Monday, February 18, 2013

Those Dumb, Whingeing, Conservative Aussies.

One of those deep questions keeping Australian pundits and politicians awake at night is why the populace seems unhappy and is particularly critical of the incumbent federal government, led by Labor's Julia Gillard. After all, all the data says that Australia is a world example of good economic management.

Ross Gittins, SMH's Economics Editor, has been consistently perplexed by this. Just a couple of weeks ago, Gittins summarized the Government's predicament thus:
"It's long been clear from polling that the electorate doesn't regard the government as good at managing the economy.
"Why this should be so is a puzzle. As Gillard rightly claimed last week: 'As the global economy still splutters, unlike the rest of the world we have managed our economy so we have low inflation, low interest rates, low unemployment, solid growth, strong public finances and a triple-A rating with a stable outlook from all three of the major ratings agencies'."
(See here)
An opinion often heard in the streets is that, well, Aussies are whingers.

Gittins himself offers a subtler, wordier and more sophisticated version:
"I've said elsewhere that part of the reason (...) is that many people's perception (...) proceeds not from independent observation but from their political alignment. Once I know who I'm voting for I then know whether or not the economy's travelling well.
"But there's another part of the explanation: the public's inability to distinguish between cyclical and structural factors.
(...) But such analysis is too subtle for most punters. To them, all news is cyclical: good news means the economy's on the up and up; bad news means it's going down and downer". (See here)
Let's not mince words, what Gittins is saying can be said in fewer and more direct words: critics of the Labor government are both Coalition voters and dumb. For them, according to Gittins, the economy sucks because Labor is in charge.

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Maybe Gittins doesn't need to ask them their reasons; I mean, a learned man like him can probably read ordinary people's minds.

And I sure can't speak for all those dissatisfied with the Labor government. Besides, I wasn't asked,

Still, I will explain why I, myself, am personally dissatisfied with the Labor government.

And, for the record, I might be dumb as a door knob, but God knows I am no Coalition voter. Never been one and never will be one.

I am dissatisfied because there is very little difference between a Labor government and a Coalition government. In no particular order and without claiming to be exhaustive: asylum seekers are still incarcerated having committed no crime; the unemployed, the disabled, the single parents are still systematically humiliated, harassed and impoverished so that the Government can claim they are "tough", exactly like the last Coalition government did; employment is precarious and getting more precarious; inequality keeps growing; Australian citizens, like Julian Assange and now Prisoner X, are abandoned by the Labor government, just like David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib were forsaken by the Coalition government.

The rich still do and undo as they see fit and laugh at everybody's faces; the corrupt go unpunished; Labor politicians stab each other's back, just like Coalition politicians do; the environment is still left to fend for itself.

And, let's remember something: the Coalition government boasted about the same wonderful statistics the Labor government does.

So, again, why should I vote Labor?

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With all due respect, you guys can worry about what to do with your wonderful statistics (I have a suggestion, though).

I have to worry about seeing a terrible Labor government replaced by a probably even worse Coalition one.

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