Saturday, October 20, 2007

"Howard catastrophe exposes failing democracy"

I've been reading some dreadful rubbish lately on the supposed 'issues' of the 2007 election. Many of the so-called 'commentators' seem to have hibernated their brains and their ethics during the Howard years. Certainly a good many have been in thrall to Howard's culture wars and ruthless exploitation of fear.

You'd have to say the ABC has also been cowed into submission. The investigative side of ABC current affairs has been loathe to forensically analyse the worst aspects of the Howard experiment, presumably under pressure from his 'thought police'.

Following is an excerpt from Mike Clancy's article posted on Margot Kingston's webdiary. Howard has'nt fooled all of the people all of the time:

"The re-election of John Howard in 2004 with a majority in both houses of parliament is surely one of the low points in Australian political life. However, the episode is highly instructive regarding the state of our democracy. But firstly, a quick review of the evidence, then and now.

By 2004, we already had compelling evidence of Howard’s duplicity. So when we handed control of both houses of parliament to this known scoundrel, it exposed the failings of our media, our two-party system and our civil society itself.

By election time 2004, we had seen Howard’s attack on Aboriginal land rights and reconciliation for political gain. Rank opportunism was also at work with Tampa, children overboard and the disgraceful treatment of asylum seekers more generally. We had seen him sneer at environmental concerns, and fail to take action on our impending water crisis and the extinction of Australian flora and fauna. Instead, he used environment funding to buy votes.

Howard’s refusal to sign Kyoto and to increase our renewable energy targets should have alerted us. We might have noticed his grand scheme to scuttle international consensus on climate change...

By re-electing Howard in 2004, we said; ‘Go and do your worst, in our name’. We approved his misguided attack on Iraq and signed up to his subversion of Kyoto.

Many argue that the failure in 2004 was not of John Howard, but of Mark Latham. But they put this argument, without taking the next logical step of questioning our two-party system itself. If neither candidate measured up, why did we give one of them the dictatorial powers of a two-house majority? Our two-party mind-set failed us utterly. In 2004, the excellent track record of the Democrats in the Senate was ignored. The Greens and independents also polled poorly.

But ultimately, 2004 was a failure of Australian civil society itself. Why did WE allow it to happen?

Now in 2007, the evidence is in; no longer a mere ‘scoundrel’ Howard has been shown to be a traitor who has betrayed his people time and again."

Read the full article.

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