Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dawn of An Election Year

So 2012 is drawing to a close.

Obama was returned as expected to the White House, and the social democrats of the left worldwide mostly held to power.

Although, cracks are appearing. The US has its cartoonish-named 'fiscal cliff' and the Eurozone is still the hopeless basket case that it was at the dawn of the Global Financial Crisis.

Here in Australia, retail has slumped, and true unemployment is closer to 9% than the quoted 4.5-5% by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, according to Roy Morgan, which is a very well respected organisation.

Our interest rates are at GFC levels, and even mining investment has slowed.

There are those in the Labor ranks that think it might be best to abandon the idea of a Budget surplus next year, given the financial headwinds, and perhaps recession we were meant to have during the GFC, rise to meet us.

Of course, being a Federal Election year, that won't go down well. Labor will sell the kitchen sink and grandma's dentures to reach that magical surplus that they always promised, the prized pig of Australian politics.

The surplus number though is largely just a psychological gloating point for any political party, and has no real impact or standing on the true economy.

The Liberals may spout that government should be ran like a family budget, but nothing could be further from the truth - if it were ran like a family budget, the government would be neck-deep in mortgage repayments, electricity bills, and silly consumer debt.

Joe Hockey for one likes that line, and it might appeal to Howard's Battlers, but it has no real basis in the real world.

Additionally, this year saw a very grubby year inside Parliament, with smear campaigns coming thick and fast, from James Ashby who was paid $50,000 in government hush money, to a shifty ex-boyfriend of Julia Gillard's who may or may not have played a role in setting up a dirty union slush fund.

All in all, the year played out as if the media, government and opposition were in election mode. Everyone was waiting for the government to be toppled, and despite the Liberals' miserable attempts, that did not come to pass.

Well put on your hats lovelies, because next year is an election year - a circus act and a spectacle worthy of rolling over and hibernating until the sad sorry mess is finally over.

Although if you do that, you might wake up to Tony Abbott in the morning praying a few rosaries.

It's hard to get one's head wrangled around this maze of bastardised intrigue.

The average person on the street already knows politicians cannot be trusted, and so they hold little interest - if they could become privy to the full extent of the circus, they would surely stop watching Home & Away, and tune into Parliament instead.

They will have little choice next year, with election coverage set to be somewhat more fervent than in previous years.

Gillard vs. Abbott makes for a good rumble, and the two trade bloody blows; a good blood sport for the media, but not good news for the manners and decorum that politicians should adhere to.

Next year will also see a hoard of young people join the voting public ranks for the first time, which will be interesting, given that few, if any teenagers today have any idea about Australian politics.

They probably will think "hey, didn't we just vote Obama in?" - no, intrepid young person, despite what the Foxtel box and Kanye West tell you, you do not in fact live in America.

So as this year draws to a close, and the booze-filled office parties get into swing, the holiday road fatality statistics roll in, and you're stuffing the last possible gram of pudding into your bloated stomach, just keep in mind next year is an election year.

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