November 23, 2007

History Lessons

The key to good government is a strong opposition. The irony of this truth is easily lost in Pakistan at the moment, but in Australia we're only just waking up to the reality of 11 years of poor opposition politics from the Labor Party.

Such is the arrogance of the current Howard government that their brand of politics borders on fascism. Having spent 11 years running down budgets for health and education, widening the gap between rich and poor, plummeting our troops into a war we cannot win and ignoring the academic and scientific community we finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. John Howard truly is the modern Captain Bligh, charging his little ship of fools head-first into the unknown and blindly sealing his own fate with acts of desperation and fear.

Scandalous leaflet drops in marginal seats is not the real low-point of this election campaign, it's the way the Prime Minister chose to handle the issue. Once again when faced with a serious failing and obvious evidence he chooses to deny culpability on any part of the Liberal Party and paint the problem individuals as acting outside the authority of the party. Yes, even though the people in question were not only members of the campaign team but husbands of the Liberal candidates.

Saturday will bring a new future to this country. Bloody hell we need one. Saturday will give us a chance to begin to think for ourselves again, to start putting a value on educating *all* children instead of just those who have the deepest pockets, to start respecting the fragile nature of health care and avoid the disasters that are befalling the US model, to build a path to true foreign policy and a better relationship with the international community - particularly our neighbours in Asia.

At a time when the country is flush with money from natural resources we should be putting that money to good use and building a stronger society that can withstand the uncertainties of the future. Instead we have spent 11 years pissing it up against the wall, fattening the bellies of the rich and powerful, and squandering talent and opportunity for the sake of misguided ideology.

The legacy of the Howard government will be a leadership that spent all their time working on the task of holding onto power, and in the process let our nation slip backwards. Instead of listening to the experts, respecting the academics and learning from our scientists we have been governed by a mob of idiots who have the arrogance to believe that they know better than anybody. Discussion and debate have been replaced with spin and bullshit.

Saturday night will be historic, and lets hope that both sides of politics learn lessons from the outcome.