02 August 2010

Slimy local leaders

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 ..Whitlam, Fraser, HawkeKeatingHoward, Rudd, Gillard & ...Abbott ?
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...
The election news in Australia over the weekend was more than usually depressing.

Yeah, I know it's just another election campaign and it is as always pitched at people who aren't interested in politics or policy: swinging voters in marginal seats. I'm not in that target audience.

And I know that this is, due to the absence of any actual leadership, a Seinfeld election; about nothing, other than the identities of the leaders. And yeah, the Labor Party has recently and unexpectedly taken a potentially election losing hit in the polls, which, as usual, none of the Fairfax or ABC experts foreshadowed (now why might that be?)   But that's not why for me it's been so depressing.

It's because of what we've now learnt, from people who actually knew him, about our former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.  It seems he was a seriously morally deficient little creep.

Mark Latham, Alexander Downer and David Penberthy are only the latest observers who are now piling onto the growing band wagon, along with the Union heavies who knifed him like Mark Arbib and Bill Shorten.  It is giving us all a pretty clear picture that our former Prime Minister was a self absorbed, manipulative and untrustworthy back- stabber with a vile temper and a serious case of adult interpersonal immaturity.

He was also the leader of our nation.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but it is still depressing to have your worst, most cynical, fears confirmed. This seems to be an all too common case of how manipulative, over ambitious, morally challenged individuals who are prepared to actively undermine perceived rivals, are the ones who reach the top, and thereby have the most influence over our lives. Good does not out in the end. Evil is too seductively attractive to be resisted by the ambitious. Nice guys finish last. Only the nasty succeed in politics.

Prime Minister Gillard has also now decided to play catch up in the polls by actively targeting Abbott the man rather than the ball of policy. This is a shameful tactic, and it should be called as such by the public punditry, but they are just salivating at the prospect of the campaign getting interesting now that it is to become openly personal.  This just reinforces the deeply depressing nature of this campaign.

Can it really be that this power seeking, gender exploiting politician, who rose through the party ranks to the top job on a wave of sanctimonious leftist purity and identity politics, is now so predictably showing us that all her idealistic puffery in getting there was just that, a clever bluff?  She seems to be now living out the same ugly truth about the powerful as her predecessor, whom she so brutally eliminated to get there.

I didn't think I particularly liked Tony Abbott's brand of moral politics, especially his alleged inclination to want to dabble in social engineering, but at least he seems to be who he says he is, including admitting that, like all of us, he lies at times. I like also that he at least seems to be talking, in this election anyway, about the limitations of government intervention, as if that is an OK thing.

The crumbs of comfort to be found in all this are in seeing that our politicians aren't really all that powerful, even if they can sometimes be pretty scary when wielding their huge taxation and regulation levers.  But there's also the increasingly palpable feeling that the putative glory that is sought by these miserable shits is merely transitory. Ozymandias anyone?

For all its sub-optimal failings in so often putting the wrong people in power, democracy seldom seems to allow these self promoting moral cripples to stay in power for too long.  Churchill was right. Democracy is the worst form of government. It's just the least worst form of government that humanity has so far been able to conceive.

I guess the flesh crawling sliminess of these politicians must come from the greasiness of the pole they've had to climb to get to the top. They can't have been like that from birth can they? Otherwise no-one would have fed them.

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