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Idiocy in politics poses special dangers to the third world


Phil Fitzpatrick at mic
Phil Fitzpatrick - incompetent politicians are especially lethal in countries like PNG

TUMBY BAY – I don’t know about you but I’m thoroughly enjoying American politics at the moment.

To keep myself informed about the key players and the ever-changing and convoluted narrative I’ve read Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump Whitehouse’ and ordered a copy of James Comey’s new book, ‘A Higher Loyalty’.

I became fascinated with politics after doing a major in a subject the School of External Studies at the University of Queensland quaintly referred to as ‘Government’ way back in the tumultuous 1960s.

I find the shenanigans of ego-driven politicians, past and present, comedy of a very high order. As one erudite commentator once said, “You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried”.

Good old Donald Trump certainly hasn’t let the side down, he’s taken the absurdity of it all to a higher level.

Even George W Bush, himself an extraordinary ignoramus, said of Trump’s rambling and incoherent inauguration speech, “That’s some weird shit”.

We’ve got our own amusing sideshows in Australia too. Some of it is inexplicably linked to what’s going on in Trump’s alternative universe, blathering about North Korea and China, for instance. But a lot of it is home grown, like poor old Barnaby Joyce’s citizenship and family issues.

You may think that my attitude to politics is irresponsible, even dangerous, but do you think any of it really matters?

Do you think that what these arseholes are doing actually makes any difference to anything? If you do, I’d suggest you are grossly ill-informed.

Politicians don’t run anything, let alone whole countries. Other, more responsible adults do that. All politicians do is blather and babble and bubble like so much froth.

When Trump eventually implodes, which will probably happen sooner than later, his impact on the bumbling behemoth that is America will have been zero.

He’ll just be an unpleasant memory and a warning that electing morally-bereft egomaniacs as president is not a good idea – not that it won’t inevitably happen again.

There is, however, one brand of politics that I do tend to take seriously, and that is third-world politics. Politics in places like Papua New Guinea.

Politics in these places make idiots like Donald Trump seem like rank amateurs and are wholly more dangerous and destructive, especially to citizens.

The difference between American and Australian politics and politics in places like Papua New Guinea is that the latter have no life-saving bureaucratic or societal backbones to counterbalance the crazy idiosyncrasies and depredations of their politicians.

Despite theoretical legal or constitutional brakes, these politicians have been allowed to completely corrupt and compromise their public servants and judiciaries, not to mention the mainstream media.

In these places the laws of the land no longer matter and have no relevancy. The police and the judiciary have long danced to the same tune as the politicians.

Recourse for the odd honest politician or most citizens has been so corrupted as to be rendered useless.

Common humanity and decency have disappeared out the window. What remains is a citizenry unnecessarily living in poverty, ignorant through lack of education and dying from curable diseases.

Nobody cares and, even if they do, they are mostly powerless to do anything about it.

This brand of politics doesn’t amuse me at all, it appals and saddens me.

Give me lunatics like Trump any day.

But, for goodness sake, please keep your Peter O’Neill’s to yourself.


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Daniel Kumbon

I walked past Donald Trumps’ Trump Tower in New York City. Then had lunch in a restaurant on the basement of one of the Twin Towers in 1991. A couple of years later the World Trade Centre was bombed by Islamic fanatics using high jacked commercial jetliners loaded with innocent travellers.

Donald Trump is now worth over $3billion USD. I don’t think he was after more wealth but stood for elections to enjoy political power. That’s what he is exercising now even if he looks ‘stupid’ to some. When he exits from politics however, America will still remain the super power that it is.

But PNG politicians were never billionaires. Most were sons of ‘kanakas’ like the rest of us. Some certainly entered politics to enrich themselves. They will keep on stealing until they become like Donald Trump.

When Donald Trump exits from public office, America will still remain the super power that it is. But PNG politicians will leave a trail of destruction and suffering if they ever leave public office.

That is the difference between leaders from developed democracies and lacklustre fools `from the third world countries like PNG.

arthur williams

Just read Post Courier report of O'Neil's waffle to the Commonwealth meeting in London....
'..........PNG is working to protect itself through legislation from transnational crime and foreign businesses bent on corruption and exploitation..'

Yet has done nothing about convicted international criminal Tjandra other than open doors for him to meet other corrupt leaders in PNG

What a windbag is Petrus Oh'Kneel
Tokfest in London is waste of everyone's time and their peoples' money. just like the Apekpek meeting

Jaundiced old git in Wales

JK Domyal

Thanks Phil - Happy to read your accounts of some good comparative characterful politicians. Especially for PNG. I would expect more from your descriptive storyline about our ship captain and his cohorts of fatty fish.

The trend of so-called one-man rule had started some 6 years ago and it continues now, and would look set to get worse for the next couple of years. It would be institutionalised and systemic in our governance.

The home-grown PNG constitution might be a guiding tool from the past. The police and judiciary are more or less sailing in the same ship and the writings are on the wall.

Those of us who struggle to the brink to see next day’s life, and those of us who witness the plight of rural dwellers trying to make ends meet in the remote hinterland of mountains and islands, cry in our hearts and minds.

We join them in prayers to see a change in the idiosyncrasies and depredations characterising our ship captain and his school of fatty fish. However, when our cries and prayers will be heard is still wide out in the desert of ignorance.

In the US case, we might see an impeachment trial in the name of the free world very soon while for countries like PNG not even a drop of blood will change the current style of leadership.

William Dunlop

Yes Phil, quite correct. The Crown got rid of the O'Neill's out of the old sod in the late 1700's under the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

It was called the flight of the Earls, Spain got lumbered with them, right through to the present day.

This gave King James 1 st/6th of the Realm the regal right to acquire the O'Neill's lands in Ulster.

Thus commenced the Plantation of Ulster,

Mind you most of the Scottish Settlers were descendants of the Irish King Carioll from Ulida ' Antrim and Down' who landed in the Mull of Kintyre around the 5th Century.

Among-st his descendants are included the first Scottish King Alister McAlpine.

King James himself acknowledged his Irish ancestry by a statement.

He stated that he had to handle the Irish very diplomatically as that's from where my own Ancestry comes. Slainte

Lindsay F Bond

Perhaps no week is more opportune for encountering Phil's contention on caring, powerlessness and locus of infliction from what he labels as 'depredations' broadly brought by political 'leaderslip' in PNG.

Of USA, recently Hilary revisited the label 'charlatans', which pales by comparison, as a pretender.

Of Australia, pretense is the pyjama party that commercial corporates have conducted not only in or of the weak.

As in this week, many Australians rethink components of societal contributions to worth of cohesion (a label more prevalent is ANZAC), its hardly for an Awstrayan to prod PNGers, who may in some week of the future, begin a trek even a 'long march' from encircling criminality, and strive for their constitutional value in equity.

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