Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wellity, wellity, wellity

The small-l Lib mice really are coming out to play now the Big Bad Howard cat is gone, aren't they?

Marise Payne pwns her own party, thus:

Excepting hereditary monarchies, "born to rule" went out of vogue long ago and the democratic process is no exception ... in building broader representation and diversity, we must attract more members from multicultural Australia, more women and more young Australians who see membership of a centre-right party as a way to express their ideals in a stimulating environment of open minds and open debate. We need an agenda where the modern priorities include: climate change and water issues; addressing why women are still paid less than men in exactly the same jobs; dealing with the reality of modern family life in its many versions - particularly the notorious work-life balance.

And real money quote about teh gay:

(A) similar view from families, who believed that the life of their family member was perceived by our government as insufficiently "mainstream" to merit the respect and basic human rights that the rest of the community takes for granted, just because they were gay.
We can talk about the importance of family all we like, but once we are perceived as telling Australians that we disapprove of the lives of members of their family, I believe we are crossing a line, and we also pay a philosophical price for that.

I'd complain that Payne was nowhere near this vocal about such issues during her time as a government senator, but I sympathise with her, knowing she was Enemy #1 for the hard-right freaks in her own party and probably too busy watching her back.

Even Chris Pahhhne seem to be getting his moderate groove back:

(I)f we don't decide to engage in the centre of the political spectrum then we're basically signing our death warrant.

Well that's lovely, but I can already hear the howls of disapproval and protest from the right of party and Howard's meeja darlings. To wit, one Kevin Andrews:

The coalition ... should not abandon the centre in favour of the latest trendy alternative or middle class left fancy.

That's right kids, climate change, water conservation, gender and queer equality, work/life balances - all trifling middle class lefty fancies.

Pahhhne does raise a valid point that's equally applicable to Labor: the desperate need to stamp out internal factionalism that's squeezed out the grass-roots true believers in place of faceless machine men (hello, domination of NSW Liberal Party by Hawke and other uber-righty charmers). Traditionally, rot seeping from within to destroy has been idiosyncratically Labor but it's clearly now just as much a problem for the Libs.

The sad thing is, in winning the election Kevin Rudd did not nor ever will bring about a green lefty utopia*. He has indeed captured the middle ground - but said middle ground was shifted so far to the right under Howard's rule and Rudd isn't about to shift it back anytime soon. The 'middleness' of the middle ground is totally subjective.

(*Slightly o/t: Anybody else find it amusing to watch Howard's meeja luvvies try to have a two-way bob with their sniping at Rudd? On the one hand, he only won the election by copying Howard; but on the other, he's a 'comrade' according to Bolt. So which is he, conservative or commie?)

Tony Blair and New Labour were often criticised for being softer, pale imitations of Thatcher, but I can already see he'll appear positively Marxist compared to Rudd. But I also imagine this is precisely what will keep the latter in power here for a long time. He'll keep Labor right enough, but not so right that he can't raise the threat - with the implicit agreement of certain Libs, no less - of the resurgence of the real hard-right should the Libs ever be returned to power. And in the meantime, only acting at 50% capacity on issues on which he should be giving at least 80% - watering down Labor's commitments to formal federal recognition of same-sex couples or cutting back on greenhouse gases for examples - will seem the sensible, middle-ground approach to take.

The Libs don't necessarily need to regain the middle ground through any particularly progressive shake-up - they just need to neuter their hard-right Id. That's where they'll meet Rudd. After all, he's not that far away from them.

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7 Comments:

At 5/3/08 9:04 pm, Blogger Ross said...

The " 'middleness' of the middle ground is totally subjective" perhaps to those who aren't actually in the middle. I can see how that sort of insight could be arrived at among those with an activist bent, or others who mix in like-minded circles, or those whose main info sources are the SMH / ABC / SBS. Take out ideological agendas, and public consensus broadly agrees, through empiricism, on the limits and direction that policy should take to maintain civil security and progress. Things get sticky when it comes to social changes imposed by the few on the majority, like gay marriage, or union compulsion (including CSU), or government imposts for AGW without material substantiation for their need, - just rhetoric that's entirely political at root.

As for Rudd's credentials, he's a "commie" in conservative clothing. We're in the honeymoon period, with the ALP on its best behaviour to keep the media onside. The facade will drop in a year or two once the power playing has got into position.

You're completely correct about the Libs' impotency, though. At present they're way too disparate a church to appeal to anyone, really. From pro-AGW republicans courting the pink vote, through trad Lib pragamatists, through to homophobic fundamentalists; who knows what you're voting for?

 
At 5/3/08 9:25 pm, Blogger Sam said...

I find it amusing you still continue to believe you're somehow above 'ideological agendas' Ross, when at your worst you're one of the most aggressively parochial, single-minded bloggers I've ever read.

What you don't realise is that no, your middle ground is not in fact the majority's. And no, you're not in the middle, you're several miles the right of it. Embrace it, be happy with it - like you did that time you posted the image of the 'Keep Right' street sign.

But don't delude yourself that you're any centrist moderate. Such a person for example would not, as you have done, devote thousands of blog words and images to obsessing about organisations like the ABC, Socialist Alliance etc. A true centrist wouldn't really give a shit.

 
At 6/3/08 8:41 pm, Blogger Ross said...

I've found that true centrists do give a shit when they're given the opportunity to learn about how public policy is manipulated by an organised and activist far-left. I made a blog hobby of publicising it on my blog because there are few outlets around that show the machinations, and consequences, of socialist and 'resistance' networks. The gay media, for instance, certainly wouldn't. In fact, it's part of that partisan ideology that perpetuates the mindset and doesn't allow different views.

I've noticed, too, that the left usually play the man when they can't counter his argument.

 
At 6/3/08 10:04 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Again with the sweeping generalisations. I'm not The Left. No single person embodies The Left - that's your weapon of choice to say so. As you've just done with your Keating post. Keating becomes every single left or left-leaning person in one sentence. Miraculous.

If you think what I've said is 'playing the man' frankly you're being rather precious. I've criticised only your blog writing and responded to your patronising, though for you typically indirect and snide, implication that only misguided souls like myself 'with an activist bent' (whatever the hell that means - I'd like to see my long-term relationship equal at law, so shoot me) believe that the political middle ground is subjective.

I don't take your argument seriously enough to respond to in great detail because I don't take your claim to the middle ground, and therefore position of judgment, very seriously either.

 
At 8/3/08 8:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I've heard, Marise Payne was actually quite vocal about such issues, but 'behind the scenes' rather than in public.

 
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