A new year dawns: Is it the Abyss?
31 December 2021
TUMBY BAY - Like just about everyone else, the two major things that occupied my mind during 2021 were the Covid-19 pandemic and the rapidly developing catastrophes of climate change.
As the year comes to an end, both are spiralling out of control. At best we are helpless spectators with an undetermined fate.
During the year, in their own way, both Covid and climate change continued to expose and to amplify much that is wrong with us, both as individuals and as societies.
The failures laid bare are manifold but overriding them all is the appalling quality of our political leaders.
Without exception they have been exposed as revolting creatures who exist as cankerous parasites clinging to the ankles of society.
From the grasping tubs of lard that occupy the house of parliament in Papua New Guinea to the morons holding sway in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, they display a sickening similarity.
In anyone with half a brain, to watch them at play with their smug arrogance, smart mouths, lies and fake sincerity induces reactions ranging from nausea to outright rage.
Just seeing an image of any one of them causes the bile to rise in many throats.
They are not leaders really. There is a huge difference between a politician and a leader.
The late Desmond Tutu was a leader, Greta Thunberg is a leader.
James Marape, Scott Morrison, Joe Biden and Boris Johnson combined wouldn’t make a leader’s arsehole.
The clear message from 2021 is we don’t need them and we don’t want them.
They are not the answer to any of our problems. They are the main reason the problems exist.
They are an encumbrance, an obstruction, to solving our problems.
They are ‘a condom on the penis of progress’, as a wise man once told me.
They need to be replaced with something better.
Not someone better. Something better.
Something not based on the sycophantic worship of wealth and money.
We need a better system of governance and we need better people and we need all of them quickly.
If what we have now is where democracy has led us, then we need to ditch it.
We need a new system that hasn’t got a name yet.
As far as I can tell, there isn’t an ‘ism’ fit for purpose.
We have to create a new one before someone like Xi Jinping or Donald Trump creates one for us.
The current wisdom seems to be to wait and see what develops. Except that’s procrastination, not wisdom.
People of this persuasion seem to think that political and governance systems evolve of their own accord.
In Australia a lot of people are putting their faith in people standing outside the political party structure - Independents - at the next election.
Unfortunately the best they will be able to achieve is restraining political excess and extremism.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s good but it’s not a solution for what ails us.
It seems we’re hovering very close to a hinge point of change.
Democracy is being tested, and it looks as though it might fail.
If there is a significant change in 2022, it is likely to be for ill.
This new year will make the one that is passing look like a picnic in the park.
If we continue on our present course, which is probably what will happen, 2022 will still be worse than 2021.
It’s a rocky road ahead. Best find something to hang onto. It will be a wild ride.
Have a safe new year.
One thing Covid reminded us about as we ended 2021 was that when the going gets tough, the tough will rise up and keep going.
Everything that has a DNA or RNA is mortal. Even the Covid virus is mortal.
We can punish ourselves if we try to be immortal
Posted by: Kindin Ongugo | 02 January 2022 at 07:27 AM
Augh nou Bernard, their's nay been any shortage oh bloody dirty wars by the British Elite; as they saw themselves all oer the wide world.
Aye but mind yea they got a lesson fray, James Stewart VI of Scotland and the 1st of England.
Louie of France called him the Wisest fool in Christendom.
Bilingual at 8, Scots, English, Latin and Hebrew tay start with, way the $ signs in his eyes already.
There were many Plantations of Ireland over several thousand years.
The Ulster Plantation is one of quite recent memory.
Of which the Good King James profited greatly.
Posted by: William Dunlop | 01 January 2022 at 02:13 PM
2021, a year of biden time, needing some fresh heir?
Contrastingly, Xi doing a Kennedy at spacial expansiveness.
On too o too too.
Posted by: Lindsay F Bond | 01 January 2022 at 07:51 AM
My dear William, Happy New Year.
Here is an interesting article from Mark Kernan entitled 'The Dead and the Living: Britain’s Dirty War in Northern Ireland', which was recently published on Counterpunch:
Posted by: Bernard Corden | 31 December 2021 at 11:50 PM
No doubt, Bernard, I will close this year's comments with a saying of my good friend, the late Desmond Rainey O'Neill.
