In Australia we are in the midst of horrendous early bush fires, driven by drought and high temperatures…. They may be the most widespread we have had. It is estimated by the Rural Fire Services that 300 homes may have been lost There is political dispute as well: should we talk about climate change at this moment?
We have a classic example of the “both sides are equally bad” meme, being used to excuse and support the political Righteous in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning. To give more context the SMH is frequently denounced by the Murdoch Empire and the Right wing Coalition government as rabidly leftist.
The papers’ chief political correspondent, David Crowe, wrote that: “A crisis is supposed to bring out the best in Australians. For too many of our politicians, it only brings out the worst…. [the fires] should jolt politicians out of their tired games about who is to blame for the emergency.”
He mentions Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack ranting about “inner-city raving lunatics” who talk about climate change, but mentions “McCormack’s defenders say he was provoked by the Greens” – so its not really Mr McCormack’s fault.
He glibs over Barnaby Joyce saying two people died because they were Greens, and excuses him because later in the day he was tired from fighting a fire at his parent’s farm.
He then castigates Jordon Steele-John, a Green, for saying “You [the Coalition] are no better than a bunch of arsonists – borderline arsonists, and you should be ashamed…. Your selfishness and your ignorance have known no bounds for decades, and now our communities are paying the price.” (Crowe only uses parts of this statement, so the above came from another article and, according to some people, Steele-John was speaking in a parliamentary debate in which public money was being offered for new Coal power stations. I have not yet been able to check this as there is so much indignation about this statement.)
Crowe strangely does not remark that Greens and others have been frustrated by years of inaction and insult, only to see their predictions coming true, and still the government refuses to do more or less anything but insult people, stir up anger and then call for calm…
Crowe is then lined up to say that the PM Scott Morrison “rightly argued for a collective calm in the political rhetoric, while NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian adopted a no-nonsense approach to questions about the fires and climate change.” Ms Berejiklian was not quite that no-nonsense if you read her comments – she too did not want to talk about climate change, or what to do about it, either and suggested it was appropriate to shut up and help people, as if helping and discussing were impossible at the same time.
So, according to the “both sides are equally bad” meme, Right and Left are equally bad but the Right is much better…. Nice move.
Crowe keeps up the pressure on Steele-John writing…. “Using the fires to call for an end to coal mining is as cynical as any of the politics from the major parties. And anyone who accepts the science on climate change should also accept the science that says shutting down the Australian coal industry on its own would make no substantial change to future bushfire risk.”
Of course it must be “cynical” to propose that something should be done when the right still proposes nothing except penalising protests against companies who promote climate change.
However, it is true that due to the delays of the political righteous in Australia and the US stopping burning coal will no longer make things better.
However anyone who accepts the science should know that not stopping coal will make things much, much worse in the long run.
Strange that the idea must be crushed by this even handed approach……