Thursday, May 04, 2006

world: election campaigns: the evil pandering to the dumb

Ahh, politics. Isn’t it so stupid and venal, so much of the time? Don’t you long for the occasional presence of statesmen? Ah, but they wouldn’t get where they are today if they didn’t pander to all sides, ignore their native constituencies.

Of course, John Howard won the 2001 Australian federal election with an intentionally dishonest scare campaign – the children overboard saga. Senior MPs – including Howard – knew they were likely to be misleading the electorate, by claiming asylum seekers were throwing their own children out of their boat. Stupid basis for an election victory? Stupid bloody times.

And we know the 2004 election was won through a dishonest scare campaign too. Media swallowed the Liberal Party ploy, repeatedly headlining their claim that interest rates would run higher under the Australian Labor Party.

The fact that the Reserve Bank upped the interest rate yesterday has been trumpeted as proof of the lie. But it’s not really, of course. Editors are slaves to the story angle.

If it wasn’t for that, the Liberal Party wouldn’t be able to sustain their fear campaigns. But that’s how politics and media works. At the worst - at election time - they are evil carrion-feeders, teaming up to prevent any semblance of rationality creeping into a serious decision about stewardship. A semblance of media bipartisanship [support for the ALP’s 1993 GST scare campaign] is stone cold comfort.

It’s not the fault of a monolithically dumb electorate. Most people will have solidified their opinion over the previous term. It’s the fault of the pig-idiot strata on the cusp, those in the middle who were stupified by the responsibility, giving their soul to any perverted doomsayer that could insert a half-baked idea through their drunken numbness.

But we know that, don’t we?

We know that both sides were taken over years back by the same monetary ideology (here called economic rationalism). We know that yesterday’s hike proves nothing, and that interest rates are on the uphill worldwide.

We also know by now that the middle ground is populated by rubber-spined penny-pinchers who can’t see past their noses, let alone next week. It’s a shame politicians learn that lesson so rapidly.

We shouldn’t underestimate the cynicism and inhumanity of politicians and their criminal media cohorts who love an alarmest story at the worst of times, election time.

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