Polarisation

Paul Kelly would have us believe there is a clique of tertiary-educated, Green-loving “insiders” who are somehow running the show against the wishes of the mainstream, talkback-listening “outsider” majority. (“An irreconcilable difference”, The Australian, 5/3).

This is a favored groupthink among the “insiders” at The Australian, but it makes no sense: unless Kelly is alleging ballot-box stuffing, it is hard to see how the outsiders/majority (wait, which is it?) could fail to get the government they wanted.

And inconveniently for Kelly, tertiary education does not correlate with Left leanings. There is no demographic evidence of a “cultural divide”.

Kelly wildly exaggerates regional political differences. While it is true that most National Party support is in rural Australia, support for Labor, Liberal, and the Greens is relatively evenly spread throughout the country.

Compared to almost any other country, Australia does not resemble Kelly’s “polarised nation” cartoon, having gentle and narrow gradations of just about any social or political dimension you care to name.

These imaginary “insiders” and “outsiders” seem to be little more than a rebranding of the non-existent “elites” and fortune-cookie “battlers” of Howard’s phoney culture-war.

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