AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT
SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 147#.
10 MAY 2006
A CANCER IN THE BODY POLITIC: EDUCATION AND TRAINING REFORM BILL
AS BRACKS AND KOSKY BREAK DOWN THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS CAN WE LEARN FROM JOHN MAJOR?
DOGS are concerned at the way entanglement of Church and State has produced a cancer in our Body Politic. The introduction, and parliamentary treatment of the Education and Training reform Bill have thrown into stark relief the problems confronting our democratic State.
It is important that current and future citizens confront what has occurred and what is going wrong - very wrong.
In this News Release DOGS are not so much concerned with the abject failure of the Press, Parliament, the Executive, the Pressure groups, academia, or so-called moral or religious leaders. That can now be taken for granted and has been and will be the subject of many of our News Releases.
In this News Release however, we ask our readers to consider parts of the statements of John Major , an erstwhile Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in his article:
"Labour's Half Truths and Spin are a Cancer in the Body Politic," ( Opinion Telegraph, 22 February 2005. at www.telegraph.co.uk/ )
DOGS believe they are relevant to our Victorian situation:
" The changing character of the way politics is conducted is an issue on which it would be wrong to remain silent....
Anything goes if it serves its purpose. Its tactics have been so brilliantly effective against its political opponents that New Labour now uses them against all-comers: against critics in relations with the Civil Service ( which is why a Civil Service Act is demanded, even by senior Labour figures) ; and even in Labour itself, to conduct a coup against "old" Labour. ...
New Labour's style of governing has emasculated decision making by cabinet and cabinet committees; they still exist of course, but only to take minor decisions and rubber stamp important ones. Mr Blair and Mr Brown ( read Mr Bracks and Mr Brumby!) decide policy outside a collective decision-making process. Many traditional Labour figures regret this loss, but they have only themselves to blame that Cabinet has lost the habit of dissent and become a cipher. As a former Cabinet Secretary stated: " A Prime Minister is only as powerful as his colleagues allow him to be."
How have they got away with it? They have abused procedures wherever they can; politicized a once-neutral Government information Service; ignored conventions of straight and honest government; and deceived the public even on issues of war and peace.
The lopsided composition of the Commons has made it easier for the Government to deal in half-truths and in the barefaced daily recitation of the unbelievable until it fixes itself in the public mind as if it were true. Our country has never seen anything like this before - certainly not on this scale. Politicians have always used spin to put a favourable gloss on events. No party has entirely clean hands. But the difference now is that, as New Labour uses it, truth is too often turned on its head. As a result, millions of electors believe the Government "lies" as a matter of course.
If the facts don't fit the argument, then the facts become flexible. It is Orwellian. Words mean what they wish them to mean. Bad news is good. Up is down. Black is white. Fiction is fact. ....As Jim Callaghan once parroted: " A lie can be halfway around the world before truth gets its boots on,", and, for 10 years, that maxim has been New Labour's guiding star.
It has led it, when criticized, to play the man and not the ball, in a reflex action that has proved a mightily effective tool in warning off critics. It is a shabby way to conduct a democratic debate. Such tactics are a cancer in the body politic. The Prime Minister cannot avert his eyes- or evade his responsibility - any longer. ...."
In coming months, watch to see whether the new Victorian Labour Bracks/Brumby government "play the man" with the new Liberal leader Baillieu. They have already attacked him as a "Toff". Yet nobody is accusing them of the "politics of envy."
That term has been reserved for vilification of promoters of fairness in education funding, - those asking for some of the crumbs from the rich man's education table for the poor, and those who believe that public funding should be reserved for the public not the private good.
FOR discussion on these matters, listen to 3CR, 855 on the am dial
12.30 p.m. ON SaturdayS.
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|Last modified:Wednesday, 10 May 2006|