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In Australia, the federal election has seen a tidal wave of unexpected results. Well, it’s a tidal wave for the major parties who seem gobsmacked by the voting public and their decisions. But this result has been entirely predictable. And was entirely predictable. If only one was to look and listen.
You see, the trust between our citizens and our institutions has been unraveling.
As Umair Haque has written:
Here’s the ugly truth. For the last few decades, institutions, whether political parties, businesses, governments, and so on, have been able to profit from this breakdown. They have been able to grow at the expense of middle classes, by deconstructing social contracts (“offshoring”) and pursuing the lowest common denominator (“financialization”).
This kind of disaffection doesn’t show up in the polls. This deep divide, excavated between the rich and the poor, the social haves and the social never-to-haves has not been created in weeks or months. It has been years.
And the major political parties have done their fair share of digging.
What they don’t see is that the old world divides between “left” and “right” no longer explain the world to us. They only explain the world to the old guard. That’s why there is so much confusion amongst strategists and commentators. It’s not that issues of the left or right no longer exist, but that the categories no longer hold water.
After all, we can believe in #marriageequality and still have concerns over immigration. We can worry about the future yet refuse to invest in education and innovation.
We can do all these things.
The challenge ahead for our politicians is not to chart a path backwards, but to set a new agenda for the future. Give us something to vote FOR and we will do so. But only after we learn to trust you again.