Election now? No way—media

Australian media seems greatly shocked by the very low public regard for the PM and the seeming loathing of the government’s so-called carbon tax. Worse, given Australians’ general dislike of elections, the electorate insists upon a fresh election, the proposed carbon tax being the point of contention or, more correctly, the PM’s pre-elecion statement of “no carbon tax”.

For those of us who have often wondered whether the public could be bothered to conjure any opinion not given by the media this turn of events is most interesting. Add to it the loss of consumer confidence which has flummoxed many celebrities, journalists and academics and the times take on a truly interesting hue.

Consumers, we are told hither and thither, have no reason to doubt their economic futures. It is surprising, true but does that make consumer sentiment “irrational” (Hugh McKay on Radio National one recent  morning or here). Australian media, most especially TV news bulletins appears to have done its best to keep information regarding European sovereign debt away from viewers. Yet enough seeps through that people, brought up on a steady diet of international interconnectedness, sense a fragility in economic activity that may mean personal difficulty or disaster. And they are right, even if their fears are, at present, somewhat or even largely inchoate.

Perhaps, too, people have begun to wonder about our own government’s approach: deficit spending in the (alleged) service of demand (the great Keynesian crux), as though borrowing, rather than “creative destruction” (Schumpeter) and hard work and personal discipline could provide a foundation for the future. I’ve neither seen nor heard any evidence for this, more often quite the contrary, but the unspoken possibility remains.

Adam Smith undoubtedly would have understood all this; Hayek, too, probably. But Keynes? No. Unlike Ms Gillard—and her media friends— the public, while not be very enthusiastic democrats, remain strongly democratically inclined. How long will it be before the media, in op-eds or editorials begins to respond positively to public demands for an election. Or is “do as I say, not as I do”, confined to people in far away places?

Then there remain the streets, the only place for people left to go. The media should love that but, again, I suggest, not at home. Fine, Cairo, London, Athens, Madrid, Kiev, Sanaa and so on and so forth. Media remian enthralled with violence in, say, Libya, Syria and Cote d’Ivoire.

Media and academic contempt for the general public, ordinary people, has deepened as the carbon tax has come closer to reality. The public demands that government seek a mandate for this, ahem, reform, after having denied that any such tax would become law. The public piles much onto the notion that Gillard lied.

Then, we ask, “by what right does a government exercise authority?” Parliamentary sovereignty can generate despotism, as we now have it here, apparently. Will Australians wish to subject themselves to this sort of abuse. Time will tell. As matters stand, the only way to redeem an essential political action of dishonesty and to ensure that sovereignty resides in the people of the country is an election. The alternative is most unattractive but people may deduce the necessity of it.




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