21. Sep, 2015

Zany or Gimcrack - Not Really the News

Today’s news headlines reflect the universality of zaniness in the world of politics.

Australians, without going to the polls, awoke this morning to a de facto Labor government.

Commenting on the charnel house that is his new cabinet, Prime Minster Turnbull magisterially declaimed that his is: “a contemporary 21st-century government”.[1]  By implication the Howard, Rudd, Gillard, Rudd and Abbott governments were all 20th-century constructs. Top marks for arrogance!

That the Turnbull cabinet has been greeted by the Australian media with all the chutzpah of a freshly elected reformist and socially progressive Labor Government speaks volumes about the flakiness of our political chatteratti.   

The gloating and revanchist Turnbull has decimated his enemies and rewarded richly his sycophants and cup bearers. But he has clearly forgotten that he won this battle by ten votes – had six voted the other way…?

How smart is this wunderbull? Rather than healing wounds he has now created a sizeable disaffected rump waiting to cause trouble. If his last shambolic turn at the helm is any indication his pride and arrogance will fuel further disaffection. Moreover competing lobby groups and his desire to be seen to be green, lean and socially progressive will undoubtedly clash with the national economic reform agenda. Furthermore, concerning matters of national security, how can the compleat social progressive maintain a hard-line on stopping the boats?

Thus, on the subject of boats, although he has won an immediate battle, how will Turnbull’s fresh troops fare when the troopship’s on the tide?

…………

On the other side of the gimcrack divide, the Greeks by contrast have gone to the polls and voted for … the same old same old.

The mercurial and serial election caller, Alexis Tsipras, hailed a "victory of the people" after his left-wing Syriza party won Greece's fifth election in six years.[2]

Turnout in Sunday's poll was just over 55%, down from 63% in January and low by Greek standards. Hardly surprising when the long suffering Greeks were only just recovering from a costly and totally unnecessary referendum two months ago.  

In addressing supporters in Athens Tsipras said: "I feel vindicated because the Greek people have a clear mandate to carry on fighting inside and outside our country to uphold the pride of our people."

How many times does Tsipras need to be told he has a mandate?

Continuing grandiloquently, if fatuously, he posited: "In Europe today, Greece and the Greek people are synonymous with resistance and dignity, and this struggle will be continued together for another four years…. We have difficulties ahead, but we are also on firm ground. We won't recover from the struggle by magic, but it can happen with hard work."

The best advice that can be given to Tsipras is to stop talking, wasting time and money and get on with it.

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[1] The Australian 21 September 2015.

[2] BBC http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34307795?ocid=global_bbccom_email_20092015_top+news+stories