Having drinkies this weekend with two old mates and the text messages between two of us are most instructive about the state of our nation.
“Lots of politics to discuss and lies of our past lives to tell,” I said to one.
His response: “Since the election, I don’t talk about politics. It’s too depressing but I will be in for talking about old times.”
Okay, fair enough and a disclaimer: both of these mates are ex-union officials and Leftie warhorses from way back. I love them dearly and not just for their philosophies: they led two of three original core unions that had their newspapers and magazines published with Liberty Press in Brisbane, the publishing outfit we journos started out of the five-week metropolitan dailies strike around Australia in 1979 over new technology.
It took me years to run Liberty Press into the ground at great personal and financial cost but that’s not important right now.
It’s that response of one of my mates. Discount his views if you wish but this sense of bitter disappointment, disbelief and most worrying of all, this complete disengagement, has been coming across loud and clear on my social mediocre platforms.
Sure, my Twitter and Facebook accounts have a left-leaning bias but the strength of feeling – the anger – has flowed from all sorts of people from all walks and stations in life.
My anger had not dissipated from the night of May 18. In fact, it might be getting worse.
And I steadfastly believe Australia is a deeply fractured nation now – and we didn’t even need a Brexit to create it.
I await the day when historians, sociologists and their ilk work out just how much damage has been done to Australian society by the LNP lying their way back into a undeserved third term with the media and Clive Palmer’s help.
One who I know will clearly scoff at that statement is an old journo colleague – wouldn’t call him a mate, close or otherwise – who reacted to one of my personal, post-poll Facebook rants with the advice that I should give it a break, Labor had lost and I should give the Morrison government a chance. I told him to go fuck himself.
Doubt that we’re a seriously divided country?
Consider this. If the polls had been right and Labor had won, I reckon most right-wing people – okay, not that prick – would have shrugged their shoulders and said “fair cop”, “we blew it” and maybe a very Murdochian “Labor will fuck up so we’ll only have them for three years” or two.
Instead, one of the shittiest governments I’ve ever observed in almost 50 years of interest in politics has fallen back into office on the back of a farrago of fibs that, as I’ve mentioned before, made Labor’s Mediscare the election before look like a kindergarten push-and-shove.
We may never see again a political party game enough to take to an election a big-target range of policies. An almost entirely negative campaign, the perfectly finale to years of personal vilification of an Opposition leader, is the template for the future.
The latest election has also shown once again that if a Labor government fucks up, they can be assured of at least two terms in opposition – three as it now turns out.
The LNP can fuck up big time, preside over a shit economy with some dodgy jobs figures as really their only boast, bitter infighting and more than the sniff of scandal and they can squeak back in, even if it takes mendacity of unsurpassed levels and the abandonment of time-honoured parliamentary procedures with royal commissions with no other aim than to wound Labor leaders, past and presen, and equally shonky taxpayer-funded inquiries to undermine Labor policies.
And where are we left at? The very people who actually care about politics – and, dare I say it, most likely examined Labor’s tranche of policies and supported them – are walking away, disillusioned and disgusted.
The tens of thousands of brain-dead morons in a handful of key seats who put Morrison back in couldn’t care less.
They continue to get glimpses of political ‘insight’ from shock jocks or, in Queensland’s case, from the LNP’s Bowen Hills branch.
They’ll continue to watch Australian Ninja Warrior and The Naked Farmer Wants to Root a New Bride at First Sight and think the return of Morrison and his band of bumbling boofheads, bores, blowhards and bullies is okay by them, especially now they get to keep their utes and they’ve been spared Labor’s 40% death taxes.
People who care are walking away and people who couldn’t care less don’t have the braincells or the interest to see the path Morrison is taking Australia down: one of small and ineffectual government, a shattered public service, all sorts of government services and activities farmed out to their wealthy mates and other time-honoured Tory schemes and themes where the rich will keep getting richer and the poor and the working class can cop it sweet.
Well, I’m not going to walk away, as tempting as that might be the way Albanese and Labor are acting right now, cowering and whimpering on the ground like a whipped mongrel dog.
I’ll keep the rage roiling.
And that old journo ‘mate’ of mine? Well, he can go and get well and truly fucked.