Wednesday, July 6, 2016

the rise of the dissidents


The recent Australian election in which the anti-immigration One Nation Party has apparently gained at least one, and possibly as many as four, Senate seats will no doubt lead to more hand-wringing about the rise of the dreaded Far Right. 

In fact the result has little to do with the supposed Far Right or even the Right in general. What we are seeing here, as we saw in the Brexit vote, is the rise of political dissidence. The dissidents are not really left-wing or right-wing. They are merely dissidents. The various minor party candidates who have been elected in Australia, like those who voted for them, do not have any particular political program. They do not model themselves on the established political parties in which party discipline is rigidly enforced and power is that that matters. These minor parties in Australia are decentralised and appear to be chaotic. Some of them are splinter parties of other splinter parties. They are not a unified coherent political force. They are a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of short-term alliances.

And that is their strength. That is why their voters vote for them. The people who vote for them don’t want superbly organised, professionally run, highly efficient parties. That’s why they no longer vote for the major parties. They don’t trust professional politicians. They prefer to put their trust in amateurs like Derryn Hinch and outsiders like Pauline Hanson. 

Their supporters don’t care if the election of these outsiders leads to so-called political instability. We’ve had strong stable governments and those governments have betrayed us and buried us in a mountain of useless and unnecessary laws and regulations that we never asked for. People don’t care any longer if we have minority governments and if those governments are short-lived. What they do care about is somehow getting through to politicians that ordinary people are tired of politicians telling them what they must do. They want to tell the politicians what to do. They want politicians to sit down, shut up and do what the people tell them to do. You know, like it’s supposed to be in a democracy.

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