Carlo's Corner: Watching Liberals in pain just never gets old

February 6, 2015
If you can't enjoy seeing a reptile like Abbott wriggling in pain, then you have lost the capacity to enjoy life.

If you reading this after Tuesday, there's a chance we could have a new Overlord.

Liberals spooked by polls so bad that an electoral coalition between Islamic State and Ebola — or hell, even the Labor Party — could probably win the next federal election, are holding a leadership spill that could dump Tony Abbott as prime minister less than half way through his first term.

And yes, I know that if you get rid of Abbott, whoever replaces him will be out to push some variety of the same policies kicking the shit out of most people and the goddamn planet. Even if Labor get in, you'd get Liberal-lite at best, unless we organise from the ground up to build a real alternative to the profit-first policies of both big parties. I know.

But for god's sake, seeing Abbott squirm is funny. And Christ knows, we need a laugh. If you can't enjoy seeing a reptile like Abbott wriggling in pain, then you have lost the capacity to enjoy life.

It is also satisfying when you consider the reasons why Abbott has become so unpopular. It is not just that he appears untrustworthy, incompetent, gaffe-prone and incapable of stringing together a simple sentence.

It is that he appears untrustworthy, incompetent, gaffe-prone and incapable of stringing together a simple sentence while trying to sell deeply unpopular measures to strip us of hard-won social gains and shift wealth to his rich backers.

Abbott's polling woes stem from his inability to get us to accept his anti-poor, anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-anything-but-corporate profit at any cost agenda.

Getting us to accept such an agenda is a lot harder than just replacing Abbott's lizard-like features with the slick, smug, “I might be a multi-millionaire investment banker but I still like to wear a leather jacket” features of Malcolm Turnbull or Julie “death stare” Bishop.

Of course, it also doesn't help when you have salespeople as ridiculously out-of-touch as this mob. Abbott might be grabbing the headlines of late, but we can't forget some of the madder moments of Treasurer Joe Hockey.

Such as Hockey's January 19 justification for introducing a GP co-payment on the grounds that future generations might live until they are 150.

“It is kind of remarkable that somewhere in the world today it is highly probable a child has been born who will live to be 150,” said Hockey. “How do we ensure that we have good quality of life the whole way through? This is the conversation we are going to be having with the Australian people over the next few months.”

Never mind how truly insane this justification for slashing healthcare spending is, just put aside the fact our treasurer might as well have suggested “we must destroy our universal health care system because one day we might all live forever on Mars”, it is also incredibly inconsistent.

After all, just before Christmas, Hockey urged us all “not to let Santa down” and instead spend up big to stimulate the economy. But surely the responsible thing to do, given the latest scientific breakthroughs on reversing the aging process that Hockey is so keen to promote, would be to urge families to start saving now for their retirement, which seems likely to last about 100 years.

Amid all the speculation about who might sell the Liberals' shit better, their shit keeps on coming.

Their latest planned attack on the poor is a plan to expand the “work for the dole” scheme to force Newstart recipients to volunteer in aged-care facilities.

Let's leave aside the fact that if there are jobs you can force the unemployed to do in return for fortnightly payments that fall under the poverty line, then there are jobs you could actually employ people to do for actual, decent wages.

What I want to know is what the hell have the elderly done to deserve this? Working with the elderly is not just some random job anyone can just do. People study and train to do it properly. Forcing untrained people living in poverty to “volunteer” to work with the elderly is a recipe for making the lives of everyone involved far worse.

And why stop there? If the unemployed can look after the elderly, surely they could “volunteer” in hospitals too, instead of nurses? Or surgeons? Replacing highly-paid specialists with the unemployed would save money in public hospitals while teaching these dole bludgers some valuable lessons, like just how fragile life truly is.

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