27 February 2008

stuck in the middle with you

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.


Unknown said...

Cooleman Court used to be a great local shopping centre. The Woolies there was one of the best in Canberra for product range. It had a truly superb butcher in Mr. Chops, and a fairly good fruit/veg place in Freddy Frapples.

This has all changed, though. The Woolies is now crap for product range, compared to the Woolies/Coles duopoly at Woden. Mr. Chops has confirmed that he is closing up shop; I speculate that this due to deliberately out-of-line rent increases. Freddy Frapples is also closing, probably for the same reason. In place of these two popular items we'll undoubtedly get more bloody chain stores.

Dear Corporate Overlords,

If I wanted your chain stores I'd go to Woden... which I already do, because the Cooleman Court Woolies is so lame. Woden also has a very good fruit/veg place, which I make sure to support as much as I can.

By kowtowing to the almighty chain stores, you have lost a customer who potentially used most or all of the stores in Cooleman Court. I know from conversations with other citizens of the Weston Creek area that I am certainly not alone. Woden isn't far away at all, and I don't mind the extra minute or two of driving to get there if it means not getting horribly frustrated by crappy shops.


Formerly Loyal Customer

phil said...

Formerly loyal customers, a misunderstood and growing breed.

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