It’s two weeks since I arrived back in Australia. I thought I might be able to hold off ranting about politics for a bit longer but…well, you follow this blog, so you know me!
The thing I notice is how prosperous Australia seems and how much more equal. We make much of the ‘myth’ of equality here but our belief in the principle has stopped the worst excesses. And generally speaking, all our lives are better than they have ever been.
It’s not like that everywhere: Abu Dhabi has the riches but it doesn’t share the wealth with the migrant workers that are quite literally building the nation for them. And as for power and freedom? Forget about it. The UK is just bloody depressing. The LibDem coalition is destroying the last vestiges of any greatness Britain once had: they’ve already introduced forced labour, even for the disabled and terminally ill, and now they’re taking bedrooms away from poor children. Use of food banks is skyrocketing. There are six million working people in poverty but bankers are still getting million-pound bonuses. And the US has gone batshit crazy. In 2000 their biggest problem was how to spend their surplus and they were the leaders of the free world. Now their government is paralysed over debt and they lock up their own citizens without trial.
Australia is doing well, comparatively. And actually a chunk of recognition is owed to the federal government – the Labor government – for being the only government in the developed world to steer their country away from recession in the wake of the banking/financial crisis.
So how fucking ridiculous is it that the election campaign hasn’t even officially started and Julia Gillard has already resorted to fear-mongering? Migrants taking jobs (457 Visas) and Rising crime (Gangs). Straight out of the Tabloid Guide to Fear and Loathing. Stay tuned for Dole Bludgers and Druggies. Don’t let the facts (visa not undermining jobs: crime down) stand in the way of an old-fashioned neocon hate campaign.
Going down this road could full well lose the ALP the federal election and then we’ll be stuck with Abbott, which will be a disaster. He and his conservative buddies will jump on the cuts-and-privatisation band wagon and before you know it the advantages Australia has gained in the past few years will be gone.
Getting rid of Rudd was one of the stupider things the ALP has ever done but I thought ‘hooray’ – at least a woman is in charge. But Gillard let me down pretty much immediately with her mean-spirited positions on gay marriage and refugee claimants. It seems like the crusty old blokes running the ALP told her to prove her womanhood wouldn’t be a liability by being as inhumane and cruel as possible. And then you find out her Chief Media Advisor/Director of Communications is John McTernan, a Blair Government hack and you KNOW that’s what happened. The UK is a mess. And the Blair Government was a huge part of the problem. He is not going to help.
Julia Gillard was at her best when she told Abbott off last year. Women everywhere applauded her. She needs to lock herself in her bedroom and watch the box set of Borgen while listening to Bette Midler until she finds the woman who gave that impassioned speech . And then she can come out and the tory-lites in the ALP to fuck off and she can start being a decent human and telling Australia the truth.
Just in case she does, I’ve written a speech for her: Still a bloody lucky country