Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Whatever it takes

Ah, I can only imagine Liberal HQ's all over the country are starting to take on a certain "fuhrerbunker" atmosphere. This week has seen some increasingly desperate (and pathetic) attempts by the Libs to try and rein in what I pray to God is an imminent Labor victory.

The latest culmination of this is Liberal Party members distributing fake, racist flyers branded as Labor material in the seat of Lindsay.

The extra charming part is that the group of individuals behind it include the sitting members' husband, and allegedly at least one member of the state executive. Lovely.

That all said, I can understand that impulse that drives these doltish poltroons. It reminds me of one Graham Richardson, who infamously said he was going to stiff Bob Hawke - the prime minister he helped install - after missing out on a plum ministry job he coveted (he did, by the way, for any non-Australians reading).

When you're involved in anything you feel strongly about, it's very seductive to buy into that 'whatever it takes' mentality. The other guys can seem so wrong - so evil, if you want to take it that far - that any small moral compromises you make, even some larger ones, are all in service of a greater good.

Of course, when couched in terms like that, it seems silly. A six year old can tell you that the ends do not justify the means. However in the hurdy gurdy of a campaign - political or otherwise - the lesson is not so clear cut.

I think the reason why this kind of thing is so alluring, is because it's actually right, to a small degree. Some means do justify some ends. That can mean compromise sometimes, or simply something morally grey in exchange for something morally fantastic. But it's a dangerous path to tread, and one that involves constant self-interrogation, at least in my limited experience.

It's also a form of discrimination, I think, because it involves demonising who or whatever you're fighting against. It's a kind of game theory: positing two oppositional forces, and the only way to win said game is, of course, by winning it. I despair of this kind of thinking: it has blinkered many a brilliant political mind.

But real politics - or rather, real democracy - isn't just about winning, much as we may think or wish it so at times. The madness of campaigning can make even the most level head forget this, and with heads that are not so level (in this case tilted so firmly to the right they make Quasimodo look like a member of the Queen's guard), the results aren't pretty.

Democracy and governance are in fact not about winning at all, and the status of one party or another is - or should be - immaterial. One of the many reasons why I loathe this government so much is because of the calculated and joyful disregard it has had towards these two things; democracy, and governance. Here, clearly, is a group of people that care more about winning more than the actual prize they are competing for, and most certainly the citizens they are duty-bound to represent.

I don't mean to say the Liberal Party has a monopoly on such personalities: I'm quite certain every party has its fair share. But you only have to look at the campaigns run by the various parties this year to see the difference.

Those voices - the gamers - will always clamour to be heard, but sometimes they need to be disregarded; condemned and denied, whatever it takes. That's the real challenge, and it happens far away from the letter-boxes and daily grind of the hustings.



At 2:57 pm , Blogger TallulahBelle said...

Hon, if Kevin07 can't win this fucker, I'm moving to New Zealand. You with me?

At 11:05 pm , Blogger patrick said...

Damn Skippy, T Belle.


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