In sawdust baloney just to hand, about it the Australian Prime Minister was seen winking. He did so in the style of Sid James as he engaged in a talk-back radio conversation with an impoverished and elderly Australian woman who identified herself as a telephone sex worker.
This just in: Tony Abbott has poor manners and a very dim sense of occasion. Were we not all adequately alerted to these shortcomings when he consoled Australian soldiers in 2011 about the death of one of their fellows with the phrase “shit happens”? How elegiac. Of course, this particular brand of shit—the death of an Australian at the hands of Taliban insurgents—was made possible by ongoing participation in a ludicrous war waged by a government in which he was a minister. It wasn’t just a piece of bad luck but a foreseeable tragedy.
Rather like the tragedy any reasonable economist can foresee unfolding in this nation following Treasurer Hockey’s budget. It’s fucking Milton Friedman the Musical and it rests entirely on the assumption that the unrestricted wealth of the few will lead the many out of poverty.
And it is this that is the genuine scandal; not that Abbott Is A Douche but that the theories that drive his governance are mathematically fucked.
Of course there are those who will argue with passion that this evidence of Abbott’s “criminal” character will set the swinging voters on to the side of the good; that his latest gaffe will convince everyday Australians to oust him. This, as I am regularly told by the conspicuously compassionate souls of social media, is viral utilitarianism. The ends justify the means.
Except, the means have come to be ends themselves. These means will signify nothing to those who already voted for the prick with full knowledge (and even admiration for the fact) that Abbott is an inappropriate duffer. They will signify everything to those already opposed. And here, the “protest” becomes an end in itself signifying revulsion for nothing but a man.
There are plenty of people who will see this moment as not just evidence but as a crime itself and if you don’t believe me, have a look at the “news” sites tomorrow which will be full of Abbott Is a Misogynist Who Slut-Shamed A Sex Worker. I am serious. Someone has a bottle of pinot grigio pre-emptively bought with the spoils of their idiotic commission which says “Abbott hates women and especially sex workers and especially old sex workers”.
You know what? Maybe he doesn’t or maybe he does but the plain fact is: he believes that this trickle-down shit actually works. He believes that lifting restriction on supply will lift people out of poverty. And so, quite possibly, it is not Abbott’s “lack of compassion” nor is it his amusement at the travails of aging sex workers that will dump us all save for Gina in the duplicitous shit of what liberal democracy has become.
The only thing that will deliver us from the dung heap is our ability to identify it. And it does not reside in “bad character” but in bad policy.
I don’t care if Abbott winks like Sid James in a Carry On film. He can nudge-nudge all he wants and just as much as the men of the ALP Right for all I care. For the 98th time. It’s not the man’s character. It’s his voodoo economics. Supply side theory will ruin this nation and not poor taste.
Joe Hockey danced. Tony Abbott winked. Christopher Pyne has a posh voice. If you’re looking for offence, find it in the budget. Otherwise, who the fuck cares.
It is not the work of the modern state to be moral. Of course, organisations such as Get Up have successfully convinced us that the government’s chief work is to Set an Example through Good Behaviour. But this is hooey. it is the government’s work to manage the economy. And Abbott Hockey is doing a shitty job of that with the noxious, faith-based idea that the only thing in an economy that should be regulated is poverty.
And every time we move further into this assessment of government for its “character” we lose sight of government business. The ends become the means.
Say it with me now: governments collect and distribute revenue. They set the terms for the domestic economy and print the currency and shit. That is what they do. Sure, they pass a few laws and build diplomatic and trade relations. But the core work is money money money money. They make fiscal policy. NOT MORALS.
Abbott slut-shamed a sex worker. I DO NOT CARE. I mean, obviously I feel bad for the poor lady. And I feel absolute revulsion for the sort of person who sniggers at misfortune and what was in this case the sound of true desperation. But as a utilitarian (most of the time; I reserve the weekend for treating means as ends) I feel bad for ALL the poor ladies and men who will not be served by our pious advancement of means above ends.
I imagine some of my favourite ALP leaders slut-shamed sex-workers after a meal of sweet-and-sour and I DO NOT CARE. I care about the eight hour day. I care that the nation is being led by a sort of divinity economics that can only increase poverty and diminish opportunity. I care that the things a government can actually do are the things in which we are losing interest.
Finally. Please fuck off to your Emotional Girl Power Page if you’re going to leave “But Cant We Care About Both?” in the comments. Rome, or, in this case, liberal democracy is burning. SO, no. We can’t.