Flat White

The 'leave me alone' coalition

1 June 2022

3:00 PM

1 June 2022

3:00 PM

I have never really liked the whole left-right political construct. A framework of who sat to the left or the right of the King of France during the French revolution seems meaningless in our current political climate. An issue at the time was whether the King should or should not have an absolute veto over the will of the people (through their parliament). How this translates to modern politics, I don’t know.

Its application nowadays is nothing more than a big stick to whack the ‘other’. To suggest that Labor/Green are left and the Nationals/Liberals are right is laughable and meaningless. The policy framework within the current Liberals/Nations almost perfectly intersects with the policy framework within the Greens/Teals/Labor.

If we must have a linear construct, a more relevant and contemporary construct should be between:

  • Those who believe government exists to solve everyone’s problems (real or perceived or misdiagnosed).
  • Those who believe that government exists to create the conditions for people to solve their own problems. 

I’ll call the former grouping the Big Government Industrial Complex (BGIC) and it perfectly represents the major Australian political parties. They don’t disagree on the need for government to intervene in every nook and cranny of Australian life. They only disagree on how.

I’ll call the later grouping the Leave Me Alone Coalition (LMAC). These are the people, myself included, who want to just be left alone. I don’t want much. I just want less government, fewer taxes, less regulation, and less interference in my life. My political slogan is, ‘Leave me the hell alone and get out of my life and wallet!’

Creating the conditions for prosperity is not about eliminating government. It is about right-sizing government and getting them out of our lives. It means functioning courts and national security, but it does not mean a national curriculum, national broadcasters, or national broadband networks. Or national anything (other than security) for that matter.

John Roskam, outgoing ED of the IPA has a really good opinion piece in the AFR. He notes:

If its behaviour in the three days since it lost the 2022 federal election is anything to go by, the Liberal Party is going to spend the next few years asking itself entirely the wrong the questions.

Yes. Oh yes. Roskam continues:

Normally, presidential-style campaigns are built around leaders who are popular. The Liberals built their campaign around Scott Morrison. His appeal, such as it was, appeared to be along the lines of “I know you don’t like me – but I’m not as bad as the other bloke”.

Not as bad as the other bloke. The hole was not in Labor’s costings. It was in the Liberal’s strategy. Actually in the heads of the Liberals’ strategists.

Roskam for the last time:

Morrison as Prime Minister was in many ways a symptom, not the cause, of what ails the modern-day Liberal Party. A leader of no fixed beliefs for whom everything was merely a problem to be fixed perfectly reflected the attitude of a party unsure of its principles.

Roskam is absolutely correct on this, but gets his timing wrong (in my opinion).

There used to be a political party that represented the Leave Me Alone Coalition. It was the Liberal Party. It represented the Menzian forgotten people, the Leave Me Alone Coalition of the day. Leave us alone to fix our problems. 

This party was killed by John Howard at the turn of the millennium in his quest for political immortality. The party of Abbott, Turnbull, and Morrison represented the Big Government Industrial Complex. No ifs, no buts, just coconuts. Or desiccated coconut, in this case. 

And for the defenders of Prime Minister Abbott, please explain the new taxes he legislated for and his ludicrous maternity leave proposal… And of course Knights and Dames.

Unless there is a party that represents the Leave Me Alone Coalition and unless there is genuine debate between these two cohorts (BGIC and LMAC), then this country is on the road to Argentina.

And if Peter Dutton is the answer, yet again the Liberals are asking the wrong questions. Just waiting also for the calls to recruit Peta Credlin.

Stephen Spartacus regularly writes at Sparty’s Cast. First published here.

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