I'll Have a Sausage in Bread and Some Democracy, Please

The best thing about Australian elections is the sausage sizzle and cake stall held by the local school which is where we line up to vote. Also meeting all your friends and neighbours and people you haven't seen for years. The worst thing is the abysmal space that both the major political parties are occupying, known as 'The Place Where The Privileged Prop Up the Affluent at The Expense of Everyone Else'.

For excellent political commentary see here (US, Brexit vote) and here (state of the British Labour party). Not relevant to Australian politics? Think again.

From the first link: Once the dominant minority loses the loyalty of the masses by failing to deal with the needs of those outside the circles of affluence and privilege, sullen outward conformity and secret revolt replace the mutual trust that’s needed to make a society function. John Michael Greer

Sometimes I wonder exactly why we need a government. I mean, without a government the wealthy and powerful would be free to go along their merry way exploiting the mass of humanity and plundering the environment without compunction, and with a government... Well, yes, see what I mean? 

If you are feeling very depressed by the politics of your particular neighbourhood this week, don't despair. We are nearing the end of Business as Usual, in politics, economics and the weather. We have strained the resources of our planet and credulity of the general populace enough already, and it won't be long before we all get the governments and the climate we deserve. Again, no despair. Give the planet and politics five hundred years or so, and it will all shake down nicely, as we either learn to live sensibly or obliterate ourselves out of existence. Either way, we must just live as well as we can, be kind and courageous as we can manage.

Our lives are uniquely and intrinsically our own. It is a responsibility that few seem willing to bear.
Penny Rimbaud, quoted in How to be Free by Tom Hodgkinson.

This is an excellent book and antidote to just about any ill. The first time I read it I thought the author was charming but slightly mad. I have read it at least once a year since, and he becomes more sane every time I read. Because we are all marching to the beat of the wrong drum. A little bit of us all slowing down and rethinking our priorities won't hurt us, or our politicians either. We are citizens, not consumers. We can be creative producers, not consumers. We can direct our own lives..

And also, sausages in bread and fairy cakes make election day almost bearable.

Updated to add: A very thoughtful piece about Pauline Hanson's surprise election success. Is she our very own Donald Trump, capturing the vote of those who are disenfranchised by our current political elites?


Treaders said…
Wow Jo, that's a great post - and thanks to you I have just discovered the Archdruid Report. As a Brit living in France (and not having the right to vote on Brexit) I have been following the debate intensely. I cannot believe the schoolyard of politicians on both sides, but fear any sane, decent person wouldn't go far in politics because they don't have the back-stabbing qualities it takes to get on. Interesting times ahead - and enjoy the sausages. Anna
fran7narf said…
I was in the city on Thursday to have lunch with my son and as his office is directly above where the early voting station was set up in the city I decided to ask if I could vote early. Turns out as I was actually out of my electorate (by about 20km) I could! So I did. Problem with voting early is that if you aren't voting for the major 2, or even the next 2 or 3 (which is how my decision went this year) you might just end up with one of your candidates pulling out the day AFTER you vote...luckily I decided to be bolshie about filling out every single number under the line in the senate paper isn't it so that they should at least have a really REALLY good idea where my aspirations lay (as my numero duo was no longer present and accounted for on election day). I think if we look at the big picture we can go unmitigatedly mad. I have decided to plod along in my immediate stratosphere where I can actually facilitate good things. I can't do much aside from vote with my conscience and according to the local ballot polls my vote wasn't even registered as my candidate got "0%" of the Tasmanian vote (?!) but I CAN do something about me, my immediate environment and how I choose to navigate my not inconsiderable derriere through it all. I refuse to wear sack cloth and sit in the ashes any more. Obviously there are powers that be that are a LOT more influential than I am BUT that doesn't stop me trying my tiny best to redress at least a wee bit of what they are trying to tear down in the name of personal power and profit. If we all voted with our conscience (and actually voting would be a good start ;) ) and lived honest and sustainable lives, just think about how far we could go towards creating the best outcome? Bugger the politicians. They wouldn't have risen as far as they have unless they were able to do some serious back stabbing in the process. Self serving power hungry megalomaniacs to a tee BUT if we don't buy what they are selling us they can't remain economically (or politically) viable. I missed the sausage sizzle and the cake stall but I did get a shed full of old fridges sealed up ready to turn into wicking water beds. I am trying my very best to do my bit for the environment and for sustainability and that might just be the best possible outcome for my election weekend. Although ousting some of the political scavengers that have been ignoring the will of the people for too long now has it's satisfaction quotient I must admit ;)
Jo said…
Anna, I love introducing people to the Archdruid Report - such thoughtful political and societal commentary! My oldest daughter, home for the holidays, incautiously expressed some confusion over what was going on in Britain, so I read her the whole post! How is it being British in France right now??

