Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Does the UK export chaos?

29 August 2018


The new Australian Prime Minister is the 5th PM in 5 years, and the 7th PM in 11 years (list). One politician publicly stated: “This revolving door of prime ministers has got to stop”. A recent FT article stated: ‘Brutal’ Australian politics behind demise of PM Turnbull”, and it referred to “instability fuelled by hyper-partisan culture, ideological spats and structural weakness”.

My mother (83) often mentions that the UK shipped its convicted felons to its former colonies: some 162,000 to Australia (1788-1868) and some 52,000 up to 120,000 to USA (1610s-1776). In her view, this must have influenced the mindset of the inhabitants of Australia and USA. I have some sympathy for these historical arguments.

The FT article mentions a more contemporary argument for the Australian chaos: “Rupert Murdoch’s stable of News Corp Australia titles wield immense power in the country, which some critics blame for destabilising Mr Turnbull and previous Labor governments.”

In May 2018, Joris Luyendijk made a similar comment in the Guardian: “To kill any remaining longings for a return to the UK I then go online once more to browse the billionaire-owned Brexit press. This is my way of reminding myself just how psychopathically vile and mendacious most of the UK press still is.”

The role of the media in the 2016 presidential election is interesting. Even the liberal media gave Donald Trump lots of airtime, without much criticism. Forbes-2016: “Out of all the networks, CNN seemed to give Trump the most air-time and treat his campaign like a reality show”. In 2016, Polito Magazine even featured an article: Did We Create Trump? This 2016 Politico article also states: “Even Obama has blamed the press for giving Trump free and uncritical exposure.”

In a highly bipartisan political climate, the media is bound to make a choice between Conservatives vs Labour (Australia, UK), and/or Democrats vs Republicans (USA). The more relevant parties, the less likelihood of (strong) media bias.

From a historical point of view, this bipartisan structure was more successful than European coalition governments as these were more likely to defeat themselves. This has changed. This change coincides with the end of the Left-Right Divide, and the rise of Nationalism vs Internationalism (a.k.a. Globalism). Also see my 2016 blogGeopolitical Futures-2017Project Syndicate-2017, and Pew Research Center-2018.

The demise of Labour in Continental Europe and the UK is a consequence of not making a choice between Nationalism versus Internationalism. At the Conservative side, some parties opted for Nationalism (UK) and others for Internationalism (Europe). A Conservative choice for Nationalism has, however, often resulted in chaos (eg, Australia, Hungary, Poland, UK, USA).

Do You Feel It? (2014) by Chaos Chaos (formerly Smoosh)

artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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