Sunday, 27 October 2013

Digging a Hole on the Wrong Side of History

 I have been back from my travels abroad for just over a week and I have quickly settled back into my old routine. Work has taken up most of my time and I suppose it is refreshing to find that some things never change. Unfortunately this also relates to my employer and the same sad, dull eyed minions are still stultifying on the processing floor, harried and harassed by the same talentless loons who have been given license to rule over them. Such is life.

 The weather has been kind apart from some cool mornings but the temperatures have been mild for the most part, providing some relief for the brave men and women fighting bushfires to the west of Sydney. There have been some lives lost and a good deal of property destroyed but, as always, it could have been worse.

 I have often wondered, not being an expert of course, if there is a better way to fight the scourge of bushfire and if a professional force equipped with the latest technological advancements and cutting edge training would be anymore successful in saving life and property than our gallant volunteers who of course deserve all the encouragement and admiration which is slung their way.

  Watching volunteer firefighters in action on the box reminds me very much of the famous speech in Shakespeare's Henry V when, attempting to rally his tired, hungry, sickly men to fight the French army at Agincourt despite the overwhelming odds stacked against them, the King of England implores them to remember that in years to come, those left behind in England "shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap, while any speaks that fought with us upon St Crispins day!"

 It is historical fact that King Henry V personally led his depleted army to one of the most famous and gallant victories in military history with the King himself personally distinguishing himself in the battle. I am sure many a man absent that day hanged his head in shame in years to come when in the presence of an Agincourt veteran and felt that he was in the company of a worthy companion. So too do I sometimes feel when witnessing the bravery of volunteer firefighters. God bless them all.

 I noted earlier in the week our newly minted Prime Minister, Mr Abbott, in the frontline with his volunteer fire crew, dressed to the nines in his uniform and carrying his equipment, leading from the front like King Harry at Agincourt. Alas, I could not summon the same feeling of admiration for our illustrious leader as I can for other less notable folk and I wonder if he was actually anywhere near the flames as they ripped through the Blue Mountains or whether he was merely putting on a show for the cameras.

 Unfortunately it came to light around the same time that Mr Abbott's government had trimmed the eligibility criteria for those needing assistance after losing property in bushfires and many of those who suffered such personal loss that week would now not be able to claim liability. Timing is everything, or so they say.

 It was also the case that many experts, particularly in global warming including a United Nations representative with licence to spread the word on the danger confronting us careless humans, remarked that bushfires could get fiercer and more common in coming years due to the scourge of global warming. Our omnipotent Prime Minister decried these remarks, declaring that the United Nations expert was "talking through her hat", and that bushfires were a part of Australian life which we, as tough as nails Aussies, live with and flourish in spite of.

 Our new environment minister, Mr Hunt was also accused of collecting his facts decrying global warming off Wikipedia and it appears he too is a global warming denier. The clock is starting to wind backwards in Australia.

 It has been an open secret for many years that Mr Abbott doesn't believe in global warming, going so far as to call it "crap". He has given lip service to environmental causes in recent years, no doubt to shore up votes but it appears that now he has been elected he and his cronies will completely abandon the charade of caring about the future of our fragile earth. I am sure his monetary backers in big business will be right behind him, urging him on.

 He has a mandate to scrap the carbon tax which was introduced by the late Labour government, describing it as "socialism gone mad" and has abandoned the climate department and with it the jobs of 150 personnel and I fear Mr Abbott and his right wing misfits may be digging a hole on the wrong side of history.

 Scrapping the carbon tax and railing against global warming will surely win a few votes in the short term but any government with this view is swimming against the tide when the United States and China, the two greatest powers in the world, are moving towards taxing carbon and the European union already has an emissions trading scheme in place as do a few other countries around the world.

 Scientists, real scientists who study the weather, not pseudo experts who write columns in newspapers denying global warming, tell us this is happening and catastrophe awaits if we don't begin to act against it.

 Denying global warming will be this current Australian government's downfall in the end. The conspiracy theorists and recalcitrant thinkers like Mr Abbott will go the way of the dinosaurs eventually. But how much damage can be caused before they do?

 We can only buckle down from here and wait for the storm to pass and live in hope that more enlightened thinkers are on their way to relieve us of the tyranny of deceit spouted by these unbelievers. I'm no zealot but I believe we are damaging the planet and would like us all to collectively do something about it.

 Bushfires have always been a part of Australian life. But when they strike as fiercely and as early they have this year and when the year is on track to be the warmest ever recorded on this continent then surely it must be the case that something is wrong. Let us hope that very soon those with the power to act listen to the voices in the wilderness. Only then can we be confident that our world will survive and be ever present for those of this race who come after us.

 Have a nice night.

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