Grieving Snowflakes

A great article on the Australian election in Spiked. I wonder how long it will take the grieving snowflakes to start blaming Putin. Because accepting that there might be anything wrong with your ideas is, of course, impossible.

The way the article describes the Australian snowflakes, they seem pretty mild compared to ours.


3 thoughts on “Grieving Snowflakes”

  1. Greetings from Queensland, the state now widely identified as to blame for Australia’s election surprise. I posted my voting intentions on this very blog two weeks ago, and as it turned out, that was exactly the problem for Labor in Queensland: people voting for populist, conservative, nationalist third parties, and placing Labor low in their list of preferences. These third parties only got about 10% of the vote, but because we have preferential voting, we nominate second and third choice and so on, and the preferences of people who vote for losing candidates get added to the primary votes of parties still in the running. And the preferences of those 10%ers were heavily against Labor.

    I actually didn’t vote exactly that way myself. On the morning of the election, I spoke to a first-time voter who said they were going to vote Green and then Labor, and that brought me out of my bubble of populist revolt. I thought, OK, I have to believe the polls and accept that Labor will get in; I started getting ready for that prospect, and in my actual vote the third parties I favored were much more of a mix, and not just hard right. However, as it turned out, plenty of people did vote that way, and it was Labor and the Greens who were disappointed.

    I could go on about all the nuances of the result – for example, that in the last decade Australian politics has achieved Italian levels of instability, and so despite the rhetoric of despair or triumph, this political configuration could still melt away faster than anyone expects – but I will spare you such details. However, I thought I would venture a judgment on whether our local “snowflakes” really are mild compared to the American version. I think it’s true overall. America is bigger and more extreme and there are many factors in the American situation not present in Australia. Our mini-version of the border crisis – boat people coming from the north – was ended in a bipartisan way years ago. There’s no prospect of blaming what happened on foreign powers meddling in the election; the closest thing is a wave of advertising on Youtube by Clive Palmer, our rogue populist billionaire whose party didn’t win a single seat, but who definitely contributed to that 10% vote.

    We don’t have anything comparable to the American tradition of liberal social engineering, or the extreme capitalism of America, or for that matter the American religious right. We don’t have America’s black underclass or its Jewish liberal overlords, who each make distinctive contributions to the American political dialectic. So we have a lot of American phenomena in miniature or in embryo, but I suspect they will never grow to the extremes of the Obama-Trump era in America, and that our near future will instead be shaped by facts specific to Australia, like our proximity to Asia.


    1. Oh, thank you so much for writing in! I’ve been really eager to hear from an actual Australian person about the election. And somebody from Queensland, too!

      I’m very glad that Australia is spared the US extremes. I’d really like the US to be spared them but it isn’t going in that direction.

      How do you feel now that the election results are in? How is the losing side taking it? Will Labor change in a meaningful way in response to the electoral disappointment?

      Once again, thank you for the comment!


      1. It’s an evolving situation. Many or even most people will happily go back to their own apolitical lives. The activist right will try to press their advantage, and purge their own ranks of centrists, since they don’t quite trust the national leadership not to compromise on the issues. On the left, there is an echo of blaming Putin and the deplorables, in blaming Rupert Murdoch / Clive Palmer / national selfishness / etc, but there’s nothing like #Resistance and an attempt to annul the election outcome, instead there’s a kind of sad reflection.

        In the short term, any militance will revolve around climate change. In Queensland, the state government is Labor (just as Americans seem to like giving White House and Congress to opposite parties, in Australia the federal government and the state governments often go in opposite directions), and for years the “Adani” coal mine, to be run by an Indian multinational, has been controversial. During the election, federal Labor avoided taking a position as much as possible, but the Greens were dead against the mine, and organized a protest convoy to Queensland, which was met with a very hostile reception. So now the Queensland state government appears to have come off the fence and is expediting the project; but at the same time, the Greta Thunberg types are mobilizing for direct action.

        I still think the world situation is going to change around us all. With the Mueller report out of the way, Trump’s team are now pressing the attack against China, Iran, and ultimately, the possibility of a Eurasian bloc to rival NATO and the G-7. Depending on how intense the conflict gets, I think this has the potential to bury the culture wars of the 2010s entirely. But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself… For a more grounded analysis of the Australian political scene, you could try, whose theme is the brittleness of the old mainstream parties as they lose their social base. It’s a kind of analysis you might appreciate.


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