Anyone but Abbott disappoints

Angry. That is how I would describe the politically engaged subset of the Australian community. We’re angry.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been writing about my disillusionment with the mainstream media, who I believe have jumped the shark. The further we get into Gillard’s tenure as Prime Minister, the more, it seems, mainstream journalists ramp up their efforts to undermine her and dupe the public into thinking she is an ‘unsuccessful’ leader. This is just not so, and left-leaning Australians are sick of this inaccurate portrayal.

To add to this frustration, it would appear that Labor and the Greens are now angry with each other, because of the difference in our propensity to compromise when it comes to carrying out progressive policies. First it was Rudd’s failed attempt to pass ETS legislation, because the purity of the Green’s platform didn’t allow for compromise. Now we have the Greens vetoing changes to asylum seeker policy, because they won’t budge from their pure policy of onshore processing. I wrote last week about the art of compromise. But life has a way of making people question their beliefs. While I was engaged in Twitter wars encouraging Greens voters to learn how to be pragmatic, rather than blindly adhering to a policy while rejecting incremental improvement, I was given a dose of my own medicine by the arrival of a new campaign to unseat Abbott in Warringah – @AnyoneButAbbott.

At first I happily followed this new Twitter account and welcomed them, offering to help in anyway I could. Of course an ‘Anyone But Abbott’ campaign looked promising – it might even be a way for the Greens and Labor supporters to remind ourselves that we need to come together to defuse the threat of Abbott as Prime Minister. During the week, Tim Dunlop had provided his own angry post on this topic, which started with the line: “Who the fuck am I meant to vote for at the next Federal election?” I thought the answer could be ‘Anyone but Abbott’. But alas, I had spoken too soon. As soon as I visited the Anyone but Abbott Facebook page, I smelt a rat. How was it possible that this campaign was being launched on a platform describing Gillard as a terrible Prime Minister? A short Twitter war later, it became clear that the ‘Anyone But Abbott’ campaign is an angry group of moderate Liberals, looking to replace the right wing extremist Abbott with a Turnbull-ite. As a result of the amiable Twitter war, where I explained why I encouraged their campaign, but couldn’t support it, @AnyoneButAbbott claimed this about their campaign:

Liberal supporters who seem to be outraged by Abbott think that Turnbull is a good solution to their ‘Anyone But Abbott’ campaign. But people like me, who are rusted onto their left wing beliefs, could never vote for Turnbull, even if it was the only way to rid ourselves of Abbott. Turnbull might not be as extreme as Abbott, but he’s still a free market warrior, he’d happily reintroduce Work Choices and he’s therefore not a compromise I’m willing to make. It was this moment when I understood the Greens a little better with their refusal to compromise on asylum seeker policy. I finally understood the anger that we’re all feeling. Compromise is a noble art, but a line must be drawn somewhere. My line in the ‘Anything but Abbott’ debate was drawn with the sad realisation in an earlier Tweet that:

The problem is not just Abbott. It’s his fellow right wing ideologues that put him in power in the first place.

Sure, Hockey isn’t quite as bad, but that doesn’t mean I could ever help Hockey unseat Abbott either! If the moderates are relying on the help of Labor supporters to get rid of Abbott, their campaign is doomed.

The Twitter war ended like this:

I have criticised the Greens in their stubborn adherence to policy that lives in a perfect world, a world so perfect that it doesn’t exist. But maybe I understand this stubbornness a little bit more now, even if I don’t respect it. Maybe I’m angry because I’m exactly the same. I have a line that can’t be crossed, and @AnyoneButAbbott found it.


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