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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tony Abbott & Nineteen-Eighty-Four

In their Sydney Morning Herald article ‘Battlestations’, (News Review, 22-23 November 2014) Judith Ireland and Rick Feneley provide a concise and insightful overview of the events which led to the Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull recent announcement that the budgets for the public broadcasters ABC and SBS will be slashed by over $300 million over the next five years:

As you may recall on the eve of the Federal election almost a year ago, Opposition leader Tony Abbott made it absolutely clear to the Australia public that there would be “no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST, and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.”

Politicians, of course, from all persuasions tell grubby lies- but Abbott’s defence of & denial of his lies regarding his ABC cuts snakes more deeply into the rot than most. Tony is no Stalin or Hitler, but in regard to the ABC cuts Abbott seems to embrace George Orwell’s concept of Doublethink. In THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OR OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM, communally written by the tyrant O’Brien, he defines the term: “Doublethink…is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty.”

When the South African born Liberal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann insisted a few days ago that the cuts to the ABC & SBS were not cuts but “efficiency dividends” many jaws dropped in disbelief. Again I was reminded of Emmanuel Goldstein’s forbidden book: “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies- all this is indispensably necessary.”

I am not for a moment trying to draw any parallels between the autocratic, Airstrip One, Oceania & Australia today. That would be ridiculous. But after telling the public a series of mistruths that there will be “no cuts” to a wide range of essential public services who can trust the bloke? As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald (24 November 2014), when confronted by the cuts to the ABC during question time by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on Monday, Mr Abbott “denied that he has broken a pledge” and told Parliament that “his government had fundamentally kept faith with the Australian people.”

The Liberal government is cynical and divisive. At its core it relies on the apathy and stupidity of the masses. Again Orwell’s masterpiece Nineteen-Eight-Four helps us understand the party’s psychology. Winston Smith teases his lover Julia’s apolitical views by telling her, “you’re only a rebel from the waist downwards.” Winston then reflects on the possibility as to whether people will ever resist the Party in sufficient numbers to overthrow it. He concludes:

“In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening.”

In the end Winston’s human spirit is stomped on by the Party.  His hope in the proles remains unfounded. If the Libs are given another term will they achieve one of their most cherished goals- to dismantle the ABC and sell it to private investors?

(Postscript: While watching Turnbull on Q & A (17 November) defending his leader on a range of issues, including climate change, I was reminded of another Orwellian quote:

“Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of imprudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary.”

Watch a short clip '2 Minutes of Tony Abbott Hate' appropriated from the film 'Nineteen-Eighty-Four' which substitutes Tony Abbott for Emmanuel Goldstein. Chillingly funny:

Update 30 November 2014:

One of the cuts announced by the ABC includes the weekly poetry radio show Poetica produced by Mike Ladd since 1997. Read Barry Hill’s article ‘Poetry flagship show Poetica struck down by ABC’ in today’s The Age here:

 Find out more about Poetica:

 The rationale behind the show: out/

 Poetica’s main page where you can upload dozens of podcasts of previous shows:

The last word on Abbott (for now) was made by a bloke I saw walking along Glebe Point Road a couple of weeks ago after attending the latest Grand Parade Poets releases at Gleebooks.

Update 2 October 2015:

Yeah, good-riddance to the gopher who still can't comprehend how he lied to & mislead the Australian people. Makes it increasingly difficult to rank slimy turd with brazen bull-shit artist with crawling political scum.