COVID, aptly named ‘the least deadly pandemic in history’, has put centuries worth of government rot on display.
Political regimes with long, peaceful lives have created a generation of limp politicians who posses barely enough backbone between them to wriggle on the hook for the press gallery – let alone face an existential confrontation.
Australia’s once great parties have become shadows of themselves, surviving off the reputation of their illustrious grandparents. Even the founding principles meant to ground each party lives on solely in the memory of voters.
The average voter would struggle to tell the difference between Australia’s mainstream parties if they were to blindly read their policy sheets. Party identity – dare we say it – the soul of their political speech, is gone. This is what people mean when they complain that there is no longer a two-party system in this nation. Australia has become a dictatorship of consensus.
The Liberal Party of Australia used to pride itself on fashioning a unique mix of Old English conservatism, fiscal responsibility, flexible social progression, and an absolute devotion to small government. They were the no waste, no fuss party of the hard working Australian – the crew that the public brought in to clean up whatever mess the fashionable Labor party had gotten themselves into.
Like children returning to the comfort of their parent’s home after years of debauchery, Australians could always trust that the personality-lacking MPs of the Liberal party would be there to patch Australia up.
This party is gone.
The hospital-service Liberal party breathed its last when Turnbull’s knife found its way between Abbott’s shoulder blades. Abbott may not have been a towering Liberal figure, but he was a conservative. It is difficult to imagine him wrapping his hands around the lectern at an indulgent hour-long daily press conference, directing police to arrest the poor for exercising their right to protest.
On January 26, the former prime minister cautioned that the country’s way of life was being placed under threat by un-Australian Covid mandates.
“For a full year we’ve let a virus dominate our lives and in the process put safety before freedom, prudence before courage and avoiding danger before accepting risk. Even though courage, conviction and character remain vital to our success as a people.”
Abbott, almost entirely alone, recognised that an over-reliance on ‘experts’ makes a government stupid – and there are few experts worse than ‘health experts’ who have been worrying at the edges of society for decades, desperate to micromanage people’s lives. Their inconsistent, alarmist, and contradictory screeching has been the white noise of our era.
While Abbott originally made the same mistake as his peers in trusting the Chinese government, he seems to have awakened to the threat on our doorstep and stressed that Covid must not become a distraction to what really matters, namely national security, economic prosperity, and social cohesion.
These are conservative instincts indeed. It is a shame they are not shared by his old bulldog, Peta Credlin, who has spent her nights on Sky News falling into line behind the government’s official Covid rhetoric. It is no secret that those eyeing off a political career must court powerful factions. That means becoming a prominent fog horn for approved party policy if she wants to get anywhere near a preselection.
Unfortunately for Credlin, the voters are not as stupid as the press make them out to be. The people most likely to vote for her are the ones she is currently alienating by turning herself into yet another clone of the already abysmal political offerings. If someone does not have the courage to stick to their values while under consideration for a political career, then there is no point in them running at all.
Or perhaps I’m wrong, and Credlin – like Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian – are simply weak-tea conservatives that wear the blue ribbon without adopting its merits.
The true heroes of the conservative movement were famous for remaining out of the headlines and getting on with the business of running the country. Now, the current mob have had a whiff of fame and they’ve fallen in love with the same popularity Xi Jinping enjoys.
No one expected Labor premiers to handle the power of a ‘national emergency’ in a responsible fashion. Dan Andrews’ nauseating love affair with the sound of his own voice was seen as an extension of his widely mocked ‘Danistan’ dictatorship over Victoria. The left are the side of politics which birthed totalitarianism. They are the source of the world’s fascist, socialist, and communist nut jobs who considered themselves gods.
What the public didn’t expect was to see their Liberal prime minister deliberately avoid his legal responsibility over Australia’s quarantine legislation by setting up the bickering National Cabinet. Australians left the nation in the hands of the Liberal party for peace of mind, not to watch mostly Labor state premiers fight over who gets to be king, wearing their governors around like handbags.
No one is going to claim that the Liberals are a party without error. Even their best leaders have made serious mistakes. Menzies, the presiding deity, dabbled in political censorship while modern day hero John Howard made possibly the greatest error in judgement by opening up the party to the ‘moderates’ – also known as lazy left-wing seat warmers.
The point used to be that at least the Liberals were a general political counterweight to Labor’s flirtation with the dangerous and the absurd. Labor red is the colour of blood and reckless vigour, while the Liberals proudly wrapped their campaigns in the blue ribbon of honour, respect, and security.
In competition, blue ribbons are a symbol of a high quality product – a winner – the genuine article, best in show and unchallenged cream of the crop. When people talk about ‘blue ribbon Liberals’, it was never just meant to represent the safe voting pattern of a Liberal seat, it was used interchangeably to refer to the politicians who represented the Liberal Party values at their truest.
It is a sorry state of affairs that the Liberal most closely representing Menzies was compelled to defect to the cross bench and sit as an independent. The eviction of the ideological blue ribbon Liberals is nothing short of an admission that the Liberal party is dead and the current mob are painted husks brandishing credit cards.
