Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Political and economic train wrecks
As you may know from my previous posts or other sources, I am heading back to Australia very soon, after three years living here in Switzerland. One of the things I am not looking forward to, upon my return, is what appears to be, for want of a better word, the degenerate quality of Australian politics. I have probably been spoiled, living here in Switzerland where, for the most part, politicians behave (and are treated) like responsible adults. Of course there are rat bags, and there is the inevitable lunatic fringe. But, by and large, politicians here actually focus on getting the job done, rather than on what they have to do to be re-elected. And they think long-term. Furthermore, and this is practically inconceivable in Australia, politicians from different political parties actually cooperate on getting the job done. The executive arm of government consists of a body that includes all the main parties.
From what little I read about the political situation in Australia, and from what I hear from friends over there, the situation, which was already bad when I left, has become even worse. There is nothing but mud-slinging and petty bickering. It is astonishing that anything gets done at all in the country. Or perhaps it doesn’t. Or perhaps it does because, in the end, the country has learned to get on with business without heeding these politicians. Let them squabble in the playground, while the people get on with their lives and keep the country afloat.
I suppose there is little hope of anything ever changing, but I really do wish that Australia would stop choosing as its models the failed political, social and economic experiments that constitute the U.K. and the U.S.A. There are other models in the world, some of them here in Europe, which work far more effectively. Of course, the failed and failing systems, here in Europe and elsewhere, make much more noise. I am not suggesting that there is any single country in the world which has managed to get everything right. But I would urge Australia to tear its eyes away from the big train wrecks, fascinating as they may be, and listen for the softer, smaller voices.