all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

16 July, 2011

She Worked Hard to Get Elected

A commenter, Mark W. of Queensland, on Andrew Bolt’s column, “Crap Applause”, wrote:
I spoke to our local federal MP [...] she said to me, off the record that the carbon tax is the craziest idea her government has ever come up with, she added, I don’t why they are going ahead with it, I can’t understand their logic. Then she said, there are many who are quietly objecting to it however there was not a lot she could do. I will not mention her name publicly as that would be terrible for her as she is a good person, and she worked hard to get elected [...].
No, she is not “a good person”.  Any elected representative who publicly supports an irrational policy though privately considering it crazy (whether from motives of party-solidarity or tribalism or for any other reason) or who publicly condones incompetent government whilst privately condemning it or who “worked hard to get elected” but, once elected, fails to represent electors is not a good person.
[T]here was not a lot she could do[.]
On the contrary, she could, for a start, say publicly what she thinks.

In Queensland (supposing Mark W. was speaking of a local MP in Queensland) only two of the Labor MHRs are female: Mrs Yvette D’Ath (representing Petrie) and Ms Kirsten Livermore (of Capricornia).  I have written to both these representatives, and I shall report any response I receive.

UPDATE I (17 July):  See (if you were not already directed hither thence) Andrew Bolt’s “How much longer before Labor MPs save us from this mad tax?”.

UPDATE II (17 July):  Some, at Andrew Bolt’s blog, question whether I should advocate that politicians on all sides of politics be honest.  Of course, I do.  Would that mean that I’d support Malcolm Turnbull’s crossing the floor of Parliament on a matter of principle?  Of course, it would.  If Malcolm Turnbull were an honest, upright man, however, I suspect that he too would oppose a tax on carbon dioxide.
The motto of Beaconsfield Primary School (or, when I attended, Beaconsfield Area School) was esse quam videri—“to be rather than to seem”—which might be derived from either Cicero’s “virtute enim ipsa non tam multi praediti esse quam videri volunt”* or Sallust’s description of Cato the Younger, “esse quam videri bonus malebat” or, perhaps, both.  For a ruler’s necessity to put appearance above reality, Niccolò Machiavelli reverses this phrase, in The Prince, to videri quam esse:  a prince must seem but not be a man of principle.
When I suggested above that a Member of Parliament (who privately maligns the stupid ‘carbon’ tax though publicly praising it) was not a good person, I did not say that she therefore had to act rightly.  I wish she would, but I should not expect her to act with any more principle than our pragmatically mendacious PM does.  I wrote that she could easily say what she thinks, but that does not mean that I expect her to do so or that I am unaware of the reprisals a renegade parliamentarian may suffer.

*  “Few are those who are as gifted with virtue as they wish to seem.”  De Amicitia, 98.
†  “He preferred to be rather than to seem good.”  Bellum Catilinae, 54.6.


sdog said...

Good catch, and good point made.

One of the most frustrating differences between American and Australian politics is the way Australian pollies represent their parties and not the citizens in their electorates.

Politicians here seem much more worried about displeasing their party's backroom boys than about displeasing their electors - and the apathetic Aussie electors just accept this as "the way it works."

American politicians "cross the floor" all the time - to the extent that I had never even heard that phrase for it (always intoned in hushed, grave tones) in America. Citizens don't elect someone to represent a block of unelected largely faceless backroom boys, but to represent /them/.

Just one example of typical Australian thinking, that shows how so many just don't "get" the concept of representative democracy, comes from a unionist and Labor apparatchik on page two of Bolt's piece (I don't bother to comment there anymore - I seem to have been black-balled by one of his moderators):

"the party you represent is the party whose policies you put forward".

So. There ya go. The person whom you elected to allegedly speak for you in Parliament has no intention of doing any such thing, never did, and indeed the Left see it as somewhat presumptuous that you as a citizen might actually think they should. It's the unelected and unaccountable "party room boys" who tell them how to vote, even if they have to over-rule the citizens the rep was allegedly elected to represent, and that's that.

Witness the number of Congress-critters - Democrat and Republican alike - who have been unceremoniously chucked out of their seats in recent US elections for an example of fed-up citizens taking back their power. Sadly, I can't see that ever happening in Australia.

sdog said...

For another example of someone who (perhaps wilfully?) ignores what "representative democracy" means, see Tim Blair's post on Rob Oakeshott here.

“I don’t want to fall on my own sword, but I don’t want to betray my electorate by going against my best judgment, and I won’t.” ...