There used to be a line in the Lord’s Prayer which went: “But lead us not into temptation; and deliver us from evil.” The progressives in the Anglican Church changed it to read: “Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.” The reason why the progressives changed it was because they wanted to be led into temptation but didn’t want to pay the penalty for being caught. It’s called Eve’s defence: “The snake made me do it” and “she made me do it.”
And that explains the Australian Labor Party.
Two mornings after the ALP’s stunning defeat at the federal election, one heroic figure from the ALP parliamentary wing declared on Their ABC that the Party would continue to fail at elections until it got back to its ‘blue collar roots’. Mind you, his articulation of the bloody obvious resembled Rob Oakeshot’s 17 minute oration, so he must have been scratching around for a blue collar at the same time.
There was, however, a moment’s silence from an ABC host who was rendered speechless by the prospect of no ALP government, ever. That was followed by some implicit head nodding while mouthing “working class roots” and “blue collar roots.” He took a while but did recall that there used to be people out there who did actually work for a living.
What went unremarked was the fact that Pauline Hanson’s One Naton’s initial electoral victory was at the expense of ALP seats, mostly from what were then recognised as working class Queensland electorates. The pundits subsequently – I don’t mean Tony Abbott and John Howard who both since suffered ignominious defeats but whom Hanson holds personally responsible for political corruption charges that saw her jailed – all said that the ALP had to reconnect with its working class roots if it was to defeat populists like Pauline Hanson.
So, what progress has the ALP made in connecting with its working class roots? An honest appraisal would conclude none. Even Kevin Rudd declared that he was financially a conservative in order to appeal to the conservative element that transcends the economic class system so loved by ALP politicians.
The ALP’s problem is precisely the same as that of the Democratic Party in the United States. It no longer has the politicians or the policies that will allow it to connect with working men and women whose main concern is not the next Mardi Gras, but what the kids will eat for lunch during the school week. Mention immigration and coal mines and you capture the black hearts of the ALP and the Democrat officials in one hand. The ALP does not have the principles, let alone the policies to which working men and women can turn knowing that their families’ lives would be better; not immeasurably better, just better.
The ALP is so progressive it only has international principles and one is obliged to ask what bloody use are they to a family putting bread on the table? But it explains why the ALP is so attractive to inner city Melbourne, the Abbottsford almond milk coffee brew set and the equivalent in Sydney and Brisbane, but rejected elsewhere.
The ALP appeals to a narrow group of wealthy, young, self-obsessed individuals who believe that saving the planet will preserve their solar lifestyle; who save whales and fruit flies while demanding the right to kill their own babies. It’s a comfortable lifestyle if you don’t have a conscience. And yes, there are individuals who vote for ALP candidates in the hope that pensions will increase and the schools will improve, but the Party’s only working class base these days consists of public servants (whose employment is not performance based) and a few hard hats from the CFMEU.
The ALP has rid itself of men and women who designed policies which would advance Australian families. That is why it will never again connect with its blue collar roots or even working families.
Labour’s officials have handed the Party over to the fringe groups of society, the marginalised, the intemperate, the rainbow serpent worshippers, the mentally ill and the ever so artistic, that is, the progressives with the polite request: “Please lead us into temptation.”
David Long is a retired solicitor, economist and PhD candidate at Griffith University, School of Law.
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