ve read up to this point and can fully absorb the important message conveyed by this article. Europe is silly and I am clever and sophisticated for using un-evidenced criticism of it for the purposes of humour, and getting blog views. Of course, Eurovision is more likely just a chance for Europe to take the piss out of themselves and have a good time; that’s why they have trampolines in their acts. Have a great day!

-W

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