Partisan politics = bad times


I was watching Q and A on the ABC last year when the emissions trading scheme was still being debated (what, it’s still being debated? Huh?).  Two of the panellists were Paul Howes, the National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, and Christine Milne, the deputy leader of the Federal Greens party.

Christine Milne was spouting her usual lines about how curing climate change through an aggressive ETS would help every person in the entire world economically, socially, productively, emotionally, spiritually and cosmologically.

Well, Paul Howes was having none of that.  Watching him in action was a thing of beauty.  His logic was impeccable and his tone was aggressive, almost bullying.  He was pretty impressive.
Suddenly, I thought I had entered an alternate universe.   Could this be true??  A union official I thought was both relevant and intelligent?

It seemed too good to be true.

Sadly it was.  It turned out that he has a pair of Labor coloured glasses that he views the entire world through.

Nothing, in his opinion, Kevin Rudd did was wrong... well, until the polls dropped.

Now, in his opinion, nothing Julia Gillard does is wrong.

Also, in his opinion, nothing Tonny Abbott or the entire Liberal party does is right.

And that’s the great tragedy of Paul Howes.  That a man so likeable and intelligent could be such a partisan puppet.

It’s one of the most annoying things in this largely annoying campaign – that people who I respect and consider intelligent can be so party aligned that they think everything one party does is amazing but anything the other party does is garbage.

I like to think I’m reasonably impartial but the truth is I’m not.  I’m inherently more conservative so naturally my preferences will drift to a conservative party, like the Coalition.

However, I’d like to think that, at times, I can retain a little credibility by opposing stupid Coalition policy announcements along with criticising Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey etc when I think it’s appropriate.

For example, when Tony Abbott got absolutely eviscerated by Kerry O’Brien on the 7:30 Report in his now infamous 'Gospel Truth' performance, I joined the chorus of boos.  It was a truly terrible interview and he was widely panned.  Justifiably so.

As a ‘relatively’ impartial observer, while I was disappointed in his performance, I still found it pretty funny.  There was no way I could possibly explain away how bad it was.

However, in a similar way, I have widely panned Julia Gillard’s citizen’s assembly.  Oh the humanity!  That is, by a country mile, the worst idea of the entire campaign.

(Interestingly, my mate Steve and I debated whether the citizen’s assembly of the 20/20 summit was a bigger waste of time.  We agreed it was the 20/20 Summit... but it was close.)

The interesting thing though is, while Paul Howes was all too happy to pan Tony Abbott for his 7:30 Report performance, however, he has been defending the citizen’s assembly till he was blue in the face.

And there my friends is the problem.  Howes is so partisan that even when confronted with a truly horrible idea, can’t bring himself to admit that it’s a bad idea.

Now, purely from a pragmatic perspective, a bad idea is a bad idea.  Bad ideas are by definition bad.  Isn’t it a little disappointing when people refuse to acknowledge something as a bad idea just because of their partisan politics?

Let’s not beat up on Paul too much though, he’s not here to defend himself.  Because, quite frankly, the blame is far wider than that.

There’s a guy I follow on Facebook who is as partisan for the Liberals as Howes is for Labor.  It’s pretty annoying stuff.  Even when the Coalition screws up, he’s right there lauding them for their visionary decisions.

Well, enough is enough. 

People of Earth, please take off your partisan glasses once in a while and be a little more honest.

Bad idea from a side you support should be condemned, and good ideas from the side you don’t support should be commended.

I must say, I’ve seen more bipartisan support this campaign from Abbott than from Gillard.  He’s been bipartisan on a massive two whole things.
First, the Coalition supported the first stimulus package.  Second, he’s supported the withholding of welfare after a period of time in the Northern Territory as part of the Intervention package.

Both ideas he liked so he supported them.  Fair cop.

Still, I can’t help but be a bit disappointed with the ruthless dismissiveness (I know, I know, that’s not a real word), that both leaders show to almost every idea from the other side bores me. 

There’s no light at the end of this tunnel.  Rather, it’s going to be like this for a long, long time.  It won’t change.

I just wish Paul Howes would change.

C’mon Paul, you’re better than that.

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Paul Howes
Paul Howes is a smart guy,
but is also way too partisan.

Tony Abbott's performances on the
7:30 Report have been less than stellar.