MARK BUCKLEY. Three Amigos

It is like the band getting back together again, when all the large white men with blonde-ish hair all came to power, sort of in the same time frame, voted for by actual people, and now all claiming a MANDATE. They all speak a form of English, although it is understood that the meanings that they attribute to many words in common usage are skewed, or at odds with community expectations. These are indeed depressing times.

A large, pouting, seventy – something baby is in charge of the largest arsenal of death – dealing weaponry ever assembled. He is the successor to Lincoln, Roosevelt and Kennedy, and it is rumoured that he does not read very well. He is a self-confessed sexual predator. He is about to be impeached. He has caused world-wide depression and anxiety, and he has destroyed America’s standing in the world. He makes George W. Bush look like a genius.

Another large, bumbling, fifty – something oaf is now in charge of the birthplace of Parliaments worldwide. He is the successor of Gladstone and Disraeli, Attlee and Churchill. He is a serial liar and philanderer, and during the 2019 election race he was hidden away from all serious commentators, by his own side, because it was understood that he could not withstand a serious interview without damning his chances of election. He was even guilty of hiding in a fridge when it looked as if he might be caught up with by a journalist.

The third amigo is also large, fifty – something, a marketing careerist, religious fanatic and shameless prevaricator who has no known goal beyond dodging questions from the Press, and remaining in power. He is the successor of Chifley, Curtin, Hawke and Menzies. During the 2019 election campaign he managed to hide his entire cabinet from scrutiny, because of their lack of intellectual capacity, and or human qualities.

These three have moved into positions of power at a time when many right wing populists around the world are busily dismantling their national institutions, or at least undermining the standards and norms of those institutions. I would argue that the ‘three amigos’ are of such limited moral fibre that they are susceptible to creeping ambitions, and, as power corrupts, these three are really corruptible.

That is not to say that we are destined to re-live the 1930s, but we must hope that this swing to the right is transitory, and that the toing and froing of political alignment continues, left-right, left-right, because this form of right wing populism has broken spectacularly with perceived norms of behaviour. It is best to remember that any form of right which is surrendered to power is almost impossible to get back. The right to privacy is now a forgotten right, and it should serve to remind us of what we stand to lose.

The rolling back of political and human rights in Turkey, Poland, Brazil and Hungary are not isolated. They are catching, and geographically they illustrate the universality of ideas in the internet era, which are no longer bound by location. The ‘three amigos’ share a language, but more than that they share a disrespect for individual human rights, if you are not among the chosen.

So don’t be complacent. These three oafs appear to be well-meaning bumblers, but behind the scenes there are those who pull their strings, and would turn power into untrammelled nastiness. Imagine a world where Peter Dutton’s xenophobic fantasies come true.

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Mark Buckley is a writer based in regional Victoria. He has a particular interest in politics, history and ethics in public life. He blogs at www.askbucko.com

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