So I was reading an article on the Guardian about Australian science being squeezed, like a mob boss squeezes a small fruit stall owner, and this particular quote by Pyne struck me:
“The funds for NCRIS only exist because of savings elsewhere in the higher education package.
“The way for Labor to support NCRIS, which they themselves defunded, is to support the higher education reforms.
“Labor needs to stop playing politics and enter negotiations with the government because it will be on the heads of Labor, the Greens and the crossbenchers if it closes,” he said.
It’s a small statement, well, relatively small at least, but the thing that strikes me is that it’s just so…goddamn…political…
You see, Pyne is giving the excuse, or the ‘argument ender’, to his base. He’s saying, “Look, it’s everyone else’s fault if this travesty of a budget cut to Australian science comes to pass! (It’s just coincidental that in order to stop this travesty of a budget cut to science, everyone else has to agree to my travesty of a budget cut to education.)”
This, as I said, is to give his base something to argue back against with people who disagree about his actions. It doesn’t matter, of course, that what he really means is, “I want my education cuts to pass and until they do, I’m going to hold my scythe next to the string that is holding Australian science up! And if, dog forbid, you don’t agree with me before I cut the string and Australian science plunges into this convenient volcano…Well then you only have yourselves to blame!”
Politically, it’s not a bad strategy. It’s totally ripped off from the American system of ‘government’ (where left is right and right is…really right, I guess), and has 50 shades of teaparty behind it but when has bringing stale childhood schoolyard tactics ever actually hurt a politician before?…Yes, that is a rhetorical question.
So, Pyne, you play a good political card, gently fondling yourself while holding the Australian public’s future up for ransom, but you play a pathetic humanity card. Instead of desperately trying to tear down the social structures and safety nets that Australians have put in place many generations before you, why don’t you take a look around this grand country…See the opportunity being squandered in the form of feeding tax cuts to the richest, while the poorest suffer pointlessly short and brutal lives; in the form of the racial and sexual discrimination that holds back the potential of the country as a whole (imagine a country where ALL people contribute to their fullest without glass barriers sitting pointlessly in their way); in the form of preserving and respecting the beautiful natural heritage that all Australians enjoy which is, incidentally, being destroyed in pursuit of capitalistic interests; in the form of literally just giving one single fuck about the actual world that we live in.
Please, try it just once. It might burn to begin with, but that’s just the exorcism of the cancer that has guided your decisions in the past. Trust me, it feels nicer to bask in the sunlight of a free and equal world.