The Peter Slipper illusion

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With LNP powerbrokers Mal Brough and Christopher Pyne now having been revealed to have met James Ashby at least six times in the immediate lead-up to his civil and criminal claims against Speaker Peter Slipper, Ian Harris asks if the whole affair is just an illusion.

James Ashby and Peter Slipper

I have been pondering the current state of politics in Australia.

I am a keen reader and recently came across a quote from Galileo:
"Long experience has taught me this about the status of mankind with regard to matters requiring thought : the less people know and understand about them, the more positively they attempt to argue concerning them, while on the other hand to know and understand a multitude of things renders men cautious in passing judgment upon anything new."

It also neatly aligned with my recent re-discovery of the notion of illusion in our lives.

You might recall that George Bush and John Howard went to war in Iraq because they had ‘evidence’ that Saddam Hussein had ‘weapons of mass destruction’ at his disposal. This proved not to be the case.

Financial collapses are often born out of illusion. The figures show one thing but, when you get in behind and understand the reality, another scenario is revealed.

Magicians are working with illusion all the time. They cut people in half and put them back together again. They pull a rabbit from a hat. A coin from behind their ear. Illusion was Harry Houdini’s bread and butter.

And politicians work with illusion too!

Many people see the current situation with the Speaker as being a failure of Gillard’s judgement in trying to retain some semblance of advantage in a hung parliament.

Others see it as the result of a successful campaign by an Opposition leader who sees it as his divine right to become Prime Minister.

But it is possible that there is a deeper more complex agenda playing out behind these obvious facades which fill our newspapers, TV’s, radios and web-pages.

Let me speculate for a moment.

Let’s say that you were a purveyor of oil. You have wells, refineries and service stations all over the world. Your turnover might well exceed that of many sovereign nations.

A small nation then passes legislation to introduce their populace to the benefits of ‘clean energy’. They want to wean them off fossil fuels and provide them with potentially cheaper sources of energy. The Sun is one such source. Muon-catalysed fusion is another. Not to mention geothermal. And waves in the ocean.

Your revenues would, in the long term, be decimated. In the short term, they would also take a hit because you are going to have to spend huge amounts on research and development to stay competitive. You will also have to spend huge amounts on public relations to ridicule the need to move to a ‘clean energy future’.

The value of your shares will most likely fall as you face these pressures. The wealth of your shareholders will decline considerably.

Now, let’s say your shares were tightly held by only a few families. And let’s say that the banks who funded you were also fairly tightly owned by only a few families.

Would you expect that these families would move to protect their positions?


Where would they start?

Well, with the country who has passed the legislation.

That’s because a ‘clean energy future’ might catch on. You would have to stop it before it gets on a roll. Other countries might come to see the benefits to their populace of cheaper energy and emulate the initiative.

So what you might do is to start to undermine the parliament of the country that has passed the legislation.

After all, this is not rocket science. This country has managed to get this legislation through a hung parliament. Just imagine how more swiftly it would’ve occurred had they had a substantial majority. Other nations have such majorities.

So, you devise a cunning plan.

You have the Opposition leader in place. He’s a good one because he is a conservative and a Catholic to boot — with a strong relationship to a Catholic archbishop!

(Remember that it was the Catholic Church who managed to delay the populace understanding the remarkable discovery that the planets revolved around the sun rather than the other way round. So why would they not move to support their interests given their real estate holdings and their revenues.)

You have some strategic alliances in place too! This government has also had the audacity to suggest that the people of this particular nation should be entitled to a greater share of the non-renewable mineral wealth under its soils. Wealthy miners are lining up to support you.

You could organise something similar to the Charge of the Light Brigade.

But you are more subtle than that!

You start with the institution of government. A simple undermining strategy!

You manage to exploit a situation where a beleaguered female Prime Minister sees an opportunity to get an advantage to pursue her social agenda.

You put in place a debonair, disenchanted Liberal with a slightly exaggerated sense of his role to play and you set him up beautifully.

Firstly, with some simple Cabcharge dockets. And then you raise doubt in the populace’s mind as to whether this disenchanted Liberal might be gay. He is the moderator of behaviour in the parliament and he can’t possibly do that if he is gay! In the UK maybe — but not here where real men are bronzed and muscled.

There are other tricks that you have up your sleeve to scratch this government out of existence too. They are even more subtle!

And in due course, this government is wiped out at the next polls and your Opposition leader becomes PM and repeals the legislation with his huge majority.

The populace of this country are saved from a clean energy future and they have the pleasure of remaining dependent on fossil fuels for the rest of their days.

Your wealth is retained.

All you have to do is to keep on funding the research that says reliance on fossil fuels is not causing our planet to heat up to the extent that it will become uninhabitable. This is a minor impost to your profits. That’s because many of your allies are scientists who are funded by the public purse, via universities and government grants.

Boy, these illusions are fun!

(This story was originally published The Blowfly and has been republished with permission.)

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