The following comment appeared this morning on the Poll Bludger blog. The author's pseudonym is Bushfire Bill. This deserves a wide readership:
"So I suppose today’s The Day, one year on.
We were supposed to have a plebiscite rolling the Coalition into government. According to the script, the government was sure to lose it and Tony Abbott would shame Gillard into resigning and calling an election.
A carefully crafted series of polls, internet stunts like The Cloud, articles on how Rudd was all but selecting wallpaper for the Lodge and K House and and endless, buzzing barrage of shock-jock insults and mockery were supposed to soften her up, ready for the kill.
Gee, it all looked so good on paper, didn’t it?
The fairy story, concocted through a manic News Ltd and an outright insane Coalition leadership, that Gillard was gone, fell apart under the weight of its own ridiculousness.
As proof of just how ridiculous it was, I offer you one compelling piece of logic: even Steve Fielding wouldn’t buy into it. When Fielding runs a mile, you know whatever it is he’s running from is truly frightening.
When Fonzie jumped the shark on a pair of water skis all those years ago it popped the bubble of suspended disbelief that so many fans would blow around them when they sat down to watch Happy Days. Suddenly they saw their favourite show for what it was… an over-egged fantasy world where everyone was nice, even the nasties. And it was getting tired.
This week I have the hope that the same has happened to the Coalition. They had their chance, nearly a year of relentless negativism designed to destabilize the hung parliament, and indeed the nation itself.
The only way they could get the punters on side with their wet dream of a guerrilla usurpation of the government was to convince the gullible out there that the country was so fu*ked that even Tony Abbott couldn’t bugger it up further. They set the bar so low that even the intellectually lame and the logically halt could jump it.
Pensioners cowering in their homes, with only their AM radios and their telephones left to call 2GB for emergency assistance, in case the man came around to burn their house down with a free set-top-box.
A tinpot guano nation in the middle of the Pacific, smaller than the fullstop at the end of this sentence, held up as a stirring example of man’s humanity to man. It’s farcical government only functional enough to hold out its hand to take Australian aid dollars. Senior members of our “Alternative Government” went there to sit under the coconut tree and do a deal with this bastion of democracy, just as the Russian Mafia had done, in years past. Scott Morrison may find that the Malaysians are not as welcoming as our Micronesian welfare junkies in Nauru. Nauru may find that the Australian government is also not so welcoming to their next plea for a handout. I hope so.
The News Ltd publications running public campaigns to destroy the Greens, and then crying foul when Bob Brown ticked them off about it. They published poll after poll, one upon the other, designed to make polls themselves the story, vying with each other to show an even more dismal picture for Labor. When the matriarch of the Murdoch family finally cried “Enough!” on Climate Change, the bloated, malignant Akerman, fresh from providing ballast for an ocean-going yacht, sheepishly told a national TV audience and an incredulous Insiders panel that she was past it, too old and frail to make a rational decision. When there’s a new low to establish, you can always rely on Piers to step up to the plate.
Rational decisions weren’t out of bounds for only the aged. “Elites” were banned from participation too. If you had money, were an actress, or a scientist, perhaps even if you’d been to school sometime in your life, you were excised from society. If someone who knew someone you knew did a corrupt deal anywhere, you were disqualified from ever working for the government.
Mike Quigley’s distant connection with some of his employees’ antics in Costa Rica was enough to have him hauled before parliamentary committees and vilified in the Murdoch press for being – not quite a crook – but definitely a shady character. It never occurred to his inquisitors that if this was all you needed to do to be barred from senior office, they’d better start packing their own bags as well, especially the egregious Senator Abetz, friend and mentor to one Godwin Grech and not too distant descendant of a long line of obedient gauleiters.
There were so many more… a nation and employment-saving scheme that built much-needed school infrastructure turned into a debacle of almost biblical proportions. An insulation program that actually saved lives, turned into a murderous rort that was killing our youth. $900 cheques, the first measure of the emergency response to the GFC, vilified as recently as yesterday for putting money into the hands of the Bogans so they could buy a bigger plasma TV. Hello? I didn’t hear Gerry Harvey complaining when all this cash was splashed about, propping up his overpriced franchises. The re-emergence of Reith, the casually cold hearted warrior against working people, touted now as the new leader of the Liberal Party, back from Paris after sucking a million or two in salary off the government tit in an obscure sinecure. How appropriatement, Reithy. the concocted crisis of the Boat People, a drop in the ocean compared to the world refugee problem, in turn vilified and then succoured by an increasingly bizarre and smirking Morrison.
And finally we had the cherry on top, the culmination of it all: The Plebiscite. A scam that, whose decision, if ever taken, and if it went the wrong way, not even its originators and spruikers would abide by. Even Fielding, a sucker for every three card trick in the book, could see through that one. It took Steve six years minus 7 days to wake up, but there you go, miracles do happen. Maybe I’ll take up God.
The bubble has burst and the shark has been jumped. The urgers from the right leave in their wake a disaster: a nation divided, miserable, in a state of chronic ire over everything, and nothing. The ultra Right made the assessment that in order to save Australia they first had to destroy it. To have any chance of scrambling into government, they had to destroy faith in governance first. What they didn’t actually destroy they would write up as destroyed anyway. Same difference, really.
Constant negativity, the politicisation of two flies crawling up a wall, the turning of a once confident country into a national Reality TV show where petty jealousies, arrogant ungratefulness, constant barking from the sidelines and vacuous, unceasing harangues from overpaid shills telling us we should be miserable and angry… these all have consequences.
If I have a prayer, it’s that the next real calamity to hit us – be it GFC#2, or another season of mega-floods and Cat-5 cyclones – holds off for long enough to allow the nation to recover its lost spirit. We can’t take much more of this dumbing-down. We’re just about stunted-out.
Australia should turn off its TVs and its radios and simply open the window. They should look outside and see that the World hasn’t ended, that the nation isn’t in ruins, that a tumbleweed rolling down the street has more substance and meaning to it than a thousand Abbott brain-farts… that they’ve been conned, but that there’s still time to recover, if only they’ll open that window."
Amen to that...