Keeping up with Covid (& its bad brokers)
Highlands expats forever remembered

Tide’s turned, & nobody’s steering


ADELAIDE - The tide of history is sweeping us all along and, as usual, our predictions about where we will all end up will be mostly wrong.

In an Australian context, what used to be the Liberal Party is no longer speaking to or for what was once its base, being middle class Australians.

Instead, it is now a party composed of the more reactionary and extreme neo-liberal elements of our community.

Even big business is walking crab wise away from what they have belatedly come to understand is a government that is no longer ‘fit for purpose’.

Similarly, it is now clear the National Party is no longer a true country party and even the ALP is no longer a ‘workers’ party.

Everything is in motion and it is difficult to say when and how things might settle into a new status quo.

As I have said before, when you are in the middle of a hinge moment in history you are peculiarly ill equipped to see the future clearly.

The only certainty is that it will not be the same as the past. Contrary to what our conservative political class hope and believe, there will be no return to ‘normality’ anytime soon.

All we can do is hang on and try to at least survive the ride through the maelstrom of change and chance that surrounds us. No one is steering anymore.

It is clearly the case that our ruling elites have no real idea about the situation they now find themselves in.

The pandemic has upended all sorts of previous ‘certainties’ and left them floundering about as they seek to grapple with the social divisions, inequalities, unfairness and inequities that it has thrown into such stark relief.

The broadly defined left of politics, which has been the historic agent of change in our democracies, is struggling to find a new and coherent narrative, especially in relation to economics.

In Australia, in the absence of a broadly agreed and compelling alternative to neo-liberal economics, the ALP is being very timid for fear of upsetting the swinging voters it needs to gain office.

Meanwhile, the reactionary right is fighting a rear guard action against various ‘progressive’ forces which its hates, notably in relation to gender, ethnicity, religion and the environment.

The yearning on the right for a ‘return’ to an imagined halcyon past is palpable.

Our contemptible Prime Minister has been dog whistling the far right of late through his constant references to Australians wanting their ‘freedom’ back.

This is because he needs their votes and fears they will go to One Nation or Clive Palmer’s wholly owned United Australia Party.

The population at large appears to realise the need for change but is easily frightened by the implications.

It is a classic example of people being very concerned about the status quo on such things as the environment and the economy, but afraid to take the leap into a new world for fear that it will cause them harm in some way.

There is an acute trust deficit in relation to the whole political class so the conservatives are pushing the ‘better the devil you know’ line as hard as they can go even as they fail on multiple fronts.

Trying to present Anthony Albanese as a scary revolutionary is a big ask though.

History suggests that big, societal level change is unthinkable right up until the moment it happens.

The conservatives are always on the wrong side of this process while the progressives are frequently wrong about how such changes will really work out.

The latter tend to overestimate the benefits involved without fully understanding the potential downsides while the conservatives do the exact reverse.

What is completely certain is that there will indeed be big changes, probably simply forced upon us by external circumstances.

If you make a conscious decision to cede control of events to others you ought not be too surprised if things work out in ways you neither intended or planned for.

This is the current government’s position even as they desperately seek to present an image of being in control of events.

Not an optimistic picture but a realistic one nonetheless.


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Philip Fitzpatrick

It occurs to me that it is just not the pandemic that has upended all sorts of previous ‘certainties’ but also climate change.

If you put the two together, a pernicious pandemic and a catastrophic climate change, it adds up to both a radically changed social/political system within a rapidly changing and deteriorating environment in which we are now trapped.

That suggests some major changes need to be made to how we live in all its aspects and, importantly, whether we actually survive into the future.

It is a task well beyond the current crop of politicians. They have to be sidelined if we hope to get anywhere in solving the combined crisis.

Lindsay F Bond

Be kind to them of four paws that are canines.
Could it be said he wuz mob-whistling?

Paul Oates

Thanks Phil. That article was spot on the mark.

Bernard, your humour is so astute and razor sharp it stands to reason it might go over some people's heads.

Bernard Corden

Consumerism and objectivism underpinned by gangster capitalism and supported by a festering Ponzi scheme with an inevitable trajectory of civil or global war

This insatiable lust for power and control is all very reminiscent in Guernica by Pablo Picasso.

When Nazi stormtroopers invaded his Paris apartment a German officer noticed a replica of the masterpiece on one of the walls.

The German officer allegedly asked Picasso: " Did you do that?"

Picasso responded: "No, you did."

Individual responsibility indeed.

Philip Fitzpatrick

This article from the ABC website might explain a few aspects of Chris' excellent assessment and summary:

Paul Oates

I suggest Chris, it's even far more subtle than we have been prepared to previously concede.

While we were preoccupied with external and internal threats, old Abe's government of the people, by the people for the people has morphed into government of the developer/mega rich, for the developer/mega rich by the developer/mega rich.

Our democracy has been totally usurped behind our collective backs. And powerful external forces are waiting for the right moment to try and finish us off.

But how did this happen? Easily.

The grey hairs like us are no longer listened to. I've actually been told 'Why should we worry, we'll be dead by then!' or get onto 'mygov' and get updated as if it's that easy?

The younger people have been conned by flashy consumer goods and mobile phones, face book rumours, twitter, etc. that are constantly having to be updated and work faster and faster.

Any concept of a previously normal life has been lost in the frantic use of thumbs to constantly update and download the next 'App' that will keep you abreast about the facade of whatever those in power want to use to divert your attention away from what is happening before our very eyes.

We have been deluded into believing that 'Face time' equates to communicating with the community rather than only those who think the same way you have been led to believe by limited group mentality.

Statistics have indeed become the new god. Tinsel, baubles and the ring of cash registers, (whoops! I mean beeps on mobile phones), have replaced our concern for others at the traditional time of giving.

Presumably we must keep business going in order that our governments are able to raise sufficient taxes to keep themselves in control and hopefully get re-elected?

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