Friday, April 18, 2008

Sharing power

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People think governments want to stay in power. But they dont - they will happily share it. I think the major political parties know that they would both be loosers if they engaged in political cat fights among themselves. They would be opening themselves up to 'third' parties. In Australia there is no serious contender as a 3rd party. The Democrats were always on a path of self-destruction or irrelevance. One Nation posed a threat to the Liberal-National alliance, but the Minister Tony Abbot managed to have her put in prison for things that happen in the major parties every term. Public abuse of expenses. She lost credibility, sadly Abbot did not. I've never seen anything so malicious in my life. Dont think we need that type of cunning in politics. Which gets to the crux of the modern political system.
The major parties have an understanding, just as national governments have an understanding. They dont enter into the political fray of other countries. Thats considered 'bad politics'. The difference of course is that you expect an opposition party to ''keep the bastards honest". But thats not the case anymore. That type of accountability only undermined both of the leading parties. So now they have 'rules of engagement'. They are gentlemen of course, so there are certain things you dont talk about. Some things are probably quite appropriate, eg. You dont get into the lives of politicians wives or children.
But there are rules which are designed to keep both parties in control of politics. Those rules are there to help them share the cake, since they want you to think its a 'fair competition'. Just as you dont see politicians dont compete in parliament over their remuneration. Instead the debate is held over Xmas session when everyone is happy. Such matters are agreed outside parliament.
The intent is to entrench the 2 major parties so the voters have the pretense of a choice, but actually we all know that a duopoly is far from a free market in ideas. Its actually just a recipe for collusion. Its not a basis for informed debate, its a basis for backoffice deals. The existence of a parliament is starting to make less sense than ever. The rhetoric and pretense aside, parliaments exist for the sake not of giving you representation, but rather to give politicians jobs and a travel allowance.
They just want to have the opportunity to 'be' in power, the sustainability of that position is less important. They don't play for keeps, they just want to be at the table to ensure they 'get their cut'. The Conservatives and Labor/Democrats are not enemies - they are allies intent on sharing the same prize. The system is designed so that they win by virtue of having held office. Think about it:
1. Power
2. Corporate directorships
3. Lifetime pension

Yeh it might be boring to you, but its appealing to these 'safety-conscious' people. You think it takes courage to be a politician? Why do they refuse to hold an independent judgement, let alone express one? They have the perfect mind to get out of problems - a good memory, but not the capacity to solve problems - a critical mind. The people that run the country are more likely to be in the backoffice, but paradoxically they too have been corrupted by the process. They are also safe people. The soul of a bureaucrat is not what leads a country for the same reason - they are anti-intellectual - anti conceptual.
Andrew Sheldon
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