Well with a title like that there is only one thing this post can be about, eh? Yes, you are correct gentle reader, it's the ongoing perfidy - no, actually the ongoing elevation of politics above the national interest - of our beloved Australian government - or, the Howard government as it prefers to be known.
When I saw this headline today, I thought, "ah, alert and alarmed. Too much shit going down - media consolidation, Iraq invasion not going so well, people starting to ask difficult questions about AWB - time for a little something to keep the populace uneasy and, more to the point, distracted."
On the money, I thinking.
And then tonight, I read in today's Financial Review - and how long is it for this world** - a thoughtful piece by Scott Burchill of Deakin Uni. In discussing recent moves to censor books that are not consistent with the received wisdom of the government, Burchill mentions a book, Power and National Politics by one Paul Gilby, which it seems the Minister for Education (f**k me, what a misnomer) wishes to ban. Sorry, article not available on line.
According to Burchill the Minister, one Julie Bishop, selectively quotes Gilby to misrepresent him as an unardorned apologist for Islamic aggression and also a self-hater, something which apparently goes with stating any misgivinsg about the Iraq adventure. In so doing, Burchill asserts that "Bishop is greatly concerned by the book's suggestion that ' the Howard government is deliberately using the threat of terrorism to keep Australians fearful and thus supportive of government policies and actions.'"
Most fortunately, and also saving me from the tedium of googling a suitable reference, Burchill goes on to quote H. L. Mencken, thus: "the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary".
Not much to add really - we all know he does it, it's worked a treat for over 5 years. Over at Road to Surfdom, the indomitably optimistic are sniffing a change in the air. Let's hope they're right. Let's also hope that the (insert obligatory offensive description here) can't sink any lower. Although I have to say, on past performance, that's a faint hope.
**And, btw, how ironic that we should read such unhelpful and, dare I say, unAustralian commentary in a Fairfax rag? Because it'll be gone soon enough, eh?