Stay away from Major Tom… Ridiculing #ConvoyofNC #auspol

I haven’t updated in a while. It’s the usual problem caused by life and lifetastic things getting in the way of actual blogging.

Let us correct that with an epic post about Australian politics.

I’m a conservative. I think that, in general terms, the status quo should be the default rational position. Progressives, on the other hand, think that no position should be privileged. As one position is not clearly more correct than the other, it comes down to preference. It also means that I can’t declare political ‘opponents’ moronic, retarded, insane, or any other ableist pejorative simply on the grounds that their preferences differ to mine.

My Twitter habits, as a result, are fairly atypical. I follow more people who are progressive than conservative. The sort of conservatives I like (and admire) tend not to be the sort of conservative with a Twitter account. The sort of conservative with a Twitter account tend to be neo-cons and hate mongers.

It was therefore deeply shocking to see my Twitter feed, dominated as it is by left-wingers, erupt into a foamy groupthink of hate, prompted by little more than a few farmers driving trucks.

As part of a campaign against a number of policies, a protest group called ‘The Convoy of No Confidence’ drove trucks to Canberra as a demonstration of their concerns. The idea was to have something dramatic so that the media would pay attention. Groups of all political persuasions do it: during the Howard years, the left burnt flags, effigies of Howard, and blockaded roads with marches.

When it’s a predominately right-wing protest, the left flare up in a chorus of ‘How dare you?’. My Twitter feed has been hijacked by ‘Dumb Fucks on Trucks’, by ‘Convoy of No Clue’, by ‘Convoy of Incontinence’, and so on.

But nobody’s been able to say why the activism is illegitimate.

There is a clear and not unreasonable concern that the current government is unsympathetic to the views of regional and rural Australians. When the cruelty to exported animals problem erupted, instead of attacking the MLA, the ALP punished farmers by banning exports to a not insignificant market. If the Government (rightly, in my view) banned the import of coffee that wasn’t fair trade, shutting down nearly every inner city coffee shop and pumping up the cost of lattes, there would be an outcry. But because rural and regional Australians are given secondary consideration to populist reactions to inner city qualms, live exports were banned…

… Then the ban was overturned…

… And now nobody really knows the state of play.

The reason the anti-Carbon Tax rhetoric of the Opposition is so persuasive is that the ALP is dreadful at communicating with rural and regional Australia. The ALP, rightly or wrongly, has responded to the inner city threat of the Greens, sacrificing its interest in regional votes. That’s why this Convoy exists. It’s a symptom of a broader political malaise upon which the LNP is capitalising.

Instead of engaging in conversation, the left has shown the same tribalism and factionalism as the right. The concerns of the Convoy aren’t worth listening to, apparently, and so they should be mocked until they shut up.

The Convoy is yet another opportunity for the ALP to engage with the disaffected. The Convoy is yet another opportunity for the ALP to see how it’s failing to win hearts and minds.

But… No. It’s just easier to consider them to be ‘from the other side’ – eternally and forever stuck in bumpkin views of the world. What a sad waste of opportunity.

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