I was never a great fan of the politicians of yesteryear, Gough Whitlam was a pompous old bastard, Fraser was an elitist prick, and I often clashed with Joh and the Nationals. In some cases after they retired I grew to like them, Chip, Gorton, and Hayden come to mind, even Hawke and Keating. I don’t tell anybody this, but I grew quite fond of Joh.
My opinion hasn’t changed on Gough and Mal. The reason I miss some of them is that back in those days we had politicians who were real people with real character, which brings us to the subject in mind. Last night one of our veteran parliamentary press gallery reporters was interviewed on 7:30 report, and was scathing about the type of politician we have today, some of which mirrored some of what is said in the US.
One of the reasons Palin inspired people was that she was seen widely as, “One of us.”
From the 7:30 Report:
KERRY O’BRIEN: Compare today’s backbencher, walking through the doors of Parliament House for the first time, with the MPs that you saw arriving to Parliament for the first time in those earlier years.
ALAN RAMSEY: They were much more representative of the Australian community in the earlier years, they really were. They didn’t come with their university degrees and they didn’t come out of ministerial offices. They really did come from the community at large – the great majority of them.
Not anymore. It’s a real – it’s a career path now. We don’t have two separate political parties; we just have two groups of people who represent political careers. The Labor Party, to all intents and purposes to what it was, up until relatively recently, is dead.
I mean, do you really think that the politicians of today, federal politicians of today, are a more interesting group, are a more representative group of the Australian community, when you see them, you know, carrying on in the Parliament or you hear a speech by them, or you hear them talking on radio.
They all have their messages. It’s all about – it’s all about, I don’t know, it’s this dreadful daily sludge that goes on, whether in Parliament or out of Parliament. They’re not real people anymore! They’re just not!
KERRY O’BRIEN: Do you find that they’re more controlled from the top?
ALAN RAMSEY: Yep. Absolutely. I mean, during campaigns, the el mobile, Blackberries, whatever they call them – I hate them, I hate them. You know, the daily message: this is the line, this is the line. Everyone repeats it.
You know, it’s Pavlovian, all the time, little puppies, running around, saying the same thing, barking the same bark. It really is, it’s just a – it’s – and in Parliament, it’s the same. Parliament has become – well it’s indescribable.
Its probably worth asking, “Are we a democracy, or an autocracy by committee of clones.”