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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Captain Tony - A Titanic Disaster

Captain Tony - A Titanic Disaster

Too Smart By Half

Australian Politics and Society

Captain Tony – A Titanic Disaster


Vladimir Putin once said “great promise is followed by great
disappointment”. This pessimistic view (typical of a Russian) holds true
nine times out of ten in politics, anywhere in the world. In spite of
this, Aussies almost always give a new mob a second chance – it’s been
almost a century since a government was booted out after one single,
solitary term in office. Considering this, the 2013 landslide election
ought to have set the Abbott government up until 2019.

On top of that, the ALP’s incompetence and disarray from 2010 through
to 2013 – a circus if there ever was one – turned the Labor brand into
the cheapest and most toxic commodity in Canberra. No one in their right
mind would have predicted a 2016 comeback – bookies at the time backed
this up with a 2016 Coalition victory at $1.17.

But stats are for cricket commentators. If a week is a long time in
politics, then three years is an eternity – and it is starting to feel
like an eternity in hell for the conservatives. They are weighing up the
worst of two nightmares – stick with the most incompetent leader their
party has had since Billy McMahon, face a humiliating electoral wipeout
after just one term in office, shuffle back into opposition with their
tails between their legs, having secured zero major reforms; or dump
their leader for Bishop or Turnbull, and go through the exact same
leadership chaos that brought their enemies to their knees. This is
democracy in its most pure form – damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

But what did they expect? What good could possibly come from
installing the most reviled and out-of-touch minister the former Howard
government ever spewed forth? So intent on regaining power, so focused
on power for power’s sake, they ran with the best attack dog in
opposition. They are now paying for it at the cost of now being run by a
mutt. The mongrel inside Abbott worked wonders in opposition. But when
the time came to step into the shoes of a leader, a statesman, a
visionary, he has remained the same barking mongrel.

Abbott, desperate to cling onto the prize he chased for so long, said
yesterday that “government is not a popularity contest. It is about
competence”. He is right – good government must be competent, and more.
It must focus on strong policy, effective management, capable
negotiation, proven results, and respectable leadership. Popularity
follows. Abbott has achieved none of these, and his woeful popularity
has followed.

Not once since he became “captain” in 2013 has he stood at the helm
of the ship. Not once has he commanded his ship with any sense of
vision, or even any sense of what a captain’s job really is. He has
spent the past year or so staring backwards from the ship’s stern,
gloating over the wreckage of the decimated Labor government, reliving
past glories. The result? He has failed to notice the gigantic iceberg
his government is on course to collide with head on.

While the government is on a full-steam collision course, Abbott
still remains chained to the same wrong end of the ship. While the
Australian voters are screaming for their captain to act, to steer their
ship away from icy waters, to pull out the telescope and at least aim for
something, he just keeps playing his fiddle with the same old “fuck
Labor” tune. It used to be a catchy tune. Now that his ship is sinking,
he will go down with it as the greatest one hit wonder the Liberals ever

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