Allan Takes Aim Blog

Who’s for the long drop: Rudd or Abbott?

Posted on: 22 August 2013

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Who’s for the long drop: Rudd or Abbott?

It was Samuel Johnson who made the following remark with regard to a clergyman he had tried to save from hanging: “depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, in concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

I think this phrase could usefully be brought to the attention of Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott only because in just short of a fortnight’s time if they haven’t persuaded Australians that their policy promises are true, as voters leave the jury room of the ballot box on Saturday 7 September, on they could have helped consigned one of them to taking the long drop from the top of the political gallows.

But perhaps all is not lost. Perhaps they will heed what George MacDonald Fraser’s cowardly hero Harry Flashman has to say on the subject of death:  “ Some wiseacre once said that the prospect of death concentrates the mind wonderfully,  but I’m here to tell you the chance to work for a reprieve concentrates it a whole heap more.”

With the election but a short time away can voters hope Rudd and Abbott will be more truthful than they have been so far about their policies so that voters can make up their mind about who they want as Prime Minister? Being a realist, I know one will become Prime Minister but won’t hold my breath waiting for the former to happen.

It being more than possible that I might not be around come the next election, I sincerely hope the centuries that have gone into creating viable democratic systems have not been wasted. Indeed, to some extent what is happening in politics today, not just here in Australia but across the western world, is reminiscent of wars in the middle-ages.

It could be argued that in some respects our ancestors did it better. They followed their leader onto the battlefield and at the end of the battle the spoils of the war went to the victor. The victor then went on to govern until a new challenge arose. This still happens, of course, but without the violence. However as to whether or not the aftermath today is better would make a good argument.

And nor has the cause of the wars changed much. They are still be being fought between people who have gained the wealth by ancestry, trade or commerce and those who helped them produce that wealth but think not enough of it stays with them or helps provide the better services they think their efforts deserve.

And this is where the real battle begins. How to measure what share of the wealth do the latter think they are entitled to and to what services should some of the wealth they had helped create be the Government’s first priority. Should the Government’s first priority be the building of a better and more successful economy because without a successful economy where will the Government find the money necessary to create or improve services?

At this point the argument about which came first the chicken or the egg arises. It is also at this point where common sense should play a leading role. Unfortunately, this is also the point at which common sense becomes noticeable by its absence and greed on both sides colours the debate.

So which of the Prime Ministerial protagonists, Rudd or Abbott, will win on 7 September? This is the real difference between the wars of the middle ages and today’s wars because in today’s wars it should not be winner takes all.

On Saturday 7 September that decision is yours. Who will you consign to the long drop?

Comment welcome.

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