Alex Mitchell’s Weekly Notebook

“Panama” Malcolm Turnbull flounders in first week of federal election campaign … Tony Abbott’s political ambitions on heat again … More howlers from George Christiansen, the most obnoxious MP in Canberra … Rupert Murdoch’s Terrorgraph backs “our Albo”… Why UK socialists should vote to remain in EU on June 23

Turnbull’s muddled start

Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers gave Week One of the six-week federal election campaign to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The voting public thought otherwise.
They saw “Panama Malcolm” hitting a brick wall while Opposition leader Bill Shorten gained ground with his focus on increasing the budget on education.
However, in elections, as in life generally, there is a Murdoch-contrived reality and a real reality. Where the Murdoch’s hirelings saw a surge of support for the Coalition, working people watched a rich banker preening himself and ordering Mossack Fonseca mojitos while giving hand-outs to his super-rich cronies.
It is painful to watch Turnbull, a silver-spooned patrician, attempting to present himself to voters as a pleb.
He is caught in a crossfire of double jeopardy: he is trying to win an election he shouldn’t lose and hold on to the party leadership which hard right Liberals and Nationals don’t believe he deserves.
Thus far, Shorten is a pageboy standing on the sidelines of this classic Shakespearean tragedy which is replete with backstabbing, cloak and dagger duplicity and intrigue. I can’t wait for the final Act!

Abbott’s ambitions on heat

Meanwhile, I apologise in advance for being obsessed with the demented ambitions of Tony Abbott, the deposed Liberal prime minister, but his election antics have started.
In his first election trip outside Sydney Abbott chose to travel to Mackay in North Queensland to help out his “very good mate”, George Christensen, LNP member for Dawson.
Let me introduce you to Christensen, a former journalist. In the 1990s Christensen edited a right-wing university student newsletter called The Student Advocate which cast ugly slurs on women, gays and Jews.
Abbott defended him saying: “He’s a good bloke and I stand by him.”
In February 2013 Christensen was the only federal MP (representing Abbott?) to attend a secret rally by visiting racist Dutch MP Geert Wilders, a rabid anti-Islam campaigner.
Christensen has called for the restoration of the death penalty, the reintroduction of corporal punishment, i.e. public whippings, into the criminal code, described climate change as science fiction and told opponents of Abbott/Hockey’s first budget in 2014 to go and live in Asia.
After the December 2014 Lindt Café siege in Martin Place Christensen took to Twitter to attack the “Ride With You” campaign launched in solidarity with Moslem women travelling on public transport.
“As I suspected, the Ride With You campaign is proudly brought to us by another hating whitey, lefty activist,” he wrote.
He joined the xenophobic campaign against Halal certification calling it a “religious tax” which might finance Moslem terrorist groups. It doesn’t.
When environmentalists opposed the Abbot Point coal terminal which threatens the life of the Great Barrier Reef he called them “terrorists” and told parliament that “the greatest terrorism threat in North Queensland, I’m sad to say, comes from the extreme green movement.”
In Christensen’s crazed vision Sir David Attenborough is the new Osama bin Laden!
In July last year Christensen spoke at a Reclaim Australia rally in Mackay, thereby lending respectability to the professionally funded racist and anti-Islam movement.
In the dying days of the last parliament, Christensen led an Abbott-inspired campaign against the Federal Government’s Safe Schools Programme aimed at curbing bullying of gay students in the classroom and playground.
Christensen outrageously claimed that the Christopher Pyne-supported programme was being used to groom sexual predators. It was payback time: Pyne was being punished for supporting Turnbull in September’s leadership putsch.
In Thursday’s visit to Mackay, Christensen said refugees from war-torn Syria were not welcome in his electorate.
On July 2 the good people of Dawson should do the right thing and tip this loudmouth lout onto the mudflats off Sarina and find another MP.

