Saturday, 24 August 2013

I Had A Dream

Unlike Martin Luther King, whose dream for a fair and non-racist USA was actually an ambition, my dream was a real dream, just before waking. In my dream I was part of a group of people (none of whom I knew) listening to a political pundit pontificate. Briefly he was just a talking head, as you might see on television, but before that could develop into anything interesting, he materialised a body as well, dressed in a suit. He said: " I think at this election we will see the Taliban taking 5 seats. " For some reason I seemed to think he meant in NSW alone.

Now clearly the Taliban have zero chance of registering themselves as a political party in Australia. However, a party called, say, Etilub, which has an Islamist agenda, should have no trouble provided they don't break any laws. Why Etilub? Well, that's my (no doubt feeble) attempt to pronounce this Arabic word: الطلاب . And what does that word mean? "Student". And what does Taliban mean in Pashtun? "Student".

Now the real Taliban aren't students of anything, because they are illiterates from the northern frontier of Pakistan and southern regions of Afghanistan. All they have studied is bomb making and small arms, relying on their mullahs (who can read and write) to tell them what is in the Koran and the Hadith. They don't think of themselves as students; they think of themselves as members of the team that operates under the 'Students' badge.

My hypothetical Etilub party probably wouldn't win 5 seats in the whole of Australia, let alone in NSW solely. At least, not now. But one day it might. How then will debate proceed? Absent calls for Sharia Law, and there is still a fundamental clash of values. In Islam there is no separation between Church and State and cannot possibly be. In Western liberal democracies the separation is a chasm, deliberately introduced to keep the Pope out of politics. The bloody wars that established the current paradigm in the West took hundreds of years to come to a conclusion, and perhaps in ruined remnants of Yugoslavia it's not over yet.

I need to cogitate a little more on this. So do you, my dear and faithful reader.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Electoral Compass

Yay! Yippee! We're going to have an election soon. Time to turf out this mob of incompetent jackasses and install the other mob of incompetent jackasses. Or, even better, have the vote so evenly split that neither of the teams of incompetent jackasses can govern at all without the support of the lunatic jackasses who have been braying from the sidelines.


Now I know I'm a leftie from way back, not least because the political right (anywhere in the world) is largely bereft of rigorous intellectual analysis. Nevertheless, it's always amusing to have these things checked, so I filled out a political compass questionnaire here:

Hmmm. No surprises there. Or are there?

Every time the Greens open their mouths I recoil in horror, because their policies are so often ill-considered and unaffordable. I am very keen to have parties of principle contest elections, but the idea of giving the Greens a major say in the destiny of this country is to me unwise.

On a continuum between extreme pragmatism and extreme idealism I sit right in the middle. I want to vote for a party whose policies derive from ideals (that I share) but whose policies also contain pragmatic plans to deliver them. Right now what I've got is a choice between 2 teams of pragmatists trumpeting their wares as managers (totally bereft of ideals), with a side from a range of idealists (including the Greens) who simply have not thought through what they are uttering.

And the only people fronting up with big ideas are the ones who have zero chance of forming government.