Carlo's Corner: Make that sheep Australian of the Year; plus Brexit, Corbyn and Boris Johnson's hair

July 14, 2016

Some weeks can bring mixed blessings. For instance, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed a narrow victory for the Coalition in the federal election and on July 12 deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce was assaulted twice by a sheep on his farm.

Joyce told 2GB radio: “The dorper ran and lined me up in the yard and hit me once in the knee [then it] hit me again and now I'm hobbling around like an old geriatric.”

I guess it is important to look for the good as well as the bad. And if that sheep is not at least nominated for Australian of the Year, then this country is more fucked than I feared.

It is a reasonable metaphor for the elections — the poor-hating Coalition, running on a racist and anti-worker platform, survived a serious butting by voters that left it hobbling. Joyce won't be running any marathons, nor will his government be passing the anti-union ABCC any time soon.

It is as yet unknown what provoked the sheep to attack Joyce. Perhaps it was a “single-issue” protest against the live export trade or just a generalised statement of dissatisfaction at out-of-touch political elites.

Or maybe it was a more deeper, more conscious rejection of the Coalition's use of racism and cruelty to refugees to divert attention from its class war on the poor while also pushing environmentally destructive policies threatening to hasten an irreversible ecoholocaust — all in the interests of the short-term profits of the super-rich.

Regardless, someone should really buy that sheep a beer — only not one produced by Carlton & United Breweries, given the union-initiated boycott in support of sacked maintenance workers currently picketing a Melbourne CUB factory in a struggle to defend hard-fought wages and conditions.

***

A week or so of uncertainty in Australia over which bunch of poor-hating racist pricks in suits gets to form a new government in Australian politics is, of course, nothing compared to the huge ructions in British politics.

The fall out continues over Britain's June 23 vote to leave the European Union. In the poll, a narrow majority voted to free themselves from the tyrannical rule of unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels and instead enjoy the full democracy on offer in a state with an unelected upper house in which all laws have to be approved by an aristocratic inbred German.

There has been a lot of debate over how much the vote marked a win for racism compared to a rejection of austerity. Sure, on the one hand, you have the well-documented rise in racist incidents after the Leave vote, but on the other you have such anti-austerity working class voices celebrating Leave such as Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Rupert Murdoch, his Sun newspaper and the Daily Mail.

Of course, a lot of people no doubt rejected the EU due to its role in pushing neoliberal austerity, which has devastating the lives of many working people. So it is just as well the British government is so opposed to austerity — and indeed that the British political establishment have a long opposed neoliberal class war on the poor, as any glance at the record of Margaret 'Friend of the Working People' Thatcher shows.

Many very poor working class areas voted to leave and no doubt many did so to stick it to the anti-poor establishment that largely backed Remain. But can we really see the close Leave/Remain divide along simple class lines?

Obviously, yes. As can be seen by the fact that Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and it is famously filled to the brim with rich toffs. They don't call Glasgow the "Monte Carlo of northern Europe" for nothing.

And when you think of elitist out-of-touch snobs living the high life while others battle to survive, no place comes to mind more than the infamously luxurious streets of West Belfast, where nearly three quarters of voters backed Remain.

After the vote, David Cameron resigned as prime minister, which is good if you hate his cruel anti-poor policies. He was replaced by Theresa May, which is good if you hate humanity.

Britain's foreign minister is now Boris Johnson, who, to go by his publicly stated racial views, is like Prince Phillip with sillier hair. You could safely say Johnson's appointment would be the nuttiest political news of the year if not for the fact Donald Trump is just one election away from the White House.

If Trump wins, both sides of the Atlantic will feature rich white men in high positions whose hair challenges their politics in a closely-run battle for which is crazier.

Meanwhile, Labour's socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn has faced a revolt by most of his MPs on the spurious grounds he has failed because “Leave” won, even though a large majority of Labour voters voted Remain.

Corbyn has obviously failed as Labour leader — if you exclude the fact that Labour membership has grown almost five-fold over the past year and Corbyn-led Labour has won every by-election it has faced.

You get the distinct impression Corbyn could have led the English soccer team to victory in the Euros and scored twice in the final, yet anti-Corbyn MPs would still have rebelled on the grounds he so clearly failed to score a hat trick.

Their case is Corbyn is unelectable. And it is true Corbyn does hold some pretty extreme views, like improving the lot of the poor and opposing new wars in the Middle East.

Unlike his opponents, many of whom voted with the government to bomb Syria and refused to oppose savage austerity measures — presumably on the thinking that the way to get elected is to be so similar to the Tories, Tory voters can't tell the difference and accidently tick the wrong box at the next election.

Corbyn is clearly unelectable, if you ignore the fact that Labour under Corbyn has polled higher than the Tories and Corbyn's opponents were desperate to keep him off the ballot because all polls indicate he will easily win a new leadership election.

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