Brawl on the Left

15 September 2013
Pretty much the only good thing to come out of the election of the Coalition government last week was the lovely sense of solidarity it engendered amongst those of us who agreed what a dire thing the rise of Tony Abbott's brand of hypocritical conservatism is for the nation. We traded memes, and gratefully received the sympathy of the outside world, and knew that we may have lost the battle, but the war was still to come. We will unite and fight! We will hold Abbott's government to account, and ensure they're gone in three years time! We will do this together!

The solidarity couldn't last. It didn't. Within the week, the Left in Australia was back to its usual infighting, nitipicking, and generally tearing itself to pieces in a subconscious deathwish to apparently see a fit, determined Tony Abbott as Prime Minister for the next 25 years. 

The latest brawl in the family began when the redoubtable Ms Helen Razer published this piece on Sophie Mirabella in The Guardian, stating that the vile Mrs Mirabella does not deserve the hatred she receives, not because she is not vile, but because she is a political middleweight of no consequence. The lazy left, pontificated Ms Razer, would be better placed expending their energies on larger targets.

The backlash predictably set the internet on fire, and Ms Razer announced she was retreating to the corner to lick her wounds, utterly unable to understand what had happened here. "Why are people so angry I'm defending Sophie Mirabella? That's not what I said at all". No it isn't what you said, and no it is not why people are upset. People are upset, I would wager, about being referred to as the lazy left, idiots, stupid. And I wonder where the hell this leftier-than-thou, more pure of progressive spirit fighting is getting us.

Say what I will about the right, they always have each others' backs. No matter what pulpy, logic-defying excremental nonsense a conservative comes out with, other conservatives will be lining up to defend them. (The latest? Conservatives insisting that when Tony Abbott says the work of government started "immediately", he didn't actually mean immediately, and it's completely understandable he hasn't been seen all week). Not us on the left. We're tolerant of dissent and appreciate there are a range of opinions on the spectrum of humanity. Unlike the right, we recognise there can be many aspects to an issue, which may conflict. But I'm sorry, fighting amongst ourselves does not make us look nuanced, tolerant of dissent, valuing the freedom to express a diversity of opinion. It just makes us look like a disorganised shower of muppets who can't even get their own house in order let alone run the nation. I appreciate the irony of telling lefties not to fight whilst berating them for doing so, but seriously, we need to get our shit together. We need to stop fighting Twitter wars on intersectionality and nuances in op-ed articles; unite and fight may be a trite cliché, but it's what we need to do. 


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