Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Bits and Pieces (xi).

So, the results of the pompously named Aussie SSM (same-sex marriage survey) are out. This was the question: "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?".

These were the answers:


For the record: although I was and remain apathetic about the whole exercise, I answered yes. (I also recommended that a same-sex divorce provision be added, but I don't think anybody actually paid attention to it).

Where does this "overwhelming" victory of progressive Australia leaves us? Well, two bills will go to Parliament for discussion and eventually to vote. In other words, the SSM left us exactly where we were last August: panem et circenses.

On the plus side: Smooth FM Sydney finally changed its programming. Apparently to celebrate. Yay! Victory.


Speaking of progressivism, Dani Rodrik writes:
"Many elites are puzzled about why poor or working-class people would vote for someone like Trump. After all, the professed economic policies of Hillary Clinton would in all likelihood have proved more favorable to them. To explain the apparent paradox, they cite these voters' ignorance, irrationality, or racism.
"But there is another explanation, one that is fully consistent with rationality and self-interest. When mainstream politicians lose their credibility, it is natural for voters to discount the promises they make. Voters are more likely to be attracted to candidates who have anti-establishment credentials and can safely be expected to depart from prevailing policies."
Whatever its virtues, I think that other explanation Rodrik proposes may have a serious defect: I doubt his explanation feels so good to those elites, particularly given that they supported Hillary Clinton. Sanctimony must feel fucking good. To give it up may be too high a price to pay.

On top, to acknowledge Rodrik's explanation has another price: to change their politics.


  1. Trump provides an example for the elites. Proclaim yourself a populist, and after you're elected, double-down on policies that benefit yourself and your fellow elites. Even the elites who oppose you will benefit. It's win-win.

    1. One thing you have to give Trump and the likes of him: at least they know what they are doing. You can call them cynical, manipulative, opportunistic, demagogic; you can say they are ridiculous, grotesque, and personally repulsive. You can say whatever you like about them and you'll be right.

      But they at least get what they want.

      The progressives, on the other hand, couldn't be any more clueless if they tried.

      This travesty of the SSM is proof of that. Parliament goes into holidays in the next few days: that's all the time those bills have for discussion.

      Victory! Yay!

    2. Same sex marriage is legal in Canada. It's a ho-hum issue over here.

    3. It's a ho-hum issue for me, too. Not so for "progressives".

      A few days back I had a little discussion with some workers about SSM. They were against it.

      Until that day, I hadn't seen anybody ever discussing this: That was the only time I had to argue this with another worker.

      To be fair with those two workers, they were not virulently opposed or hostile to homosexuality. They didn't ask for gays to be persecuted or stoned to death and I'm sure they were honest in that.

      They opposed the idea of marriage per se, just that.

      Now, I know this is only anecdotal. But they weren't white Aussie-born workers: both were what Yanks call foreign-born "browns". Neither were they Moslem or Catholics (the two usual suspect groups): they were Coptic Christians.

      Identity may be a ho-hum issue, but it is also a complex issue, isn't it? On top, it's divisive.

      That's why, I suspect, "progressives" love it. Ask our buffoonish PM.

    4. After SSM was made legal, Canadians stopped talking about it. The issue is settled.

    5. I'm pretty sure the same will happen here. In fact, it's one of the things I told those guys: next year they won't even remember the whole episode.

      The transitory nature of the adjustment doesn't really matter. Turnbull and the Coalition insisted on having that survey because
      (1) they are falling in the polls and they figure a divisive debate over identity issues may hurt the opposition (they, in other words, were banking on a Brexit-like thing, on people trading blows and getting hurt),
      (2) the double-citizenship fiasco (which they were all-too-happy to dwell on when the Greens were the only affected) has not only escalated, but has involved them big time and it's threatening with a constitutional crisis; now they don't want to hear a word about it.

      On top, people are not happy with the TPP2 they are promoting, with their use of the Federal Police as union-busters, with their plan to move superannuation accounts from being managed by non-profit, union-related organisations to being managed by their very for profit bank cronies, with their cut-taxes-for-their-mates plan, with their opposition to a royal commission on banking, with their fake Centrelink debts swindle, with their shitty broadband plan, with their Oz-joined by the hip with the US.

      While people are arguing among themselves "transcendent" question over God and marriage to be only among Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, all those things fade into the background.

      As a bonus, Turnbull can now jump on the "progressive" bandwagon: as a very shy libertarian, he never had the balls to openly contradict the conservative wing of his party on SSM, but once the results were made public, he was the first to hail the "victory for love" the survey meant.

      Give me a break.

    6. And there's something else: I'm not a political genius, nor it takes one to understand any of those things. All that is plain to see for anyone following local news.

      And, yet, local "progressives" either can't see any of that (are they really that stupid?), or see it all, but choose to remain silent.

    7. So it's a diversionary tactic. I don't believe that was the case when SSM was debated over here.

      Some Americans are saying that the bruhaha over Russia is distracting people from the damage being done by Trump appointees to their respective government departments. Who is responsible for the obsession with Russia? Establishment "progressives".

      And when deflection or distraction doesn't work, we get this sort of extraordinary conceit:

    8. The spin to turn Turnbull into a sad, forgotten, lonely hero:

      Same-sex marriage: Malcolm Turnbull got it done, and he should be given credit for that
      By political correspondent David Lipson


      Note the photo. The text below it adds:

      The jubilation in Lonsdale Street was in massive contrast to the Prime Minister's quiet celebration at home.

      Dinner and a glass of champagne with Lucy. Then watching the Socceroos (at a somewhat awkward angle) from an armchair in his bedroom at The Lodge.

      It was a relatively lonely image, especially of a man who revels amongst the crowds at Mardi Gras each year as it proudly stomps through his electorate.

      Yes, a relatively lonely image, carefully planned and delivered to the sympathetic columnist. Who took that photo? Not the columnist himself or a photo-journalist from the ABC. It came to the ABC straight from the Office of the Prime Minister (see the credits?).

      And the icing on the cake:

      It was left up to Labor and the Greens, who opposed the process, to dance in the streets.

      In his sympathy for the lonely Turnbull, the columnist forgets that spokespeople for the LGBT movement were the first to speak against the survey, for the same reasons the opposition: they feared a Brexit-like thing, which mercifully never materialised.

      And the proof that the diversion from more serious issues was a most welcome consequence from the SSM survey?

      Why, here

      Government cancels sitting week to deal with SSM vote, clean up citizenship mess
      By political reporter Henry Belot


      The Federal Government has cancelled a sitting week for the House of Representatives to allow the Senate to finish debating the same-sex marriage bill before it goes to the Lower House.
      The move comes in the midst of a citizenship crisis and a backbench push for a royal commission into the banks.

    9. Opportunism is the life blood of politics.

  2. You expect too much from your politicians, Magpie. Perhaps they have a better idea of the electorate than you do.

    Consider this recent announcement in my country:

    Could an Australian politician make a similar announcement?