The fall of the Liberal party began with its cyclic role as the nation’s responsible parent. Because of Labor’s never ending pile of cataclysms, Liberal governments spent all their time fixing problems rather than protecting and nurturing the ideology of conservatism. The success of a Liberal prime minister was his ability to stand in front of the electorate at the end of the term and present a balanced budget and the promise of economic security.
This left Labor and the Greens as the driving force of social reform in Australia, with fringe MPs on both sides of the fence fighting for seats over ideological issues. In order to hold onto seats, some Liberals began to adopt the policies of the left while claiming to keep the benefit of fiscal responsibility, presenting themselves as essentially progressive Liberals – which is a bit like calling yourself an economically responsible Green.
This scattering of inner-city ‘moderates’ were tolerated because they tended to be wealthy and brought millions to the Liberal election campaign.
The Liberals have always been at a funding disadvantage as they do not enjoy the guaranteed Union handshake and – due to an episode of utter stupidity – they allowed regulations to be changed to exclude their traditional donors. This imbalance shifted power to the moderates within the party and more were recruited through the undemocratic preselection process.
By the time John Howard’s leadership entered its stride, these wealthy moderates were not only paying the bills, they were causing policy trouble with their powerful factions. It was obvious that the opportunity to clean them out of the party had been missed several years ago, so John Howard embraced their presence by selling the ‘broad church’ line to secure his last term in office.
The broad church was an invention of Menzies, except when Menzies said it, he wasn’t referring to an infestation of ideologically unsound left-wing cuckoos like Malcolm Turnbull. Had the great Menzies seen what the so-called ‘broad church’ looked like, he’d have dissolved the party and started again in an effort to salvage something from the ashes.
Instead, the ‘moderates’ had all the money and most of the factional power. They set about branding themselves as the ‘sensible’ members of the Liberal party, which pretty soon became an antagonist slur of ‘far right’ directed at any MP that still bore a passing resemblance to an actual conservative.
The moderates were the ‘cool kids’ on the international stage, brushing shoulders will billionaires and United Nations delegates in the hope of anchoring a high paid foreign job at the end of their political life – which they saw as a career rung rather than a calling to public service.
It’s no surprise that these fake conservatives also turned out to be the worst political performers. Far from being a safe pair of hands, they sold Australia’s assets to a line of foreign interests as if the gifts of our ancestors were nothing more than a garage sale.
Their behaviour eventually endangered the coalition with the National Party, with the smug progressives not wanting to be seen in the company of their rural partners who they regarded as uncultured, uneducated, and beneath them intellectually.
These ‘smart’ progressives failed to understand that the secret to the Liberal party’s success over the decades was its coalition with these so-called simpletons.
The express purpose of the National party is to act as ideological tent pegs, holding their Liberal party partners far enough to the right that both parties retained their popularity in the vast regions of rural Australia. Rural voters might not represent a majority in number, but they certainly represent a majority of physical land in the crucial food production and mining sectors that keep the nation ticking over.
The solution was to pass policies that forced Australian farmers into poverty and off their farms, paving the way for China and other foreign interests to become majority owners in Australia’s rural sector. Australia is almost at the point where the Liberal party no longer require the Nationals, all they need are a few business connections to Beijing. This neatly explains the National party MPs changing into Liberals and the Liberal party breaking the terms of their coalition arrangement by running against the Nationals in rural seats. Either the National party will remain as a partner in name only, or it will slowly bleed seats to its predatory sibling.
While this catastrophic destruction of conservative politics is going on, the ocean of bureaucracy which actually runs the country entrenched itself as nothing more than a hard-left monotony of pencil-pushing Labor enforcers.
Even with the Liberal party holding power for significantly more time than Labor, the influence of the bureaucracy and disinterest from the Liberals in challenging their authority has left Australia with most of its policies drafted by out of touch, fringe dwelling lunatics.
The Liberals we have left are the anointed ones of lobbyists like Photios, responsible for Gladys Berejiklian and Matt Kean.
This is how Australia ended up with a group of Liberals who stand in front of the camera and call freedom a ‘selfish’ and ‘unreasonable’ urge.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that this so-called ‘blue ribbon’ government is embarrassed by its overreaction to the pandemic. First thought to be the next Black Death, it has amounted to little more than a slightly worse flu. Admitting this risks political annihilation, and so our installation of Liberals would rather instruct the Police to hunt down, arrest and fine those few Australians who still remember what it means to be free.
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Alexandra Marshall (@ellymelly on social media) is The Good Sauce's Editor-At-Large, as well as the host of "Curtain Call", a Good Sauce show exploring the leading personalities in the culture war. She writes on liberty, philosophy and geopolitics. You can find her on Twitter or read her articles over at her blog.
Elly is also an AI database designer for the retail industry, contributor to multiple online journals and a Young Ambassador with Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.
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