People are apparently sick of politicians. I am not sure anything has changed. Personally I think most have always viewed politicians as a necessary blight. They recognise that leaderless people turn into mobs. Better, therefore, to be led by dimwits and carpetbaggers than not led at all.
One of the charges levied against politicians is that they are ‘all talk no action’. Oh, if it were only thus. I like them better when they talk endlessly, stalling the exponential growth of pages of legislation and regulations. I admired Kevin Rudd in verbosely failing to get in place an emissions trading scheme.
Filibusters are a great American invention and might have saved the world if they’d been available to all democratic parliaments since the dawn of civilised time. Unfortunately it is now too late. Urgently, we need the kind of action which goes deeply against the psychological disposition of politicians. To wit, action which undoes action of their ‘esteemed’ predecessors, most of whom ended up with gongs for public service; when they should have been put in stocks.
Australia’s fractured parliament is preventing things from getting done. Is it not? No, it is preventing things from getting undone. Try to get an unaffordable social welfare benefit reduced or rescinded without some compensating measure; there is Buckley’s chance.
Wonder why Australia’s parliament is fractured and therefore can’t get things undone? It is because politicians of the past have created such a mess that people are flailing around for answers. Misfits become appealing. Try herding misfits into a corral without offering inducements. Ironically, the damaging legacy of past politicians is protected by the very social malaise they created.
Mind you, a fractured Parliament simply makes matter worse. Even in the best of circumstances, getting anything undone brings out numbers of special interests who have nothing better to do than fight for their ‘rights’. And, of course, increasingly the courts are used to protect the status quo.
Consider some of the main policy goals of Donald Trump. He wants to repeal Obamacare, which is in process of collapsing in any event; to dismantle job-killing regulations and onerous environmental overreach; to reduce uncompetitive rates of taxation; and to undo damaging trade deals. Sure he also has a ‘doing agenda’ (e.g., building a wall) but much of his agenda is tearing down political idiocies of the past. Already there is strident political opposition, and not just from the Democrats; and the beginning of endless litigation.
What is Theresa May’s biggest policy goal? Clearly it is to make Brexit a reality; to get something undone. Fear-driven political leadership in the past led a world-trading Britain into making common cause with an insular, sclerotic, bureaucratised, European sanctuary. Never mind, nothing to see there. Yesteryears’ politicians did their pathetic best, even if they contributed to undermining the cultural identity and cohesion of British society. Now you can get arrested for quoting Churchill. Just maybe, out of Europe, you will eventually be able to freely quote Churchill again. Though don’t bank on it. Can’t blame the EU for everything.
A conservative political agenda is not the best hope for mankind because of its positive agenda. It is the best hope because it offers a (limited) bulwark against most politicians, who desperately want to do things to improve the lot of mankind. Almost invariably these things worsen the lot of mankind. Often this takes a long time to become evident. By then the political perpetrators are gone. They undeservedly escape opprobrium. If not dead, their fat pensions continue to be paid.
Why do we get the politicians we get? Often on their face they are self-promoting mediocrities. I don’t know the answer, but I assume we deserve them. I once joined the Liberal Party and found its branch meetings to be enervating and the two candidates I met to be (in my insensitive view) empty heads. I left. I didn’t fight to change it. So I suppose, along with other bystanders, I deserve what I get – Trent Zimmerman in my federal electorate.
I honestly thought the game was irredeemably lost until Brexit and Trump’s triumph. If Marine le Pen and Geert Wilders make it I will begin to dream. Would this be a foolish and forlorn dream? Don’t answer! I don’t want reality intruding into my reverie.