A federal election, selfish voters and the media circus.
August 17th, 2010 · Greg Atkinson · 32 Comments
Thankfully one of the least productive uses of resources on a national scale, a federal election, will soon be over. As usual the government of the day amazingly comes up with a whole range of great ideas that it failed to come up with during the previous 3 years and the crowd trying to gain power, attempt to convince us that they could do better.
But at the end of the day the election will be decided by a fairly large group of selfish voters who will simply vote for the party they hope will give them something for nothing. Forget about the swing voters, the people with real political clout in Australia are the selfish ones.
Australia is gradually becoming ungovernable. It is simply becoming too difficult to manage the country effectively while at the same time giving the public what they want, because the two objectives are not compatible.
Take housing for example. The majority of people say they want affordable housing to be widely available but most home owners expect and want house prices to keep going up. So state and federal governments have for years implemented policies to prop up the housing market and these have helped push home prices up.
The truth is that it is not really possible to give homeowners what they want i.e: a steady rise in the value of their home and also make housing more affordable. But most politicians will promise they can but after the election the government of the day will somehow try to keep everyone happy by basically not doing much.
Then we have the issue of global warming. Many Australian’s take the high moral ground regarding global warming and say CO2 emissions must be cut but will do basically nothing to reduce their own CO2 footprint.
So it seems a large percentage of voters want the government to do something to reduce the amount of CO2 being released into the atmosphere as long as it does not personally affect their lifestyles or increases the cost of living.
As a nation we could easily reduce our CO2 emissions significantly by phasing out power stations that use coal, but that would mean shifting into the 21st century by embracing nuclear power. Sadly that is not likely to happen for a while. It would also be political suicide for any party to say nasty things about coal because it would lose a handful of seats at the election.
So on one hand millions of Australian’s say they are worried that human activity is causing the planet to warm, but on the other they won’t embrace the technology that would cut at least 20% of the nations CO2 emissions.
Sadly these days it appears that many people want a modern lifestyle, a good home, a flatscreen TV, money to spend, access to quality health-care etc and feel it is the government’s job to make sure they have these all things…now.
So during the election campaign politicians will be out and about basically telling people that they can have what they want. Along the way they will also try and convince us that their political party will save the planet, make children smarter, increase wages, create jobs, clean up traffic congestion, deliver more affordable housing, control inflation and find out where Elvis is living these days.
But what makes it truly impossible to effectively govern the nation is that many people don’t want taxes increased or work harder. So the party that wins the election on the weekend will simply be the party that is able to convince a large pool of selfish voters that they can have their cake and eat it too. It’s that simple.
People also want to live under the illusion that they can consume as they want and that somehow this is not linked in anyway to C02 emissions. They want to do their bit during Earth Hour and feel good about themselves, but then race off to buy the latest Iphone and pretend that is a carbon neutral action.
However the mainstream media won’t put things that simple. Their job is grab people’s attention and make out that everything is so complicated that we need reporters and political commentators to explain things for us.
Indeed it seems to be a very complicated task because both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott are followed by a small army of reporters who have put aside their concerns about global warming and are doing their bit to release a few tonnes of CO2 whilst they all basically turn out the same news from the election front.
Of course there are some journalists who do good work, but do we really need so many reporters following the two leaders?
The reality is that the political system we have needs the media circus so that the major political parties can feed the public with half truths, twisted facts and outright lies that should otherwise never see the light of day. Reporters and media personalities are often just as guilty of twisting facts and telling outright lies as your average politician.
Thankfully the election campaign will soon be over and then we can all wait for a handout, tax cut or the tooth fairly to arrive. But don’t expect any tough decisions to be made soon because the politicians know we don’t like them. We will simply drift through the next three years until the circus comes back into town once again!