Monday, 21 September 2015

Bicycling Backwards

Pic courtesy

Riding a bicycle backwards can be done, but it's bloody difficult.

Forward progression is necessary to remain upright. Don't believe me? Try it sometime. As kids we used to challenge each other to see who could travel the greatest distance backwards on our bikes.

A metre or two seemed the absolute limit.

The same holds in politics, as Tony Abbott discovered last Monday.

He'd been behind thirty polls in a row, so the challenge was far from surprising.

Perhaps it's worth analysing the reasons for his demise.

First was his regressive set of values, the backwards cycling tendency. A true leader recognises the values of his country and exploits them towards the positive. Abbott settled on a set of values learned at the knee of B A Santamaria, and tried to push them on voters.

Abbott was attempting to take us backwards.

His focus (like Santamaria's), was fear. Santamaria used to pop up on Sunday morning TV (Point of View) and warn us about Communism, and how it was going to destroy Australia as we knew it. I can still see his Adam's apple bobbling up and down for the whole ten minutes of his segment, which was what, as a kid, I found the most interesting part.

His ideas were completely trumped by his Adam's apple.

Abbott's strange gait likewise distracted me from his message - but I digress.

The great fear Abbott wielded was Islamic terrorism. Given that two Australians have died on the mainland as a result of terrorist activity in the fifteen years since it became an issue, and one Australian per week dies from family violence, it's not difficult to determine what is the real threat to the peace and security of Australians.

Most Australians were becoming irritated to the point of anger at his "death cult" mantra. Sure, ISIS are a bunch of psychopaths, but they're not about to invade and set up a caliphate in Canberra.

Then there were his "captain's calls". Again, this sort of leadership went out with button up boots. It makes no sense, as a leader in 2015 to assume that everyone else sees the world as you do, and to base decisions on this assumption.

I doubt too many Australians regarded the Duke of Edinburgh as worthy of an Australian knighthood.

Then there was his combative behaviour. He'd been a boxer, and perhaps this was at the bottom of it all, but did we really need a leader who preferred fighting to uniting?

We hear that he was a "nice bloke". Perhaps - I don't know him, but being a "nice bloke" is not a prerequisite for political leadership. I don't remember Churchill being called a "nice bloke".

Now, more than ever, we need a leader.

The last one was Keating. Howard was a politician, not a leader. The only time he provided real leadership was on gun control.

Will Turnbull become a leader?

Time will tell, but he has to have a better chance than Abbott. 

Early signs are that he does seem to be trying to unite, rather than divide us.

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