Fran, yes, yes, and yes. Making wicking beds out of old fridges is not only a marvellous example of 'wombling' and a brilliant gardening practise, it is also the only sane response to political anxiety. Doing something positive that leads us forward.. looking forward to seeing how your gardening experience turns out..
I agree with you! I have started voting at the local church (rather than the local school) because the church has sausages and cakes and a book stall! it's wonderful.
the rest of it all - not so much. and because there was no clear winner on Saturday night, it's going to drag on for weeks! I'm bored (again) already.
Jo said…
e, a book stall! Seriously, I'm coming down to Hobart to vote next time. Clearly the good folk at that church know how harrowing democracy is and have chosen to provide food for the soul too..
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

If I was a rapper and had written your words, I'd end them by adding the following word in a slightly overly assertive and perhaps a little bit of an agressively shouty manner: BAM! :-)! Hehe!

Actually, I reckon we witnessed democracy in action. Many long years ago, I became curious about the integrity of the process and so became involved and still am today. It is a very robust and very honest system down under, and please if you ever hear anyone spruiking the desire to introduce computers or other machines into the process, then I strongly urge you to resist the temptation as the system as it stands is very robust.

The thing that is interesting about the result is that people seem to have some sort of preconceived notion about how the result should have turned out - usually when they didn't get what they want. It is fascinating to me that there have been hints and calls for another election as if that was an appropriate response. I suspect that what we may be seeing is that politics of the individual have run their course and are now past their used by date. Dunno. There is something in it though.


Treaders said…
Hi Jo, Anna here in France again. It's just fine being British in France (actually they would have to drag me back kicking and screaming to Britain), but in a few months my son and I will start the process of becoming French I think. I don't think ANYONE knows what is going on, nor what the outcome of Brexit will be. Half the French I know are sick to death of the EU and their autocratic regulations too. There are many, many advantages to being in the EU but it is the interfering in smaller matters that is turning people. Well that and unfettered immigration that has ensued. There is no way to contain it and while EVERYONE has sympathy for genuine refugees no-one wants unchecked immigration. They have elections next year too and if Marine Le Pen gets in who knows if France will go the same way. The French are sick to death of both sets of politicians who, let's face it, are only in it for themselves wherever you live. Only time will tell. Fascinating (and scary) times ahead I think. Anna
Anonymous said…
Great post Jo.
My husband actually inquired to see if we could vote in the Brexit Wars....silly really as we have been in Canada for over 40 years.
I remember back when the news was all about the UK signing up for the EU team, I was all for it then....I had the Star Trek utopia in mind in my younger(and naive)days...I was all for NAFTA also, just one big happy world. I don't think I had ever heard the term Globalization.
Older and wiser now and sadder. I see it all for what it really and I would have been on the Brexit side this time around.
The young folk know nothing else and that scares them.....perhaps they don't know the word Globalization yet and they think hopping over the channel easily is utopia.
To them I say...we tried it, gave it our best shot and it didn't work out...greed overcame it.

Jo said…
Chris, I have absolutely no problem with how our democratic system works - I don't even have a problem with the Hare-Clark preferential voting system, because I love that it gives small parties a go. I would love to be able to get behind a political party I could trust though..

Anna, what is unsettling to me about the EU is its unaccountability. It is a behemoth that wants to eat up everything in its path.. at least we can vote out our politicians, but you can't vote out the EU..

Marieann, I think people want the the heartwarming factor of the local with the convenience of globalization - but you can't have both. To live in a truly local and sustainable country and economy you have to give up shopping on-line internationally and hopping on cheap flights every weekend.. and buying cheap food from the other side of the world. The cheapest jam in my (Tasmanian) supermarket comes from Poland! I can't quite get my head around that..
Anonymous said…
The only thing I am cheerful about with our election is that at least the major parties fight for the centre and we don't have the extremes we see overseas. Yes, Hanson is atrocious but still not as far right as in Europe.

And cake stalls at school polling booths make me cheerful. Though my one sold out before I got there this time.

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