Friday, 13 June 2008

Queensland Politics: the Watermelon or the Pineapple?

Followers of politcs in the "Red North" (as Queensland was once known, usefully) will be aware of the impending Anschluss (sorry, "merger") of what's left of the Queensland National Party and the Liberal Party in that state. It's not really news, having been on the table (in the fruitbowl) for years.

Apparently driven by the desperation of realising that the right-wing union mafia (sorry, "Qld ALP") could rule the state for another century, if not longer, these clever folks are now on the verge of deciding whether to get together and form something with the imaginative name of the "Liberal National Party". Some sharper wits are calling it "the Pineapple Party".

However, all is not well in tropical paradise, as has been pointed out at Larvatus Prodeo and elsewhere. Queensland National (and supposedly "maverick") Senator Barnaby Joyce told us why only recently. He's more positive on the project for a People's Pineapple Party (or whatever such a beast might be known as) than some are. As Joyce points out, though, the two parties are odd bed-fellows:

"The National Party is a party based on agrarian, socialist principles, as can be seen in the single desk for the orderly sale of wheat, drought aid and regional development.

The Liberals believe in the free market and it is probably in their economics where they are truly liberal. They believe in pure market principles and that the consequences of what happens next are, in the long term, the best outcome.

The Nationals believe greed is a higher order driver than market principles and market power ultimately destroys market theory. The Liberals believe the market will look after you; the Nationals believe, unguided, it will walk over you."

That's right folks. Forget the Greens - the biggest socialist party in Australia outside the ALP is the National Party! (I always knew they were secretly state socialists).

And all those cane-farmers accusing the Greens of being watermelons (democratic Green on the outside, Moscow-red on the inside) have never seriously been worried about a Bob Brown-led communist revolution (Queensland is, after all, the only state to have elected a Communist Party member to State Parliament).

No, in actual fact, they know that the Greenies are inner-city latte-sipping wannabe-Maoist types, who wouldn't know how to administer socialism or manage the environment if their life depended on it. Certainly not like Uncle Joh did, anyway...

Of course, Queensland Socialism suffered a harsh blow with the fall of the Soviet Union and Uncle Joh, and the rise of the social democratic ALP. Many Nationals lost their way, caught in the false, revisionist, hope of John Howard's "battler politics". But now Howard has gone, and the crisis has worsened (farmers in the bush are starting to vote Green for Chrissakes!!! Must be all that rhetoric about saving the Murray).

The final liquidation may have begun.

Of course, faced with such a betrayal of principle by the leadership there is also the danger that disaffected Nationals, outraged by their leaders selling them up the river to the Free Marketeers of the Liberal Party, might jump ship and form "a
new One Nation-style force".

Perhaps out past Roma, on Finland Station, north of the Brisbane Line, the Henry Lawson is back on the shelves, the Kingaroy peanuts are being sharpened, the pumpkin scones are being stacked, and the rifles are being oiled for the last battle. Perhaps.

But down on the pineapple plantation, it looks like all stations go. The merger is apparently being driven by the Nats,
particularly party leader Lawrence Springborg and some of those shady figures from the "Joh for PM" campaign from all those years ago.

In the meantime then, we must wait to see if the new party becomes a Red Pineapple (that's: Ananas b.), or some kind of insipid, suburban bromeliad, gone feral. Watermelon Greens, look out!

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