Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The distinction

I am currently writing a longer form piece about what it means to be on the left.  One of the definitions that goes around to distinguish the "left" and the "right" is the former's belief in "equality."  More nuanced versions point out that the right also promotes some kind of equality.

Perhaps a better version of the distinction was provided yestyerday by Amanda Vanstone writing in the SMH.  In an homage to the value of instead of whineing one should simply take the initiative to enjoy oneself, she tells us that we certainly shouldn't look to politicians.

As a piece of definition of the views of the right she says "After all if the government keeps wanting to make it harder for those with more, what's the point in busting your gut to get kicked in the guts?"  This from a person who was of the so-called Liberal left.  This is the real right in operation, portraying Government merely as a means to take ones possessions.  It is Bad King John writ large.

The separate political error is in the next sentence where she writes " If the government can't control its spending and has failed miserably to save for a rainy day you might well feel a bit dorkish playing Mr or Mrs Scrooge with your own finances." The only trouble being that the Government IS controlling its spending, Government expenditure as a proportion of GDP continues to be lower under this Government than under Howard.

Finally, in Vanstone's call to not look to politicians for inspiration she writes;

Do not look to the Parliament as an example of what is good in Australia. Australia is much better than a quick look at our question time would have you believe. Australia is richer, stronger, better, more productive, more innovative - I could go on - than our Parliament. We are made of better stuff.
This is disappointing from a former Senator, who should no better than the average citizen, that question time is not indicative of the contribution of politicians.  That comes far more in their formulation of policy, the decisions they collectively make about legislation and government finance.  And while it is convenient to believe in the image of monoloithic parties that are mere voting blocks at the behest of their leaders or factional chiefs, the reality is vastly different.  Look no further than the discussions on irregular boat arrivals and how the coalition responded, or the way the ALP addressed the UN Plastine vote.

Our politicians are much better than journalists, former politicians, and even current politicians frequently argue.

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