Murdoch’s pin-up boy: Albo

Jim Casey, Greens candidate for the inner-Sydney seat of Grayndler, has received a boost from an unexpected quarter – Rupert Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph.
In a blaring front-page, The Terrorgraph has endorsed sitting Labor MP Anthony Albanese, leader of the political charlatanry known in the ALP as the “hard left”.
The front-page “SAVE OUR ALBO” article by Andrew Clennell was accompanied by TWO PAGES inside the paper plus a two-column editorial supporting Albanese: “Greens win would be a loss for us all.” (11 May 2016).
How “left” is Albanese when he receives such enthusiastic backing from one of Murdoch’s most wretched rags?
The Murdoch press’s hatred of Jim Casey, state secretary of the Fire Brigades Employees’ Union, stems from his anti-capitalist views. When he said, “Overthrow of capitalism – you don’t hear this often enough”, The Terrorgraph branded him as “the loony greenie taking on our Albo”.
If the Greens are smart they will run off thousands of copies of the front page and slap them up all over Grayndler: Balmain, Rozelle, Birchgrove, Annandale, St Peters, Enmore, Stanmore and Summer Hill.
And if voters are even smarter they will kick out the posturing dunce Albanese and elect Casey who has political principles and is willing to fight for them.

For a Socialist United States of Europe

On June 23 an estimated 50 million people in Britain and Gibraltar will be eligible to vote in a referendum to decide whether the UK stays within the 28-nation European Union (EU).
The simple question on the ballot paper – “Should the UK remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” – requires a “Yes” or “No” vote.
The turnout in Britain’s non-compulsory voting system may be as high as 70% although some forecast it will be as low as 50%.
All political organisations in the UK have taken sides and so have the mainstream media, the trade unions, the City of London, manufacturers, religious and social groups, the BBC and professional bodies.
The option of a voter boycott is a cop-out. For socialists, abstentionism in the class struggle is not an option, and the referendum is a class struggle issue. Political responsibility cannot be evaded by appealing to neutrality, piety and purity, or soliciting cynicism, scepticism and inertia.
The objective of socialists in calling for a “Yes” vote is to advance the strategic interests of the working class and its allies in the professional classes by building the mass movement against monopoly capitalism and its relentless attack on basic rights and the environment.
A “Yes” vote will deepen the unity of the British and European working class by declaring its own distinctive pre-condition:
“No” to the monopolists’ and NATO-driven EU – “Yes” to the Socialist United States of Europe!
Such a slogan would give socialists the opportunity to campaign among workers from manual and professional occupations on the necessity to build a socialist Europe that is free of NATO warmongering, IMF austerity programmes and nuclear weapons.
It would create a bulwark in defending the rights of refugees fleeing war, genocide and persecution in the Middle East.
British workers and their European allies yearn for a united Europe where the priorities are peace, economic prosperity, free education and health care, European-wide cultural partnership on films, music, opera, art and publishing and cheap, clean and sustainable energy policies.
A “Yes” vote articulating a socialist platform would expose the Tory, Liberal Democrat and New Labour camps whose pro-Europeanism is dedicated to strengthening NATO, the Brussels bureaucracy, the European Bank and the IMF and crushing the independent workers’ movement.
It is a bold argument for internationalism as opposed to the blinkered nationalism and fake exceptionalism peddled by the capitalist propaganda.
Be warned – a referendum victory by Britain’s “No” crowd would advance the racist agenda of UKIP, the hard right of the Tory Party, neo-fascists, Islamophobes, Little Englanders and the media barons. They would claim legitimacy for their putrid views and tip Britain’s post-imperial politics further to the right.
There is no economic, social or cultural future for a stand-alone British state. Shorn of empire, the UK ruling class can no longer rely on the so-called “special relationship” with the US; it was explicitly repudiated by US President Barack Obama during last month’s visit when he urged the British capitalist class to stay in Europe because the US door had shut.
Nor can it reconnect with the Commonwealth, the former British Empire, which is itself struggling with deepening economic crises. The days when British colonialists could plunder the empire’s raw materials and cheap labour ended decades ago.
Building a socialist Britain, freed from the bloodsuckers of the City of London and a trillion pound military budget which subverts nation-building, is the only way that the working people of the British Isles can build a 21st century future.
Vote “Yes” to sharpen the class struggle against the capitalist class and its bankers’ vision of a Supra-Europe! Vote “Yes” for a Socialist United States of Europe!