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The Heart of Politics   Dec24 2017

Filed under Throsby |

Politics has a Heart?

In the strangest of dreams, Throsby welcomed to his occident neighbourhood an occupant of oriental origin.

Her nocturnal avatar visited his REM trance to disclose she lectures in politics – plus some other incidentals now lost in memory.

Still vivid, her face, voice, and gestures disclosed a truth that only a mocking subconscious could concoct unsolicited from its quirky depth.

The hallucinated neighbour explained in a voice crisply intoned:

“There is no exact word for politics in my language. But we have a phrase for politics that translates to English: “The heart of the manure.”

Throsby jests not. The moment was lucidly dreamt.

But in the waking state he will now glance askance at any adjacent resident.

Don’t Look Before You Vote

Persisting through #AusPol 2017, a combined voting intention of Australians held that 53% (two-party preferred) would select a Labor candidate should an election occur.

Yet two recent by-election results – Barnaby Joyce in New England and John Alexander in Bennelong – cast doubt government would change.

Throsby doubts that doubt.

Gunna Joyce land-slid back into office, but lacked a high-profile opponent. His electorate – disdainful of southerners and predisposed to an independent State of New England – were plainly offended having to reaffirm their baby-kisser of choice because some glitch in the constitution was maddeningly reaffirmed by a High Court incapable of bending law, as country folk expect their friendly local wallopers duly so to do.

Tennis Elbow Alexander also romped in, but it’s more complicated. The large Chinese expat contingent of his Sydney suburban electorate should have, according to myth, favoured Labor’s bright red good luck T-shirts at the very least. They also ought been disturbed by the government’s “China-bashing” campaign directed at the Dastyari donations clusterfork. One might counter this surmise by walking a mile in their sandals to discover little love lost for a motherland regime from which they are presumably here to avoid and forget.

But why, pondering more broadly, did the purported sins of the Coalition LNP government (since the Mad Monk took reign and was abruptly turfed by Leather-top Turnbull) not ensure our two constitutional illiterates were by-elected into oblivion?

Even an objective observer of Australian politics – and Throsby is ever thus – would colour the government benches as a thuggish mix of opportunistic miscreants who cast major infrastructure projects into lost decades, wield misanthropic neoliberalism so clumsily it dragged social and economic progress back to the pre-Hawke era, and wave Hillsong crucifixes at the largely irreligious electorate with impunity?

But no matter how extensive the list of Coalition missteps (broadband, marriage equality, union-bashing, renewables hysteria, energy inaction, gas “shortage,” company tax cuts, banking enquiry, climate change, middle east wars, offshore detention camps, penalty rate cuts, Centrelink robo-debt, welfare cards, declining wages…) a majority of voters seems blithely indifferent.

Polling shows both for this year and 2018 that if voters feel their personal fortunes proceed swimmingly, he and she will ignore any amount of malevolent behaviour from their government – and happily return them term after term despite persistent damage to the nation through endlessly expedient or self-serving behaviour directed by an ideology that can generously be described as the opposite of nation-building.

Throsby suspects that most voters would not switch sides even were their favoured political party to ceremoniously burn that voter’s house down, right before their unseeing partisan eyes – Liberal, National, Green, PHON, or Labor.

And that is the great, eternal, agonising crux of politics: the lazy uninformed citizen of democracy.

As the famous pie chart of the 2016 US election explains: 63 million voted Trump, 66 million voted Clinton, while 71 million people didn’t give a shit.