Has anyone else noticed that when there’s an election in the air, everything takes on a new fragrance? I usually avoid political issues, but those who know me know I am an intensely political animal, so I’m in the mood to say a few things this evening.
Lucius and I were watching TV last night (he loves Tuesdays because he watches Roman Mysteries, the Simpsons, Time Team, Futurama and then two more episodes of the Simpsons in one elongated binge) and there were ads on that I hadn’t seen before. They were for the Free West Papua movement. I’m not sure (having just returned to Rome) if these are shown everywhere, or if they’ve been on for a while. If you haven’t seen them, they are contrasting the situation in West Papua now with that of the East Timorese. I guess because most Australians agreed with the East Timorese push for independence, and the ads are saying that the West Papuans are in a similar situation, oppressed by the Indonesian military. Personally, I am in favour of the West Papuans, but there’s not much I can do about their plight. But it seems that a businessman (Ian Melrose) is putting his own cash behind promoting this cause.
Normally, this would cause my cynicism to surface and I’d suspect that Melrose was doing this out of self-interest. Understandable if he was head of a mining company that might exploit a free West Papua. But no, he sells eye-glasses. So I look to see where the self-interest is and I can’t find it. Maybe he’s doing it to promote his optical stores, but you’d think if he were, he’d just advertise glasses? Or is this a case of a true philanthropist putting his cash behind a noble cause? Anyone know? But why run the ads now? Maybe the cynic in me sees that we have a government keen on any issue where they can leap onto a bandwagon. And Melrose sees an opportunity to push his barrow?
One of the latest catch-phrases of this election year. But when an election looms (or they want to distract the voters) this is a great red herring to drag out. Because the reality is that no politician in their right mind is going to do fuck all about it. Why? Quite simple if you stop and think about it.
Making it easier for new home buyers to purchase a house would require interfering in the housing market. And such interference would be at the detriment to existing home-owners. Simple running the numbers will tell you that there are a metric shit-load more people paying off mortgages or who already own their homes than the small numbers who want to get into the home-ownership game. And no politician who wants to have any chance at winning will do something to advantage a small number at the significant detriment of a great many more people.
So if you see a politician carrying on about this issue, you can be assured they’re weeping crocodile tears – they don’t give a fuck. There’s more votes in not fixing it.
Important Election Issues
Note there I said Important Election Issues. Not Important Issues. There’s a difference.
I had a debate a couple of months back with someone in the blogging world. Like all bloggers, she thought she knew everything about everything, and didn’t like her opinion being questioned. The question we disagreed on was whether the environmental issues like climate change would be significant in the upcoming election. Simple answer: no. But the silly bint I was debating with seemed to think me saying this made me a right-wing anti-environmentalist. Which a simple perusing of my writings (especially recently) proves quite wrong.
The difference between an important issue and an important election issue is whether it will cause large numbers of people will change their vote. In reality, the Coalition government could come out tomorrow and announce they were banning trees and making it compulsory to poison the rivers and they wouldn’t lose any votes. Because if you care about that stuff, you aren’t going to vote for them anyway. It’s not a vote-switcher issue. This year, some things probably are. The Workchoices laws? Probably. Today’s interest rate rise? Maybe. But the green issues aren’t gunna matter a great deal in this year’s election.