Goodbye Spivs, Spin Doctors and Stenographers, For Now

The Preston Institute needs a break. The blog whose name was designed to take the piss out of the pomposity of the Sydney Institute, with its crusty conservative agenda of taking us to a time when Australia was White, Money was King and Men Bestrode the Land while Women Cooked and Gave Birth.  An Institute that has seen a gaggle of Labor politicians take to its stage with some kind of Tory-lite scheme / philosophy while the patrons quaff whatever substance they have delivered to them.  That seems to sum up what we have become – a place that serves to please the Sydney Institute worldview.

I have dutifully followed politics and its machinations more closely in the past 2 years than I had for the 37 years before it. Fascinating and revolting it has been too. We have the spivs, the disgusting rotisserie of politicians and journalists both pretending to be “ordinary blokes” while being nothing of the sort – people peddling an agenda that keeps their lobby groups and financial backers happy while mouthing platitudes about “working families” and “hard working Australians” while wearing hard hats or kneeling down to talk to kids in schools. It’s all bullshit. They nervously listen to their advisers and focus groups, In the Thick Of It / Hollowmen style, wishing to avoid actual people.  With the journalists, Frontline still tells us what they are actually like. Except these days, Emma seems to have even less voice.

Then there’s the spin doctors. These people – both political staffers and journalists – are perfectly affable and friendly people, writing about inoffensive and pleasant pastimes while they wait to strike with whatever mendacious slant they want to throw at people. Most times, they stick, because they know what they are doing.  These are the Don Drapers, Peggy Olsons and Ken Cosgroves of our day. Charming, intelligent and thoughtful while all the time making money selling tobacco and other shit we don’t need. Their success is being remembered as nice people, not as the spinners of the wheel of lies, damned lies and statistics.

Then we have the stenographers. There are a lot of journalists who seem to lack basic critical faculties, who simply repeat or retweet the inanities of politicians who must delight at the lack of probing and critical analysis.  They also look starry eyed at the experienced journalists from the Tory Daily, otherwise known as the Australian. The ABC, along with the other non-News Ltd outlets, should know better than to quote the Australian, as it appears to be nothing more than a propaganda outlet for the hard right of Australian politics. But they don’t. And we see it, every day.  A critical media would nail this Liberal lot to the wall for the stupid things they say on a daily basis.  I am still amazed that our media repeats the “there will no carbon tax” line time and again, but almost never raise the Gospel Tony / Phony Tony dichotomy.  Actually, no I’m not.  As Keating said of one of the strutters of Canberra, it is a question of competence. It’s a question that is answered in the negative for me most days.

Not that the Labor side is much better than DLP Tony. They have left so much of Howard’s Australia untouched. We still have the “go home, boat people” attitude; we still think gay people are an unimportant section of the population who don’t deserve to have the same rights that “normal married working families” have; we still shell out far too much middle class welfare; they introduced one of the worst things to be delivered to education in this generation – MyClasses and the NAPLAN test, which reduces education to quantities, not quality as it purports to do; sectors of the workforce have been thrown onto Federal Awards, Kennett style, which means that it is a lot harder for unions to organise meetings and strikes over important issues. The Federal Labor Party is a hollowed out husk of a workers’ party that seems to have forgotten long ago why they need to be in power – to act as a force for social justice, to protect the poor and disadvantaged and keeping Tories from destroying the public sector and giving public infrastructure to their private corporate supporters.  Anyone living in Queensland, NSW and Victoria can see exactly why these clowns need to be kept out of office.

I need a break from all this polly journo babble while I now start a more personal set of posts in Platypus Creek.  I will leave with the words of TISM, who in 2002 spoke for us then as they speak for us now, as we live in an utterly self-absorbed, selfish country where self interest is the rule.

Phillip Ruddock Blues

Australians all let us rejoice
buddy, hold your horses
it’s time patriotism was
exposed to market forces

the love of country may not fit
in with efficiency
costs exceeded benefits
at gallipoli

self sacrifice just cannot pass
a profit loss assessment
those anzac boys were slaughtered on
returns for investment

a government will only stop
you getting what you can
it just distorts the market if
you help your fellow man

from the cradle to the grave
let self interest be the rule
why should we help those parents who
send their kids to state schools?

i got a fuck-off job, i got a fuck-off car
i got my fuck-off girlfriend in a fuck-off bar
you want the fuck-off time, the fuck-off day
look at my fuck-off watch, i fuck-off say

to get a job that pays for fees
it’s easy, all you jerks
you need to go to private schools
you see, the system works

this is my fuck-off club, this is my fuck-off crowd
the fuck-off dj trippin’, get the fuck-off sound
you want to fuck-off dance, you want my fuck-off place
the answer’s written on the bouncer’s fuck-off face

why should we let towel-heads in
’cause their ships won’t float?
what other race has ever come to australia on a boat?
and if self-interest should rule
five miles out from shore
why the hell don’t it apply to those who live next door?

why should you ask me for my help
just cause you’re aussie too?
what’s the difference between
those boat people and you?

australians all at once rejoice
at our shared common wealth
but now if you’re australian
help your fucking self

Appropriately, I obtained the lyrics from this site, which had an ad at the bottom for the Gillard “Household Assistance Package”. The irony kills me.

Goodbye, for now, from the Preston Institute.