From the Canberra Times, probably not the journal of choice of many VVB readers, comes news that several Canberra business people, the former Liberal Chief Minister and a prominent academic on business and governance issues have met to form a new political party.
Meeting in a wine merchant's board room was a nice touch. Cheers!
Given that assemblage, it's highly likely that the new party will be "pro-business", a tried and tired motif to which most current and recent Australian governments have pledged allegiance. With the almost certain exception of the current Labor ACT government which, apart from being "self-congratulatory and secretive", is pretty much fixated on symbolism rather than substance (if what I read in the Canberra Times is true).
Still an' all, it will be interesting to watch. Along with the death of previously understood notions of 'left' and 'right', the post-1989 supremacy of market-led government (hmm, there's a contradiction in terms, no?) has in my 'umble view contributed to an increasing gap between citizens' expectations and what governments actually do, and how they do it.
It's probably a typical VVB wishy-washy-left view, but I wouldn't be surprised to find a minority of Aussies in favour of having taxpayer-funded infrastructure and institutions relentlessly sold off to private interests (often substituting a government monopoly for a private one, hardly a great leap forward.
Community expectations of government have risen alongside government's ability to respond as the core mechanisms have been dismantled.
At the core of course we have the (boo hiss cue typical rant at the TV) usual suspects of Milton f*****g Friedman, Friedrich f*****g Hayek, Maggie f*****g Thatcher and Ronald f*****g Reagan. And Hawke/Keating bought the model in the exhilartion of post-1989, when the world changed and the western model 'won'.
The f*****g family has a lot to answer for.
Did anybody know what they were voting for as the market-led model grabbed the Anglo-western world by the testicles and squeezed like crazy.
Has the model delivered benefits for a majority, so far? Yes. Does more of the same guarantee more benefits? Of course not.
So roll on the private, market-led new third force in ACT politics. You could start with cleaning the suburban centres up and trying to reinvigorate them (the smallest size of suburban shopping centre used to be a great place for quick purchases, services and keeping in touch with neighbourhood goings-on, mowing a bit of grass around the place and getting some decent infrastructure in place around the airport rather than just lining developers' pockets.
Yes, we shall watch. Does this presage the emergence of more 'fourth way' (third way having been just a pale replica of what wee already had) parties?
Answers on the back of an uncrossed cheque made out to 'global capitalism' and left in a rubbish bin in Telopea Park.
Outside, the mighty Fitzroy continues to subside, leaving a broad sweep of mud in its wake.