On the rare occasion I stoop to listening to the vox populi a regular refrain can be heard time and again: “I’m not a Liberal, but I don’t like that Shorten”.
Now aside from the average Australian’s inability to grasp the fundamentals of representative democracy, I have to ask - what’s your problem with Bill Shorten?
Because whenever I hear it, I do ask that question. “I don’t like Bill Shorten” they’ll say and I’ll respond with “why?”.
A single word and a potent question. And you know what? I’ve not once received a coherent answer.
When the Shorten haters are asked for a reason why they have their opinion on Bill, they can’t seem to summon a cogent answer. What happens is a flabbergasted and half-baked confabulation of vagueries as they discover the extent of their cognitive dissonance and realise, deep down, that the only thing they’ve got against Shorten is that the mainstream media has told them not to like him.
And the reason the MSM are telling people not to like Shorten is because he is the leader of the party whose progressive policies are anathema to them and their corporate affiliates.
Shorten is everything the abbreviations hate. The MSM, LNP, IPA and the others hate anyone involved in the union movement. Anyone who might believe in equity, in “a fair go”, in a society that values humanity and doesn’t believe that the path to success is how many skulls you can climb on.
These values are repellent to the Tories and as a former secretary of the Australian Workers Union, so is Bill Shorten. And so the character assassination begins and the rubes and hayseeds dip their heads into the trough.
I’m not putting Shorten on a pedestal. We disagree on a number of issues. He’s a long way off the lofty heights of the Labor leaders of legend. He doesn’t have the imperial presence of Whitlam, the prophetic genius of Keating, the charisma of Hawke, the oration of Chifley, the political acumen of Gillard. He isn’t one of the “greats”.
But he isn’t deficient either. He is an extremely capable leader of the ALP and a good politician. He steadied the ship in a time of crisis and piloted the party out of rough waters.
He is accused of lacking personality, but his job isn’t personality. His job is stability and leadership, which he has demonstrated in spades.
Look at what the cult of personality has wrought in the United States and tell me if an outrageous personality is such a good quality in a leader. The ALP has personalities - Albanese, Wong, Cameron, Burke et al and their job is to snipe from the benches while Shorten’s job is to provide a fixed point of reference. He does this well.
If anything Shorten suffers from a hesitation to be himself. When he is giving prepared statements, reading off a page or an auto-cue, he looks stilted and stiff. A wickerman afraid to embrace his spirit for fear of it being spun the wrong way by the media.
But when Bill performs from the heart, as anyone who has seen him at a town hall meeting will attest, he is more passionate and charismatic than most of the politicians in the country. He is a man who believes in the Light On The Hill and will fight for all he’s worth to see it shine again.
That’s why I’ll vote for Shorten. And that’s why I’ll argue with anyone who says they won’t. Because they don’t have a reason beyond what Rupert Murdoch has spoon-fed them, and Keith Rupert Murdoch Jnr has never had a soft spot for progressive policies and embracing a future he knows his empire has no place in.
Do I think Bill Shorten is the best man for the job? No. Because the best man for the job isn’t a man at all. But considering how hard the backwards fucking rubes in this country are fighting to keep an arbitrary date in January, I think it’s going to be a while before we see a gay woman take the position she rightly deserves.
Until such time Bill Shorten is doing bloody good job, all things considered.
If you actually compare the supposedly “unelectable” Bill Shorten to the three abominations he’s sat opposite in his time as leader of the ALP then he looks absolutely angelic. “Oh I hate that Shorten”. Really? But you do like the bellicose moron? The spineless kleptocrat? The worst case of white-sneakered-religious-insanity-since-Jonestown? And somehow Bill Shorten is the one with a problem?
If you do have a problem with him then maybe you owe it to yourself - and your country - to have a moment of introspection and look at just what that problem is. Because you may find that it actually isn’t there.
For a little digestion here at the end, while the Beaconsfield miners were trapped halfway to hell, the worst Prime Minister in living memory sent a note saying “Everybody is with you, mate”. Where was Bill Shorten?