Scott Morrison’s appearance on Insiders yesterday drove home a truth. The Coalition is out of ideas, and as a Liberal voter, I feel poorly.
In the name of full disclosure, I’m just going to disclose my voting history.
I’m a Liberal.
For the last two elections, I’ve trudged to the identical school hall, ate the identical sausage sandwich and made the identical choice. I voted for Tony, as I voted for Malcolm. And, yes, while I was angry that the democratic choice was taken out of my hands with the leadership spill, I accept something had to be done. So I made my peace in the rising sea of neg vibes. While the two prime ministerships couldn’t be more different, the pangs of neg familiarity struck me over the weekend – the everyday staccato criticism of a Coalition leadership is something you have no choice but to wade through; the muck that attaches itself to your feet can easily be scraped off, as the leftist arguments do not change, or become more malleable. Easy peasy. Bring your second-hand wellies, and your feet remain dry.
With the Coalition making the deal with Xenophon’s NXT party to green light tax cuts for business, the hairs on the back of my neck grew to a stiff angle. So I gleefully steeled myself with ScoMo’s upcoming appearance on ABC’s Insiders, and made a combination of pancake and smoothie to savour the explanation.
— Insiders ABC (@InsidersABC) April 1, 2017
As the remnants of my pancake met the floor, my synapses recoiled and rolled under the waves of neg vibes washing over me. Scott Morrison’s doublespeak drove the stake of realisation through my blue heart. They were taxing businesses to raise wages, while cutting wages elsewhere. Lolwut? The moment itself struck me as the most galling, as I had been here before, sitting aghast, watching in horror as it became clear that the party I voted for was not going to do anything transformative. I was instantly zapped back to pre-spill Tony, when it was clear that he was out of ideas. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Malcolm isn’t boxing to an ingenious rope-a-dope masterplan; he is the dope, and we’re left holding the rope.
I’m not saying that the $24B cuts to business are a particularly bad piece of policy, but for one pushed through the crossbench, around the ALP, the laurels of victory have seemingly been scattered to the winds. While it was a win, it doesn’t feel like it. It even possessed the big three: jobs, wages, growth. The holy trinity, the triple threat that colours my votes was met with an apathetic shrug at best. Which is a horrible thing to admit, as is hearing some of that same hollow criticism from the left, and finding myself agreeing with it.
The company we increasingly keep is also vexing. We now know that the 18C changes were a dip to One Nation; for the standard right-winger, the “goose stepping to the fringe” element is disconcerting. The easy societal stereotyping is a catchy tune. A vote for the coalition is a vote for racism. I could say that this doesn’t represent the party I voted for, but, it does. But there’s a part missing – innovation.
Also on The Big Smoke
- The Masked Liberal: The Right are alright in reactive politics
- Libs’ 18C changes designed to win back PHON voters
That noun has me longing for the halcyon days of 2016. I laughed at the memes born out of Malcolm’s buzzwords to describe how he wouldn’t dip to Tony’s buzzword government. I could afford to laugh, because it didn’t matter. It was incidental. We had other things on the grill, the largest being the sirloin of hope. Mmm. Tasty, But, now…I don’t remember what that tastes like. Everything they put in front of me tastes like cardboard. The future, for the first time, seems hazy. I can’t shape it. I’m looking over the hill to 2018 with trepidation, hoping my eyes don’t make out the shape of a Labor government.
To close, I will do so with full disclosure. Normally I’d vote as I have before, but doubt is creeping in. Using history as a guide, the choices are pale; vote for the pollie that I used to know, or vote for the party who could potentially have a new leader by the time we go to the polls. Who knows what’ll happen between then and now. The magical rebirth of Malcolm? Maybe. Tony riding back into town, dressed in black, calling out the Sheriff to finish their business that’s fixin’ to be solved? As the townsfolk caught in the middle, who would we support? Strange things happen when the smoke clears.
But what I do know is this, and it relates to that rope I was holding earlier: it rests in the hands of the electorate. It’s up to us whether we lower it into the hole he’s dug, or hurl it over the nearest yardarm and fashion it into a noose.