CHRIS OVERLAND & KEITH JACKSON
NOOSA – We live at a time when It is difficult to find any outstanding political leadership in most of the world’s democracies. The professionalisation of politics, and associated political inbreeding, has reached its apogee. Winning and retaining power is now the main point of politics. Reform is a subsidiary issue. The will and capability to change and address difficult issues like global warming have been compromised.
There are no Clement Attlee’s or Aneurin Bevan’s in sight in the UK, no John Kennedy’s or even LBJ’s in the USA and certainly no Bob Hawke or Gough Whitlam in Australia. The only genuine radicalism and ambition for meaningful change comes from the reactionary right whose idea of reform is a return to a past when ‘normal’, white, male, God-fearing Christians ran the place.
Our understanding of Anthony Albanese’s strategy for Australia is to ensure that the ALP spends at least two terms in power. This he believes justifies policy timidity on things like asylum seekers, climate change, defence arrangements, tax reform, housing and many other testing issues.
But, in a rational world, there is little point in gaining power and then deliberately stepping away from tackling the painfully obvious need for positive transformation in these areas. It is inevitable that the public will withdraw their support simply because Albanese and his colleagues are not Scott Morrison and his unpleasant and incompetent mob.
Eventually, the Liberal-Nationals will ejaculate an alternative to the inept Peter Dutton. Aided and abetted by propaganda emanating from Lachlan Murdoch and his cronies at News Corp, voters will be persuaded to vote for new conservative leader who will be a more formidable adversary. It is worth recalling that Hitler secured support from 44% of Germans before they, far too late, understood his insane plans. The average of the latest polls in the USA, show that 41% of American voters and two-thirds of Republican voters, support Donald Trump. In both the US and Australia there are real prospects that the reins of power will pass to the hands of inept and dangerous conservatives. The UK is already there.
The threat of full-scale war breaking out will become ever higher as authoritarian powers become increasingly desperate to divert the attention of the masses away from economic and other failings. This is the historic pattern we see playing out in Ukraine. Our professional political class seems to perceive politics as a mainly transactional process where deals are done and necessary compromises made all the while sustaining the status quo.
What the political class appears to be struggling to understand is that authoritarians regard the prevailing situation as a struggle for the triumph of national will, honour and destiny. They see it as a life and death conflict where only the strong can prevail. Such an elemental view lies at the heart of both fascism and communism. Our political elites fail to comprehend that this logic even exists, although surely Putin’s explanation of his actions in Ukraine provides ample evidence that it does.
A historic dance of death between the great powers is already well underway, so whatever Albanese and company do is probably largely irrelevant. Our assessment is that, once the tectonic forces of nationalism and imperialism reach ignition point and/or the fallout from climate change overwhelms our ability to adequately contain it, all other problems will immediately fade into the background and our politicians will realise, much too late, that we have drifted into a terrible, perhaps impossible, situation. We hope this prognosis is wrong, but the lessons of history, and science, say otherwise.