Mediocrity Rules, OK?19 May 2011
I suppose I returned to Australia hoping that politicians here had got their act together – but, in the common parlance, it’s same old, same old. They really are an extraordinarily mediocre, petty-minded and parochial group of people. Where’s the long-term planning, the big picture?
The big debate since the budget a week or so ago is whether we consider a family income of $150,000 a year to be called rich. The tabloids have dragged out “typical” families who are struggling to make ends meet and frankly I don’t think the majority of Australians have a great deal of sympathy. A family budget that includes $3000+ a month for a mortgage, private school fees and $500+ a month for TV/Internet/Phones is hardly typical of the “lifestyles” of most of us. And insulting to a great many (the majority of) Australian families.
I do agree with most of the decisions of this Government but I wish they would present them so much better. They don’t explain to people what they’re doing and why, and we’re left with Tony Abbott’s rants and those of the radio ‘shock-jocks’ being the only interpretation many of us get to hear. A typical case was at the last election. Economists tend to fall into two camps when it comes to recessions – spend nothing or inject money into the community. The “spending nothing” brigade around the world didn’t fare very well this time and Kevin Rudd took what I thought was a bold decision to spend big. And it appears to have worked. We’re one of the few First World countries to have avoided a recession, employment figures are high, interest rates are low. The Labor party could have really capitalised on that during the election in 2010 but were fairly silent on the subject. John Howard would have sat on the cash and the $150,000 a year brigade really would be struggling – they probably wouldn’t be earning $150k any more for a start.
I’ve had a great interest in politics since I was a child (for some obscure reason – I wasn’t brought up in a particularly political household) but in both Britain and Australia at the moment (I don’t know enough about American politics) we’re lumbered with not particularly intelligent, and certainly not charismatic, leaders. The Leader of the Opposition is a good example – he seems unable to string a coherent sentence together for a start. Is Tony Abbott a complete fool or does he just take the voters for fools?
Or both (which I think is the answer)?