‘I’ve changed!’ Scomo’s big last lie
15 May 2022
| Editor | The Monthly
MELBOURNE - On Friday, prime minister Scott Morrison came as close as he’ll ever come to conceding that most people don’t like him.
He also said that “there are things that are going to have to change with the way I do things”.
A man known for his arrogant self-assurance, for never admitting wrongs during a lifetime of brutal politicking, was suddenly promising, eight days before an election, to change.
As journalist Samantha Maiden immediately noted, it sounded like he’d reached the bargaining stage of grief.
The internal polling must be terrible.
But was it convincing? And what would he change?
“I know Australians know that I can be a bit of a bulldozer,” Morrison said. “But, you know, over the last few years that’s been pretty important…”
Many, many other women remarked on social media how much it resembled a desperate man trying to stop his partner from leaving. And not in a loving way.
You may not like me, he was saying (repeating a theme from earlier in the campaign), or what I did, or how I did it, but it was for your own good. And you need me to protect you.
But I’ll change, I promise.
Others will see these comments as Morrison turning over a new leaf with a genuine acknowledgement of personal fault, but that would be terribly naive.
In fact, Morrison’s comments were entirely consistent with his character.
What he said was purely rhetorical; it wasn’t accompanied by any actions that might prove his new intentions.
He did it because he needed to, and only for political purposes. (Would he have made such statements if he was ahead in the polls? No.)
Note too that his admission was qualified by various excuses (the times called for it: Covid-19, natural disasters etc), and also that the whole sequence was an exercise in reframing his past behaviour: maybe I was too strong a leader.
And maybe it’s too late for him to change.
The Pacific family can breathe a sigh of relief. The adults have returned to the room.
Posted by: Stephen Charteris | 22 May 2022 at 12:54 PM
‘I’ve changed!’ Scomo’s big last lie (PNG Attitude, 15 May)
Posted by: Lindsay F Bond | 22 May 2022 at 11:09 AM
Morrison’s current last plea that he will change is like that of a drowning man making a promise to the almighty to save him as he disappears. It is however emblematic of the whole political process that has been allowed to develop in Australia and elsewhere. The government systems and the public services have been politicised to the point that they aren’t able to effectively perform in a traditional, apolitical sense.
The national political scene has developed into a perceived struggle between the centre right of private enterprise and the centre left of union aspirations. Those left in the middle then decide who will win at election time based on their perception of ‘What’s in it for them’ promises. These are the traditional ‘Swinging Voters’.
In Australia the swinging vote has often been around 10%. The current estimates are however around 30%. That should have started to sound alarm bells in the political parties. The fact that it hasn’t until the penultimate last gasp, speaks volumes about how disconnected the political system is from the voting public. Real and responsible democracy is in big danger of collapsing therefore.
If the political systems are disconnected from the greater public, many politicians are even further removed from those millions who are expected to listen to the storm of hyperbole and spin and base their vote on what they are served up as ‘policies’.
Party membership is not something that the majority of the electorate are not in anyway, interested in joining. Candidates from the major political parties are selected by a very small, totally committed traditional membership base. Therefore, those selected as candidates will be expected to represent the views of this small group of voters.
This has led to a very narrow field of candidates that the political parties can and will chose from to stand at an election.
Most voters have no real idea or interest about the inner workings of the political process until an election every three years or so actually gives them a seeming choice at the polls. Yet what ends up being said and what ends up being done can and often will diverge since it is only the media who are hopefully able to shine a light on what is really happening.
But the media per se, is constantly trying to sell their product in a commercial sense and can and dare I say, will be required to lean in the direction of their sponsors.
Given the public’s lack of any real interest or motivation in dissecting political spin, where does that leave the choices during the brief election campaign? Often like a dog chasing its tail as each side then keeps making promises in such a way that they can be ameliorated after the election results are known.
There is currently no independent process to ensure what the voters want they actually get. In the Westminster system, the adversarial process of a government and an opposition is relied upon to ‘Keep the bastards honest’. If both sides are however disconnected from their voting constituencies, what chance is there for any real change?
Those ‘rusted on’ diehards in each small legion of true believers are nicely set up and are quite happy with the status quo. Why is there any need for change?
Conservative politics has become beholden to the almighty dollar and factional interests. Traditional left leaning politics has become totally constricted by factional interests and a promoted class jealously. The old slogan of ‘Let the rich pay’ is found to be hollow as the thin veneer of those who may be well off, never pay since they can afford to pay for the legal means not to do so. Kerry Packer’s broadside at a Parliamentary Committee is a classic example.
So where do we go for answers to the current morass of voter indecision? Yep! Let’s try some ‘so called’ independents that might hold the balance of power. Some have proved this alternative worth the risk. Some haven’t. The same influences on independents will then be brought out by the same influences that affect the major Parties.
There is however a chance that it’s easier to hold the individual accountable rather than a group of slick sales people who can pay for their advertising by their unseen backers or the proceeds of the carve up last election payments for each vote received from the last batch of frustrated voters.
The fact that any major financial backers of the political parties will not be known until well after the election is a testimony to how far the current political process has been corrupted. That is, unless their contributions are split into smaller amounts that get under the allowable financial limit.
Gosh! Surely that wouldn’t happen. Could it?
Posted by: Paul Oates | 15 May 2022 at 10:39 AM
Posted by: Lindsay F Bond | 15 May 2022 at 10:22 AM