'Tay hell with poverty; throw the wee pussy cat tay yon canary!'
Posted by: William Dunlop | 31 December 2021 at 02:16 PM
It is hard not to sympathise with Phil Fitzpatrick. The many and obvious failings of our various democracies have been on vivid display over the last two years.
Whilst it is fair comment to criticise our political elites for their incompetence, misjudgements and venality, we who vote for them might do well to take pause to consider the extent to which we are culpable too.
After all, if we did not tolerate their folly so readily or, more often, simply ignore it, then they might be less inclined to behave the way they do.
The apathy, indifference and associated lack of engagement with the political process on the part of most people has allowed various powerful interest groups to effectively control much of the governance process.
While there will always be interest groups and lobbyists, they need to be kept at arms length from the policy development and decision making process of government.
It is abundantly clear that, in far too many cases, they have succeeded in becoming instrumental in these processes while, at the same time, years of neo-liberal cost cutting has effectively beheaded the public sector as a policy making force.
As a general observation, the ordinary citizen does not understand the processes of government. Their interactions are typically restricted to the 'front of house' functions, not what goes on in the background.
When they do need to get beyond the 'front of house' they frequently go to their local MP, who has the ability to elevate their issue or problem to a higher level in the bureaucracy. This is the 'bread and butter' work of MPs, not the theatre of the absurd that we are presented with each night on the TV or radio.
If we citizens expect more of our political elites then we had better start demanding it. The best way to do this is to make our voices heard loudly and often, plus make our votes contingent upon the political class meeting our needs and expectations.
This means not being a 'rusted on' supporter of any political party. None of them have a mortgage on wisdom or even common sense.
We have all now seen the machinations and skulduggery that go on within these parties, as individuals and interest groups jockey for power and privilege. The public interest typically rates no mention or consideration in these battles.
Voting tactically is important in order to 'keep the bastards honest'. If we want the situation to change we must make the political class our genuine servants, not our de facto masters.
In that sense at least, even some of the rattiest elements of the so-called Libertarian right are not entirely wrong in their protests about how we are being denied our 'freedom'.
Their error is mistaking anarchy for freedom, with no real understanding of the logical consequences that would flow from the achievement of their supposed 'freedom' in this way.
So, if we want things to change we had better do something about it, otherwise Phil's most pessimistic prognostications stand a fair chance of coming to pass.
Posted by: Chris Overland | 31 December 2021 at 12:34 PM
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.
A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.
From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years.
During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to selfishness;
From selfishness to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.
[Attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (15 October 1747 – 5 January 1813), Scottish advocate, judge, writer and historian who served as Professor of Universal History, and Greek and Roman Antiquities at the University of Edinburgh]
Posted by: Paul Oates | 31 December 2021 at 12:07 PM
One of the most venerated figures in Christianity, St Francis, was a leader. An admirable movement followed, trying its best.
Following might be a person's best, deserving better than a winge cry. What are the values in discernment?
Well I just don't know, Lindsay, and I'm glad you finish the year with that cryptic poser. (I'm not even sure you meant Francis of Assisi, I had to guess that.) Ah well, one good tern deserves another checkmate: Šťastný Nový Rok - KJ
Posted by: Lindsay F Bond | 31 December 2021 at 11:18 AM
The saddest thing about this pandemic is those who have fallen victim to this virus and lost their lives.
What is most galling is the apparent disregard by our politicians to these tragic deaths and seem to be impotent to prevent this unnecessary loss of life.
All of this travesty, which gives the one the impression these poor lost souls seem to be regarded by politicians as merely collateral damage.
Mr Morrison might have a lot to answer for when he finally meets HIS maker.
I imagine the Scotty from Marketing will attempt to pass himself off as Mother Teresa. Won't fool St Peter - KJ
Posted by: Harry Topham | 31 December 2021 at 10:51 AM
Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese and many others will think you are paying them a compliment.
Posted by: Bernard Corden | 31 December 2021 at 09:45 AM