This Grand Mediocrity

Glancing across the transcripts of Abbott’s speech at Davos left me breathless for its infantile minimalism. Is this really the best he had to offer?

The Australian Independent Media Network

abbott wefWhen I was 16 and still at school, Brother Egbert occasionally tried to teach us some of the more rudimentary elements of economics. But, he being a Marist brother, and my school being a Catholic College, the subject invariably got muddied and soon went missing in the deeper waters of the religious perspective. Still, he did his best. My memories of Brother Egbert came back last week watching bits and pieces of the speech given by Tony Abbott at the World Economic Forum in Davos. What can I say other than he did his mediocre best.

Tony Abbott spoke to the attendees at the forum in similar, monotonous undertones of simplicity as Brother Egbert spoke to us. At best, Abbott sounded like a Vatican appointed Honorary Prelate exercising jurisdiction over the faithful and the converted trying to impart the teachings of the privileged few. And the information (teaching) passed on…

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One Response to “This Grand Mediocrity”

  1. mikisdad Says:

    Your closing question, I assume, is rhetorical. Yes, it is the best this apology for a Prime Minister has to offer. Your penultimate sentence sums it up – it was a complete waste of breath for him to make the speech at all and, I’m sure, on the basis of the reports I have read, that most of the other delegates would concur. The great shame, (leaving aside the damage he is doing to our country and its cultural and intellectual climate), is that he “represents” Australia in world forums and, doing so, symbolises a moronic nation that has lost its way.

    Perhaps, what he symbolises is, to an extent, justified. After all, it was Australian citizens who elected his Party to government and hence, Tony Abbott to the Prime Ministership. It would not be hard to argue, therefore, that we have “the government and Prime Minister that we deserve.” However, I would prefer to believe that the Australian public is capable of seeing through media hyperbole and distortion and that it is also capable of overcoming the greed and materialism that feed the capitalist machine and induce everyday Australian workers and their families to vote for a Party and platform that is actually counter to their best interests.

    One way or another, we have to extend this discussion from the enlightened but narrow confines of the Independent Media channels to more general and populist forums. At present, the population is largely turned off and tuned out of political engagement at any level. Voting is, in the main, done grudgingly and constitutes a nuisance for most people, rather than the opportunity it should facilitate for citizens to elect politicians who actually *do* represent their views, needs, and wants. Instead, what we have is just a modern feudalism in which a rich elite continue to dictate to the masses the rules and rituals that will control their lives and the future for their children.

    I am not sufficiently sophisticated or politically knowledgeable to know how we bring about this broadened dialogue but I am convinced that the more enlightened actually waste much of their intellectual effort in preaching to the converted – and that will change nothing.

    Perhaps it is revolution that is needed; perhaps it is a new charismatic leader that is needed; perhaps it is simply a new and more innovative paradigm for encouraging people to *think* about the implications of their inability to obtain reliable and accurate information about ideology, political policy agendas, and political practices; such that they can make rational and informed decisions about our nation’s political system and those who would best represent us. One would think that the recent abysmal performance by Tony Abbott would resound across the nation as the betrayal it is of all we could and should be. Instead, there is relative silence and I would suggest that most Australian voters don’t even realise that the Prime Minister had been chairing a meeting of world leaders and yet, even in that role, showed either no regard for or ignorance of the purpose and agenda of the discussions.

    So, what I’d like to hear is; how do we bring about mass awareness of the appalling mediocrity displayed by our nation’s “leader” and how do we bring about a realisation that this situation *is* about them and their children and that it *does* matter that they are properly informed and understand what they do when they tick a box on their ballot paper.


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