by Ben Hillier
Politicians stuffing up always makes good viewing. World leaders ruin the world for the rest of us, so we feel like the world is a little more bearable when they make fools of themselves or when we catch them butchering sentences, rather than entire populations.
Former US president George W. Bush and Russian leader Boris Yeltsin were masters of idiocy. There are hours of YouTube time devoted to them. Now there is a challenger to their mantle. His name is Tony Abbott. US TV show Last week tonight even devoted a segment to Abbott’s gaffes and idiotic musings.
Every week we are delivered fresh material. The latest comes from an interview with 7:30’s Leigh Sales. When pressed with hard facts about the deteriorating economic situation under his government, Tony responded: “Well I don’t accept that. The boats have stopped …”
Sales interrupted: “We’re talking about the economy”.
Tony pushed on: “The boats have stopped”.
Much of the anti-Abbott commentary emanating from the press and the ALP is fixated on Abbott being gaffe-prone, an incompetent leader, unable to communicate effectively, an international embarrassment.
The implication is that what matters in life is sophistication. That’s part of the reason that the liberal establishment and middle class types like people such as Malcolm Turnbull: if only we had an articulate liberal running the country.
But the real problem with Abbott is not that he so often appears an idiot; it is the policies of his party. It’s the budget measures that would take money from pensioners. It’s the increased pressure placed on unemployed people. It’s the cuts to health and education. It’s the cutting of funding to Aboriginal organisations and community services. It’s the whole agenda of ruling for the rich.
The Liberal Party exists to attack the working class. That doesn’t change with a different leader. The only thing that sometimes changes with leaders is the party’s capacity to carry out those attacks. In fact, that’s half the reason so many people, even those in his own party, don’t like Abbott – they want someone who can sell misery to those who would be made more miserable.
In that regard Turnbull could be even worse than Abbott. He is more socially progressive on things such as marriage equality. That helps him in the eyes of middle class progressives. But he is more right wing than Abbott when it comes to economics. He was a merchant banker, for God’s sake.
I’d much prefer a gaffe-prone idiot running a paralysed government over an erudite multi-millionaire scum bucket who gets things done for the establishment.
The article above is taken from the Australian Marxist fortnightly, Red Flag, here.