Friday, July 1, 2016

Bull is the word (letter to SMH)

Dear Editor,

I am writing this morning to express my profound outrage at seeing the Sydney Morning Herald, a paper my parents, then parent, have subscribed to for more than fifty years, sinking to a brazen front-page editorial vote in favour of the so-called 'Liberal'' coalition the day before the general election

On your front page you wrote -- and I quote: 

''''We support the election of the Turnbull government'''' Editorial, page 16.'''' emphasis to 'bull' added.


Bull is the word.

The media is supposed to be the watchdog for the political process, especially during election campaigning, reporting on and ultimately balancing the natural tendency towards the formation of political power elites, such as the gun lobby in the US. Such as the misnamed ''Liberal'' party in Australia.

Here the Sydney Morning Herald sinks to canvassing on behalf of this elite. The right-wing in this country, who call themselves 'liberal'' but who couldn't be more conservative if they wore matching wigs, are shamelessly undemocratic and cynically 'democratic'' when it suits them.  

They are doing what all right-wing ''liberals'' do all over the world do, they raise flat taxes, like GST and doctors' visits, and cut progressive top-bracket taxes. These progressive taxes that hurt no one, when fairly re-distributed return a small portion of the often ill-gotten gains of the filthy rich to the general populace to increase the education and basic health of the majority of people, teachers included, who are otherwise left out in the cold by a pro-rich elite political party and government. 

In wanting to raise GST the '''Liberal'' right-wing fail the majority of people and voters who are not in that tiny bracket of tax payers who stand to benefit from the tax change that will disadvantage the other 99% of the Australian populace. 

If GST is increased, as the ''Liberals'' want, the cost of building and renovating your house, should you be lucky enough to own one already, will go up exponentially. It happened in NZ, especially in Auckland, where there is a serious housing crisis as regular people and families are being priced out of the housing market, owned, often enough, by off-shore-located investors, not even internationals living in NZ. If Australia follows suit it will put even more pressure on the already overloaded housing market here and mean fewer and fewer Australian residents and regular citizens have access to affordable housing. 

And that is just one negative side-effect of electing a right-wing government. There are many more.
Policies and taxes to counter that ''natural'' concentration of wealth in the top minuscule minority of 1% are the main economic reason for having democratic governments in the first place, all else that a government does is social management and development, as well as environmental management. And for social development to work well you need an educated populace, as the first right and privilege. 

You also need not to be sure to reduce the number of triggers for crime, so government-funded anti-racist and anti-sexist policies are justified, as racism and sexism are more often than not present factors in the various crimes committed in Western, if not other, countries. 

You also need a thriving arts sector and well-funded science and innovation research that has nothing directly to do with money-making, though the arts'sector has a great influence on the tourist dollar. You only have to look at The Lord of the Rings.

But the right-wing don't give a rat's ass about discrimination, or art, or research. And so, they will never create a Lord of the Rings, an almost ready-made local film and TV industry. That came out of a well-funded, left-wing arts sector and an individual determined to produce his art in New Zealand, an individual with principles, in short, at least to begin with. 

The right-wing have very little knowledge and so very little cred in the creative sector because about all they are up to is cutting funding to the sector, while funding big, already money-making ventures, as Lord of the Rings became. But the left-wing got it started, there's a big difference in those roles played by the political right and left.

The left-wing chiefly increase arts and research funding, and the right-wing decrease it. 

Similarly, the right-wing rarely initiate or formulate anti-discrimination legislation, including the right to same-sex marriage. The right-wing can pass anti-discrimination legislation and take credit for it, once they can see the mood of the public has turned in favour of this reform. But they never initiate or substantially bring about anti-discrimination reform on the principle of the thing. 

The right-wing doesn't have principles. Self-reliance, which is a shallow, second-tier principle, is their only ''principle'' and that is invariably based on bogus assumptions about position, privilege and opportunity, namely the assumption that you make your own luck (position, privilege and opportunity), when in truth, society makes most of our ''luck'', or at least influences it strongly.

If you went to a good school and are successful, then you have that school to thank in some part, as all good parents know. And this is a gratitude that the majority of Australians don't currently have the privilege of feeling, for the right-wing continue to cut funding to public schools and exacerbate the inequality between the already school-advantaged and those struggling to get a toe in the door of even basic privileges, like to a quality primary and high school education, and the privilege to afford to take your child to the doctor when he or she is really sick. 

Richer rich people, what the right-wing, so called ''Liberals'', want, cannot possibly justify making even basic healthcare less available to the upper and lower middle-income and the poor people; indeed everyone other than the extremely rich.

NZ PM John Key, himself a member of this top 1% elite, has credit-claimed for same-sex marriage legislation in NZ. But it was far from his idea. That credit goes to a female Labour MP, Louisa Wall, who wrote and introduced the legislation into parliament. 

In fact, a conservative male MP had tried earlier to reformulate the Marriage Act to specifically spell out that marriage must be between ''one man and one woman,'' the man always listed first, naturally. Labour MPs, apart from one (so 49 in total), voted against that reform proposal (2008) and it did not succeed. The conservatives right-wing MPs were less united in their opposition.

I could go on.

Instead, i will say simply that your endorsement here of the conservative, anti-equality, anti-education, pro-discrimination party on your front page, the day before the election, is tantamount to putting your hands up and saying: I am no longer a serious newspaper and news outlet. I am a tabloid -- at best. 

This is not journalism; this is a disgrace to the inherently honourable profession of journalism. I am going to recommend to my mother that she discontinue her subscription after fifty-five years.

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