There’s one particular pithy quatrain amongst the ruba’i of that old tent-maker come boozer (surprising how many of his pieces are about drinking) Omar Khayyam that has a particular curious bent to it..:
“And much as Wine has play’d the Infidel,
And robb’d me of my Robe of Honour-well,
I often wonder what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the Goods they sell.”
Yes..considering the sometimes tiresome and burdensome vicissitudes of life, the ability to turn water into wine would have to be almost equal to being the possessor of the Holy Grail.. perhaps better! So what does the vintner buy?..or perhaps the question here ..this being a political blog ought to be :
“What is it the politician buys one half so precious as the goods they sell?”
For Democracy IS a market-place, much like any “flea-market” that one sees in the suburbs..where one goes to flog their wares…the most “cash-strapped” (read ; policy) pauper, much like the “one-policy” spruikers hoping for a quick sell of their humble offerings against the seasoned “cashed-up” professional “stall-holder” , who knows a good bargain when he sees it and is quick to do the rounds of the amateur tables early and will snap up any bargains for a song to later place amongst his own wares (read ; policies)…with a percentage mark-up , of course!
So taking the rise of the wealthy wannabes now entering the market-place, alongside the professional and the seasoned thespian political players, we have to seek to inquire what it is they have to offer against what they hope to gain from their pitch.
Let’s cut straight to Donald Trump, for HE is the current driving force behind the legitimising of “bling-politics”, the “enfant terrible’ ” both in the USA and here in Oz. What does a billionaire want or need from politics that he cannot / does not already have?.. The same could be asked of Malcolm Turnbull..Pauline Hanson..Derryn Hinch , Clive Palmer…perhaps even extending the analogy right down to us here on this blog..: What do we gain and what do we sell?
Ans: Public respect..we all seek to gain it..it is a force equal to the riches of King Croesus , and as empowering as the fantastical wand of “Gandalf The White”..whether we get it or not is another matter..a delicate juggle between inclusion , fantasy and reward…for instance, many come to various blogs with their stories, cameos and articles on offer..yet, we must frequently ask ourselves, considering the response one sometimes gets from the effort..: why bother, when a mere bagatelle of cut and paste sweets on Twitter would suffice?..and so we ask also; what does Trump NOT HAVE , either before or yet to achieve?..The one thing he hungers for so much that he makes of himself (as do many of us) a fool and jester to obtain it?..; respect. Having discovered that neither wealth nor bling (in all its forms, including the “trophy wife”) can raise him above his seedy peers in the market place, he now comes to flog grand policies of ; inclusion (to the “right” people) , fantasy ( to the most “righteous” people) and reward..TO EVERYBODY!!..and in doing so has now captured, through association, that most respected appointment of public office, that most powerful of military leadership and that most respected national respectability of President of the United States of America…..God bless and good luck to his most deviant and depraved soul.
The reasoned and logical amongst us do realise that he cannot possibly satisfy them all. But then he is as astute as the Barrow-boy in an East-end market, flogging two-bob boxes of chocolates in a fake “auction” to pull in the suckers..an unfailing success-story in politics as in the East-end street stalls…and like the wisdom distributed by the “Jim” in my character study, who early in his life observed that most people are drawn to “the bling before the blade” ( https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/jim-a-character-study/ ), to flattery rather than sensible critique, the language of the “populist politician” will rebound from the echo-chambers of the main-stream media with all the enticing seductiveness of the Sirens on the rocks, yet as consuming as the whirlpools of Charybdis.. and the predictable result could be as tragic as any and every relationship built upon deceit and denial.
We can transpose all the above , though perhaps in a lesser, meaner scale, to the ambitions of Malcolm Turnbull and certainly to those lesser “mortals” ; Hanson , Palmer and Hinch…Nick Xenethon, we have to say, plays a flirtatious part in the affairs of state, wanting a star role, yet having that natural Greek suspicion of the danger of high office, he seeks the fame , but abhors the scrutiny of being too closely examined for flaws..; a regular Iago!
This is the fatal flaw of democracy, in that it can never rise above the grubby auction floor of bargain-basement selling. Not at least while that class of merchants are in control of the “market place”, for their sole understanding of governance is through the cynical interpretations of human desires..the “every man has his price” philosophy..and they will ALWAYS direct their politics toward a “free-market” buying and selling of the social condition of humanity..the : “You want it?..You pay for it!” user pays hustle, the eternal “barrow-boy” auction of public policy. The merchant class cannot, will not abide by any socially inclusive society, where equal rights, respect and life-reward is considered more a dedicated goal than a “fight-to-the-death-for” privilege.
On the other hand we now have a half-educated working-class who have become dangerous in that they are savvy enough in their business knowledge to know they can aspire to a strata of class their parents (so many in their housing commission houses) could never obtain, and in most cases did not want to, yet are without the nous of that subtle “private school” coaching to realise that individually they will never be accepted into that class as being too crass or crude, the Sylvania Waters Set, the Kath and Kym “effluents” of their own private fantasy.. middle-class tradies..do you mind!!..and now collectively too blind to see that more than ever, they need the collective power of the trade unions to give them political clout.
But let us finish as we commenced, not in the spiteful psyche inherent of that certain middle-class, but rather with more sage words of the canvas-cloaked bard..
“ Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and–sans I !”
(Ps. : I changed the last word there from “end” to “I”, as I felt it “fitted” better..you will forgive me..won’t you?..I’m certain Omar would ).