Nonsense about values in parties in opposition

The prospect of imminent death is not concentrating the minds of what is left of the Liberal Party.  People keep talking about the real or traditional ‘values’ of the Liberal Party.  (And then you know it is just a matter of time before you hear the word ‘Menzies’.) 

According to the Compact OED now in front of me, ‘values’ are ‘beliefs about what is right and wrong and what is important’. 

That’s quite a lot.  Especially for the beliefs of a political party.  For an Australian political party, we imagine that the values would in some way have to be labelled ‘Australian’. 

You only have to say that to see how silly it is.  (In the moonshine about the carnage at Gallipoli, some Australians speak of ‘mateship’ – as if the Turks had no mates.)

In beliefs about what is ‘right’ or ‘important’ in our political life, there will be ranges of views.  Two are connected.  Do we want to have more or less government interference in our lives?  Do we trust government, and are we optimistic about its role in our lives? 

One side may be labelled as ‘progressive’ or ‘liberal’.  The other may be labelled as ‘conservative’.  (Terms like ‘left’, ‘right’ or ‘socialist’ are quite useless.) 

In England, the two different approaches were represented in two parties – the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party.

In Australia, the Liberal Party tries to do both.  That is a problem.  What used to be called ‘a broad church’ is now a sprawling, ugly dog’s breakfast that cannot be said to stand for anything.

What ‘value’ does the Liberal Party stand for that the Labor Party does not?  Except a propensity to say ‘NO’ and keep Mum about the alternative?

The one difference between the parties is that at least the Labor Party has a coherent history – which gives it some kind of defined historical purpose.  Its trouble is that that history has links with blue collars.  That history triggers anxiety in the male white-collar descendants of convicts, screws and squatters, especially those raised in English style boys’ own public schools, and contemplating oblivion from the walled security of a city garden, sans dames and chaps who somehow don’t quite fit in. 

Which is pretty much the rest of Australia.

That is the stick of the Liberal Party. What is the carrot? 

Bribes.  That false prophet who preached the end of the Age of Entitlement was speedily banished.  For both anathema and heresy. 

We are the most insecure, government-dependant nation in the history of this planet.  A prime minister whom a friend dubbed ‘the little Sydney conveyancer’ detected what Bertrand Russell saw in us – an irresolvable penchant for mediocrity, which in his own case is defined by a wooden suburban picket fence in the brightest Dulux White. 

That government handed out what the Romans called ‘donatives’.  They are like the reverse of the French don gratuit.  The state must look after the ‘base’ – those who are financially comfortably well off enough to enjoy government sponsored perks on ‘leveraging’ their mortgage or their superannuation tax breaks. 

When sensible and decent people pointed out that these vote-buying bribes had no rational justification, a scream of anguished pain went up louder than that of ‘BALL’ from the Magpie army on a bleak day a long time ago at Windy Hill.

And so, the carrot became the stick again, and another election was lost, and we the people fell into the hands of the kind of oddball who really does believe in miracles in his own life and times. 

And our children were sentenced to longer terms of ultimate homelessness in the complete repudiation of what some idle grifters used to call ‘the Australian dream.’

What is left of the Liberal Party looks to be hostage to two very unattractive groups of people.  The Murdoch press, whose business model – its drive for profit – is predicated on conflict and deceit, and religious fanatics, whose blind faith leads them to the same drivers.  The result is inevitable – people who are fit to represent no one.

What is the role of the Liberal Party in opposition?  That role was defined by a most sagacious English historian of the French Revolution as follows.

…an Englishman …. has been trained to exercise his party spirit in the game called the Party System; and among the rules of that game – not always observed [1929] as they should be – are the obligation to sink personal differences in party loyalties, not to criticise your opponent’s policy unless you have a better one that you are prepared to carry out yourself, and in case of national crisis, to help rather than hinder whatever government may be in power.

Well, we did not need the wisdom of Dr J M Thompson to tell us that the Liberal Party, both state and federal, is not within a bull’s roar of doing its job.  Its members routinely violate each of those principles every day.

A two-party democracy must have two workable parties.  We don’t have that.  The Victorian government has already shown signs of a consequent presidential-style arrogance, and the fear is that the federal government may go the same way.

And it is no consolation – none whatsoever – that no-one – no-one – could make as big a mess of it as the United States of America.

The threat to our system of government is real.  You need only look to the UK and US for the last six years where ratbags unfit for any office have been elected because they had no adequate opposition.  We now have a federal Opposition Leader who is competing with the CEO of Qantas for the position of the most loathed person in Australia.

Et moi?  When I go to join the Wolf in his Valhalla in the Wombat Forest, will I do so as a faithful liege subject of His Majesty King Charles II?

Now that tells you something about Australian values.

Enjoy the coming days – sacred or profane.

Liberal Party – Dutton – role of Opposition parties – Trump – Johnson.

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