I suppose no-one will believe me when I say that I predicted the result of the UK election. But I did. It just seemed to me that when voters were presented with the choice of one or the other of two unstable coalitions – a rerun of the old one and a scary new one between Labor and the SNP – the voters would not want either and would go for stability and predictability with the Tories, warts and all. So the people knew perfectly well what they would be buying with the Labor Party – a mish mash of old-look socialism coupled with a feral SNP that would cause great instability if let loose. Better to avoid all of this, the people must have thought; give the Tories the power and authority that can come only from forming a government in its own right – and let them get on with running the country.
The result shows again just how useless the experts are when it comes to predicting elections and telling us what people believe and what they want from governments. Experts never talk to ordinary people of course, and seem to form their predictions by taking in each others’ washing; and many of us are now suspicious of being told the official opinions we are permitted to hold on issues like capital punishment, when in fact we hold a very different belief. So, although the people were told the election would be a dead heat and that unstable coalitions lay ahead, they rejected this notion and voted for stability.
There is a parallel here, if the Abbott government plays its cards right. Take just one issue. It must be pretty apparent by now that if the ALP came back, there would be a return to the chaos of disastrous refugee policies that we saw under Rudd and Gillard. You only have to read the shadow minister Richard Marles’s statements to see that this is the plan. Moreover, the ALP is now riddled with such a collection of guilt-ridden refugee- lovers and advocates of changing this country’s population mix, that they really do want to see a return to the old, failed policies. And yet, is the Abbott government highlighting this and putting clearly on the table just what a return to the ALP will mean? It is really one of the government’s weaknesses that it does not have a minister for politics who will set the agenda on these issues, keep hammering at them and make it clear that we can kiss good-bye to a stable refugee program and strong borders if the ALP gets back in control. And when the election comes along, all that the Coalition need say is: ‘Look at Europe and the insoluble refuge crisis it has inflicted on itself by open borders and using the Italian navy as water taxis; look at how we have avoided that here; and look at how its worst excesses would return with the ALP.’
How absurd it was of Fairfax to promote the line that Abbott is so homophobic that he would not even be received in Paris because our Ambassador’s male partner was present. Claiming that what was obviously no more than a silly diplomatic minuet was really a deliberate snub by the PM on the miserable ground of discrimination, was a low blow to inflict on anyone, even coming from Fairfax; they must have seen this alleged homophobic sideswipe was inherently untrue and contrary to Mr Abbott’s well established record of personal inclusiveness and civility. Particularly, the Age is now so reckless in what it says that the businessmen who think they run it should understand it is being commercially crippled by the left wing clique that really runs it. Meanwhile, in the best traditions of hypocrisy, the great champions of human rights at Fairfax have just wreaked havoc on dozens of employees working in its radio stations by summarily sacking them; a friend of mine has sadly reported that he has just been thrown on the scrap heap without notice, together with his quarter century of broadcasting experience. So much for giving the workers a fair go.
I see the universities are at it again. The University of Western Australia has smeared Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg and canned a proposal to have his prestigious think tank established on their campus. It originally agreed to host it, but at the first hysterical outburst of opposition, the university gave in and reneged on its promise. This was solely because Lomborg is seen as a climate change moderate and there is only one permitted opinion on that subject. It fits in well with the ban on Israelis in some universities and the almost comically uniform view pumped out by academics who use their university name to prop up their own opinions; and the universities let them get away with it. It is really sad to see how the universities, traditionally hot houses of conflicting views and debate, are increasingly becoming dull and uniform havens of robots repeating each other.
But at least the budget has some decent proposals. In fact, it is about the first time I can recall a government – including Coalition ones – actually setting free a section of the economy, small business, and giving it a real incentive to do things, to expand, spend, buy or even start a new business without being taxed into oblivion. This will give a great boost to investment, commercial activity – and the fortunes of the government. If only it sticks to its guns.
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