I have ranted about the Tony Abbott page on facebook and how it constantly appears in my newsfeed telling me that the same five friends liked it “a few seconds ago” and I am pretty sure I indicated that this is misleading and highly suspect.
However, imagine my surprise today when a mate sent a screen capture of my newsfeed with Tony Abbott’s page at the top saying “David Callan likes Tony Abbott”. My friend’s post was tagged “Am I really seeing this?!”.
I thought it was a joke. I thought someone may have Photoshopped it to get a rise out of me, which is a lot of effort to go to really, but some people are dedicated to the art of practical humour.
But lo and behold, it was true: David Callan likes Tony Abbott. When I checked my Likes page it turns out that I did in fact “like” Tony Abbott. Just so you know, I’ve never visited the page and I think from previous scratchings my political leanings are reasonably clear. However, when I went to unlike it, I couldn’t. It just stayed as it was, with me liking someone I have very little respect or time for. I have sent the request to facebook to unlike it and have reported the page as “spam or scam”. Will it make any difference? We shall see but somehow I rather doubt it.
Admittedly, this is a first world problem of minuscule proportions. However it does highlight the sorry state of political discourse in this country and the control not only mainstream but also social media has in the current political debate.
Essentially, my meager on-line presence has been dragooned into supporting, or at least approving of someone I am not in the least bit inclined to. And that pisses me off for the simple reason that my political opinion is MINE: to express, to bombast, to post, blog and tweet and generally aggravate people who just wish I would shut up. It has been formed by influences throughout my life but it is one of the few things I can truly call my own. It is precious. It is a tiny voice but it is mine none-the-less and I am in high dudgeon at its being usurped.
So, for the record:
I am a pragmatic social democrat with a leaning towards Keynesian economics and great skepticism about the Freidman model.
I believe we should pay for Carbon pollution and support green energy. If simply for the reason that fossil fuels are finite.
I think global warming is real and must be addressed by this generation or we will have little or nothing to pass on to those who come after us. I am of the firm opinion that those most opposed to reversing the effects of climate change are those that stand to lose the most financially.
I think the asylum seeker issue will only be, at best, assuaged with regional solutions and can only be solved with global action. Three word slogans won’t make a scrap of difference and anyone who keeps spouting them is an A-grade idiot. These are people who have endured incredible trauma and hardship in their homelands and are desperate to get to a place that promises much in the way of freedom and opportunity. To demonise them and then attempt to portray Australia as an even worse destination than they one they escaped from is as heartless and cruel as the despotic regime and war-torn hellholes they are fleeing. Hardline is hard-hearted and we stand to lose much of our beloved national identity if we pursue this path.
I’m all for mining as long as it is clean, reasonable, not rapacious, does not cancel the rights of landowners and the profits from the resources that belong to the nation are shared with the nation.
I am for paid parental leave that is equitable for all and doesn’t advantage those already advantaged with privileged lives.
I am for educating all our children as best we can because when I’m old and in my dotage I don’t want the country being run by idiots… well, being run by even bigger idiots than we have now and are faced with in the near future.
I believe in marriage equality. It is a social not a religious contract and anyone who thinks that two boys or two girls marrying will in some way ruin the “institution of marriage” needs to grow up.
I am for building infrastructure that works and has longevity. I do not believe that cheaper and quicker is better because you generally wind up with something that is so substandard that it is obsolete before it comes on line. Yes, I’m talking about broadband. And yes, I firmly believe that the only reason Rupert Murdoch and News Ltd are so trenchantly opposed to a Labor government is because of the financial hit Fox would take if we had access to internet TV.
I am for engaging the electorate with a clear and considered vision and anyone who thinks truly engaging the electorate is selfies with school kids and trite platitudes and petty catchphrases is a narcissistic twerp. Equally, anyone who says “Trust me” but doesn’t trust us enough to tell us how and what he intends is just the political equivalent of a used car salesman trying to convince me that the rusty Volkswagen Passat in the back corner of the yard is an absolute deal.
I am for elections that are about political parties presenting their agendas for running the country, including how they intend to do it and how they intend to pay for it. To treat the democratic process as a shell game of empty promises or fair ground for unrelenting character assassination diminishes the process and shows a disturbing lack of respect for the people you are asking to vote for you.
I think Julia Gillard was one of the most visionary leaders this country has had in decades, was the victim of an orchestrated smear campaign from within and without her party, and will be regarded by history as one of the greats.
I don’t like Tony Abbott. He is an empty suit cut from the cloth of political opportunism and unconscionable hypocrisy.
I don’t like Kevin Rudd. He is a bloated school uniform that is dragging his party and the body politic into the mire just to satisfy his own egomaniacal whims.
I loathe party politics. The saddest day in recent Australian politics was the day Tony Windsor left Parliament. He was a man of considerable savvy and great integrity and I believe that anyone interested in entering politics would do well to follow his example.
And I am seriously concerned at the state of political discourse and our right to express it in this country.
There. My political hat is in the ring, for good or for ill.
One week to go, people… one week to go.