Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Australia Votes - open letter to GetUp

Dear GetUp

As I emailed you earlier, much as I appreciate a lot of your advocacy work, your idealistic glad handling of everything Green was indulgent frippery with potentially dire consequences! As the Greens never have to contemplate Govt it is easy to pitch to all their soft-left friendly policies. In their lovely paradigm all these areas would be addressed as per the Green agenda, but our body politic is beset with serious problems….

The worst side of Australia came to the fore in this election campaign. Media driven hate mongering, sexism, 'dumbing' down of political debate, the endless round of media grabs on petty nothings.

We are ill-served by today's media. It is driving a 'me me' celebrity culture that enables a rank opportunist like Abbott to run for the highest office on a platform of unbridled entitlement politics, encouraging division, selfishness and 'get out of my way' pitches to people who think Government is about nothing more than serving their narrow interests. Labor had to tip toe through an electoral mine field of electors easily in thrall to hate mongering, which has become an acceptable political tool when you have little else to convince the electorate you are fit for government.

The shabby state of our body politic is alarming. It is in these circumstances that extremist politics flourish. I am amazed that we have sunk so low yet again and so quickly. Public intellectuals and serious journalists need to ask themselves how this happened. It is a canker and nothing good will come of it......please get real when you try to influence voters. GetUp preached a soft left line relentlessly, playing into the hands of the far right. The naivety of your strategy is there for all to see. Yes, the soft left vote swung to the Greens, but how does this help the cause of progressive politics when you enable a reactionary fear monger like Abbott to crow about his electoral success?

The hemorrhaging of Labor’s primary vote to the Greens will be a major factor if Abbott is elected. Trust me - you will have to re-set your progress meter to negative in some key areas of human rights and social justice under this scenario. Are memories of Howard so short?

Abbott's macho, pseudo religiosity and manic physical self-flagellation clearly appeals to many of the 'me me journalists' and the crypto-Hansonite set but it makes my skin crawl. What does it say about the psychological health of a country that goes within a whisk of electing a major political party that had as the centerpiece of its electoral pitch the punishment of a few miserable refugees? It beggars belief that in the 21st century our body politic can be so trivialized.

As I indicated earlier in another email (also not replied to) politics is not a zero sum game...and I'm afraid Getup has been played in the extreme right's game plan. When you split the progressive vote in this country the right fills the vacuum and thus you get the Queensland result.....

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