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This site may, in fact always will contain images and information likely to cause consternation, conniptions, distress, along with moderate to severe bedwetting among statists, wimps, wusses, politicians, lefties, green fascists, and creatures of the state who can't bear the thought of anything that disagrees with their jaded view of the world.

Jun 25, 2011

“Dangerous” disillusionment with political leadership.

Image: ABC word clouds.

The ABC asked readers to submit three words to describe their views on the performance of Julia Gillard's minority Government and Tony Abbott's Opposition over the past year. The top 100 responses in each case were published around the image to form what was called a word cloud. Noticeably as most would expect, the responses were mainly negative.

There were only 18 positives for Gillard, compared with 26 for Abbott. This was fairly predictable given the current opinion polls, and the only real information that can be drawn from the whole exercise is that, currently Abbott has more sycophants with positive views of him than Gillard does.

Now however, a political analyst who is not really in touch with mainstream Australia is claiming that it reflects a "dangerous" sense of disillusion within the community for Australian democracy and leadership.

"Most words are negative rather than positive because there's a great deal of negativity and cynicism in the air towards leadership in Australia at the moment," said Dr Troy Whitford, Charles Sturt University politics and history lecturer.

"We're seeing harsh and angry words. It's interesting to think what are people actually reading or analysing to come to those particular words or conclusion."

Dr Whitford believes Australians, while generally taking a negative view towards politicians, are more cynical towards leaders today.
"There's a growing sense of disillusionment in our political system that's catching on. In some respects, it can be quite a long-term and dangerous problem," he told ABC News Online.
It’s difficult to see what the problem is and why anyone would possibly view it as dangerous. It really means that we are more politically astute than was previously thought. There are two major parties here, neither of which you would bother feeding in a drought, or give standing room in your paddock, even in the good times. It is not all that difficult to understand. Take for example:

“There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.” Could it be any clearer? And whats more, it is backed up by none less than the treasurer of the nation. Should we be so gauche as to take this statement as an indication that no carbon tax would be imposed under a Gillard government? Obviously not.

Jules has pointed out that she never meant to mislead anybody over the carbon tax. It is just that we are a bunch of ignorant, uneducated hillbilly bastards who are too dumb to understand the subtle political nuances at play in that statement. Clearly, we were too stupid to take into account the fact that she always intended to put a price on our carbon usage.

Seriously, she must wonder what she ever deserved to have us inflicted on her, while we wonder the same thing in regard to her, only the other way around.


  1. The point I was making is that the word bubbles were more concerned with superficial remarks. There is little interest by the media and voters regarding policy. I said dangerous because the cynicism in this instance is not healthy but rather may run the risk of turning into disillusionment. We need to develop a democratic culture that questions policy decisions and ignores the superficial hype. I am proposing greater attention to civic and citizenship education and ways to encourage better participation in the democratic process. If you are advocating something please let us know what you are proposing?

    Troy Whitford

  2. Hi Troy, thanks for dropping in.

    Frankly, I find the ‘word cloud’ idea rather puerile. Given both leaders have higher unfavorables than favorables at present, and the tendency for those who disagree with the subjects of the exercise to get more fired up than those who support them, this result was predictable.

    Words like ‘dangerous’ to describe a public tendency is only appropriate if that tendency is violent or likely to bring about a coercive result. Uncritical acceptance of the political actions of parties is far more likely to allow a coercive result, albeit non-violent, than cynicism. The degree of spin used by the three major parties causes them to have a severe credibility problem out here in the real world.

    The explanation that, “There will be no Carbon tax …” did not mean what it said because we all knew that she intended to “put a price on carbon,” is a typical example of this. It is the type of statement made to sooth the party faithful, but not meant to be believed, other than by mindless apparatchiks who are dumb enough to totally accept the party line.

    The point I made is that the negativity expressed in the word clouds is there because it was deserved. There is a distinct possibility that the slightly better result for Abbott is not due to him being better, it is more likely to be caused by his tendency to let fly occasionally with impulse statements that are not politically manicured. It is nice to hear something believable occasionally.

    Democracy is fine as a concept, but to work effectively, there have to be limits on the size and scope of the state. We live under a system in which there seem to be few if any real protections of the public from the state, resulting in ever more intrusive and bigger government, which increasingly permeates every aspect of our lives.

    It is only natural, given the general lack of competence displayed in such areas as the pink bats fiasco, and BER, that the public would become cynical. What we see out here is a waste of money rather than any realistic “investment in the future.” Most of us are realistic enough to understand that putting ‘the other mob’ in will not solve this problem, just shift it to another.

    While I understand your concern, I believe the solution lies to a large extent in politicians being more honest, minding their own business, and getting out of the way.