Its a sad fact of reality that governments have established this bipartisan policy of not criticising each other. Its standard practice not to comment on another countries policies. Australia is forgiven for its treatment of aborigines, the USA is forgiven for its offshore torture facilities, Western Europe is forgiven for trading with the Middle East terrorists. There is an unsavoury acceptance of other governments practices. In Asia, for a long time governments were quiet about political assassinations in the Philippines, outside attitudes to Malaysian former PM Mahathir were equally feeble after he trumped up charges for Anwar.
Domestically the same pattern appears, but with some differences. We can recognise that political parties have rules of engagement. Firstly I might say that people might consider rules of engagement a sensible practice given that there must be national secrets that should not be used as a basis for embarrassing a political opponent. But I would argue that there is considerable ability for two parties in a two-party system to act in unison for their own interests, and that their long term interests can be systematically entrenched. This is afterall why the two party system has established itself in most countries, and retains entrenched. Even where there are more parties, they still align into two coalitions. Sometimes these coalitions comprise up to 15 parties. Its rediculous. How can you have any integrity within a coalition of parties. I personally find it improbable to have a coalition to have a coalition within a group of MPs. This is the problem with democracy. It places the group above the facts. Conveying an argument is subordinated to the need to win the 'numbers', not with arguments but through affiliation. Loyalty buys you a place at the table. If you don't take the place someone else will, and given that all these MPs want power, and they think they are going to change the system later, they all falter as leaders. They become a shadow of the values they once believed.... that is if there was any good in them in the first place. Personally I think they are pretty well born fascists out of the crib. Basically their attitude is - the electorate is too stupid so we have to tell them how to think. I don't dispute there are a lot of stupid, unthinking people, but they rebulk my approach of attempting to educate them. Basically they want to distort people's sense of reality, afterall they never had a good sense of it anyway. You cannot live in the political system and have a sense of reality. Its all about manipulating people into thinking you are serving them, but the fact is, they are just establishing a system which demands a need for them. Basically the system involves the following dynamic equilibrium:
1. Pro-business: Governments offer policies of either grants or tax concessions to appeal to the aspirational.
2. Pro-unions: Governments offer policies that increase regulation, make unionism compulsory,
3. Welfare: Governments offer welfare recipients generous increases in benefits, however within a few years these are eroded by inflation.
4. Families: You offer tax cuts and concessions which are eventually eroded by inflation.
5. Emergencies: The governments create a need for new taxes. The latest scheme is of course indirect taxes. Firstly it was consumption taxes (GST, VAT), now its greenhouse carbon credits. This is a nice way of applying an energy tax. Energy taxes are great because they encourage energy savings and at the same time its a commodity at the centre of global consumption, and once you have established the system, its easy to increase the tax. It doesn't matter whether the public good has been served, so long as people buy into the simple slogans that support these taxes. My favourite is 'Speed kills' as a justification for fines on speeding cars. Its a very creative variant of the scheme 'Cigarettes kill'.
The great aspect about consumption taxes is that they actually rise with inflation like progressive income taxes, but they are better because they are easier to collect. You just have to control businesses, not a lot of non-compliant individuals like me. Having offered all these concessions you need a national emergency to create new taxes, e.g. Greenhouse carbon credits trading. You could be forgiven that the Earth will have a heat wave in a few years. You will find that the evidence will turn against greenhouse in a few years, but not before a new tax has been adopted called emissions trading. Maybe governments bunk the idea of emissions trading at that point...maybe. But only if they decide....'Well the economy is so bad, why don't we just collect tax on energy and administer government-funded research into energy development'. Of course it will be for the common good. It always is! And you will live on hope because you will not earn enough under their system to live with much else.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com