Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Abbott Irons Out His (Policy) Briefs

It is a strange and bizarre universe when we have a Labor government proposing a capitalist market driven mechanism to combat climate change, in the form of an emissions trading scheme, while the Opposition has concocted a socialist action plan which relies on taxpayer funding to offer cash incentives for emissions reductions. In any other circumstances you could have expected it to the conservative side of politics that would have come up with a scheme which does the right thing for the environment by making sure that wealthy bankers and lawyers would get even wealthier. But since the government has already cornered that position, the only option open for a contrarian opposition leader is to go with the alternative approach.

Even more bizarre is the strangely splintered personality of an opposition leader who has just delivered a warm and fuzzy feminist friendly policy promise of a six month paid parental leave scheme, after making a series of observations which seem to indicate that he believes women should abstain from having sex before marriage, saving themselves for their future husbands, and then when they are married to the lord of the household they can expect to spend their life at the ironing board. Of course, while the sexual liberation brigade is aghast at these comments, the fact is that research shows the majority of house work is still done by the, ahem, lady of the house, so Tony Abbott’s remarks might not be nearly as offensive as some are attempting to suggest.

On balance, although it can be difficult sometimes to tell the difference between sensitive new age Tony Abbott and good old fashioned male chauvinist Tony Abbott, the one thing we can rely upon is that the opposition leader is an old school populist who is prepared to say and promise whatever people want to hear in order to get elected. He is politically incorrect enough to appeal to the majority of people who are sick and tired of calling a spade a manually operated manure spreading device, while conservative enough to settle the nerves of the nervous Nellies who believe that closing your eyes and wishing will make most problems go away. He is pragmatic enough to make promises that he knows he will have to change if he gets elected, slick enough to get away with it, and smart enough to know it.

You know, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he ends up being Prime Minister one day.

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