Monday, August 20, 2012
Yes, I've been a little un-blogged of late
I’ve had a short break from the blog, not through writer’s block or a similar procrastinative affliction, but rather a surfeit of thoughts, views and observations. There is so much going on in my various fields of interests at the moment that I feel the need to appropriate one of my favourite expressions,
‘There are too many things I want to say’, the title of a book by artist and author Maruki Toshi who with her husband and through their art, became leading advocates for victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.
So over the next few days, I’m going to try to put together some views on the Newman Government (of course, because I must); territorial disputes in Northeast Asia; political dissent in Japan and some questions about security and political culture of nation states.
For now, it’s Mr Newman.
It’s almost too easy to reach for Machiavelli when it comes to trying to capture 21st century politics in the amber of times past. But, right now, Niccolo is our philosopher of the moment north of the Tweed. There are a couple of missives which have stood out over the last little while. One is:
He will be successful who directs his actions according to the spirit of the times, and that he whose actions do not accord with the times will not be successful.
Machiavelli, The Prince, Ch. XXV
Machiavelli is advising his prince here on what fortune can effect in human affairs and perhaps a naïve ‘prince’ will read this as an affirmation of his actions; perhaps a prince who wandered around the Ekka for seven hours this week and had just one person come up and offer a dissenting voice to the slash and burn. It was pleasing I suppose to see the Premier curb his hubris from the week before when on radio he claimed ‘no-one’ had complained to him about the government’s actions.
I prefer to offer the above quote however more from the perspective of an academic, that is, not of the ‘moment’ but with a balance of hindsight and future, for only a foolish politician would govern ‘for now’. Heed the consequences of your cuts now Mr Newman before it is too late.
But when you disarm them, you at once offend them by showing that you distrust them, either for cowardice or for want of loyalty, and either of these opinions breeds hatreds against you.
Machiavelli, The Prince, Ch. XXV
And here, Machiavelli was discoursing on the advantage or otherwise of ‘fortresses’. Now I choose this to offer more of an allegory than a real fortress, and to disarm in the sense of to neutralise. There is also an element of a ‘disarming’ disposition that placates a good number of his supporters but again the hubris needs to be kept in check.
Thus it was in this spirit that a colleague and I on a drive home from work last week decided to collate the alphabet of Newman reforms. It’s a work-in-progress but in the space of the 45-minute drive from Maroochydore to Carseldine we came up with an almost complete listing of cuts and actions. Let’s have a look:
A is for Adoption and surrogacy laws, amended so quickly
B is for Breastscreen Qld and the poorly explained restructuring
C is for Civil unions, gone the way of pet registrations
D is for Disrespect, of those the government believes are not their constituency
E is for Electricity charges, up and up
F is for Frontline, if you’re not ‘frontline’, then you are out (or a flea-ridden dog)
G is for the Gold Coast Turf Club because government funding to facilitate more comfortable gambling is important
H is for Health Services, facing a full frontal disarming
I is for Indoor plants, which along with withdrawing tea and coffee, will help the bottom line
J is for Joh, either for Mark II or ghosts of Johs past
K is for KPIs mattering more than anything else
L is for the Literary Awards, because in Newmanworld we don’t need to read
M is for Mates, Music Programs and Media bans in parliament, just because your ‘mandate’ lets you
N is for Nepotism because the other side did it so a new government can do too
O is for Opposition, just for recording purposes to prove it once existed but may be hard to find; there was also something about an ‘offender’s levy’; a what?
P is for Public Service, see O above
Q is for QBuild because efficiencies can be made there too; and QAHC well because, well, we know why…
R is for Reform, because that’s what this is all about really
S is for Sisters Inside because supporting rehabilitation is not a particularly helpful way to use public monies
T is for the Tenants Union because again, that’s a pesky group of social justice advocate-types too
U is for the Underclass which will be exacerbated in these times
V is for Vanquishing the past, with no thought to the future
W is for Wild Rivers because we don’t need that legislation
X is for…
Y is for…
Z is for…
Now we are keen to complete the sequence and we know that there are, sadly, many more examples which could nestle in with existing letters. But in less than five months the Queensland Government has just about exhausted many of us who care about the importance of governing fairly and equitably and making our society a better place. I’d like to supplement this list with a sister list of positives. I’d like to start on it soon…please Mr Newman. QED.