The Day I Realised Pragmatism and Unprincipled Politics Killed the Party
“A politician who will not lead according to what is right, even if the majority, at the time, disagreed with him, is more of a liability than an asset.”
BY GIULIANO BORDONI MAY 19, 2022
The day was September 21, 2021, and the place was the office of my local LNP member. That’s the day my minute hope for seeing vaccine mandates dead in the water was completely shattered. Although vaccine mandates were and still are a big deal, I really do wish my local member hadn’t shattered a much more important hope on that day.
On that Tuesday morning, I had my personal encounter with the phenomenon I was going to see taking place everywhere in Australia during the months to follow, namely, the deep realisation that, for the most part, the politicians we have in place, beginning with the Prime Minister, are not operating out of principles and convictions, but out of their morning reading of the public opinion polls.
But you are probably asking, “Why does that matter? What’s the problem with those ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ politicians trying to base their decisions on what people are thinking at the moment?” Are they not supposed to represent the will of the population?
The danger of the chameleon politician
Fewer things are more dangerous in the political realm than politicians that have developed a skilful way to alter their principles, in the chance they have any, to begin with, at the sign of every change of wind in the public opinion. For those, the goal is almost always re-election. At all costs. Or, as I heard from an LNP MP, to toe the line of the current public opinion is necessary to keep the “evil” Labour party away from the Federal government.
The problem with this way of thinking is that it completely disregards the fact that the volatility of the public opinion will, many times, put leaders in the position of having to act against their principles, which make up the very foundation they rely upon to judge themselves as being on the “good” side of politics.
In my engagements with liberal authorities over the last little while, most of them disagreed with the various forms of mandates that have been implemented in the management of Covid-19, for example, but they would’ve never said that publicly. But, now that the public opinion is starting to change significantly, we see more and more of those people coming out from who-knows-where as great supporters of freedom.
But would you allow me to suggest something here? A politician who will not lead according to what is right, even if the majority, at the time, disagreed with him, is more of a liability than an asset.
What use to the population is a politician who was utterly silent when it mattered the most? Many have already lost their jobs. Many have already been victims of coercion from the State. Many have already been ostracized. Our constitution has already been undermined.
A chameleon politician will never come through when things get tough because that’s when most people are scared and are operating in survival mode. What they will do is to change as much as needed about themselves to be able to just fade into the background as not to be noticed until the next opportunity to emerge safely as someone who is worthy of people’s attention is at hand.
Leaders need to be better than that. Leaders need to see beyond. Leaders need to lead. Leaders need to put their interests last for the benefit of the people. Time usually greatly rewards such leaders, but, until that reward comes, those types of leaders are usually seen in a bad light until the fruit of their steady and unchanging labour appears.
The endless manipulations and lies
But if that’s the case, how does one justify the changes? How does one say one thing today and another tomorrow without issuing some sort of mea culpa statement, which is the capital crime of the public office? The answer is simple, by lying to and manipulating public opinion. The LNP’s problem is not just their ill-informed, dangerously pragmatic, philosophy of government, but the deep rotten deceptive character of many of its politicians and leaders.
Don’t get me wrong, I align with almost nothing on the progressive side of politics but, most of the time, when you vote for a progressive politician, you know what you are getting. There will be no disappointments there. None of the greens will come out as pro-life activists tomorrow. What you see is what you get, but, unfortunately, the same cannot be said about most of the current “liberals” and “conservatives” in power.
The problem here is that the LNP looks like a conservative party alright until they don’t. See, my issue here is not even what the parties truly are or their change of ideas and policies, although that is very important, but what parties claim to be whilst being something totally different and trying to gaslight the population when they point out the incongruencies.
I lost count of how many times I heard the passing of the blame to state governments. I lost count of how many times I read something saying the federal government was against the mandates whilst saying they were going to make vaccines as mandatory as possible. I lost count of how many times the goalposts have changed, the speech has adapted, the PM said something without really saying anything. And let us not forget the deafening silence in many occasions. Sometimes we forget that to say nothing is to say something in situations like this one.
For those who want, there is always a way to do something. No, it is not true that your hands were tied. No, it is not true there was nothing you could do about it. Just look at people like senator Gerard Rennick and senator Alex Antic, for example. Somehow, their hands were not tied. Miracle, huh? Somehow, they went above and beyond to speak for many Australians who were victims of government overreach at, many times, great personal cost.
Where there is a will, there is a way, but LNP’s way was the way of compromise and deception.
The LNP needs a reality check
I am glad to see that the seat in my electorate is one of those disputed seats with the LNP candidate only 3% ahead of its ALP opposition in the polls. I am glad to see that because that already works as a reality check mechanism for those who want the LNP to do some soul-searching exercise before asking for people’s votes.
When talking to an LNP candidate a while ago about the mandates, I mentioned that they should think about listening to the minority of Christian conservatives crying out for justice in relation to mandates because those votes, although not large in number, could cost them an election.
The response I heard to my comment was something along the lines of saying that they were happy to sacrifice the Christian and conservative vote, even if a compromise of principles needed to be made temporarily, as long as they don’t lose the vote of the majority who, right then, were deeply scared.
The problem with that approach was thinking that I was suggesting that Christians and conservatives needed to be heard just because they are Christians and conservatives, but that wasn’t what I was suggesting. Those people needed to be heard because what they were saying was right and true and, in the long run, more often than not, truth would be vindicated and the LNP would’ve then gained more political power for showing character and strength of leadership in a time of crisis.
But as the events unfolded, by doing the complete opposite of what I and many other Australians were asking, the federal government is now being seen as weak and non-effective and they are most certainly going to lose a great chunk of their voters, which will probably cost them this election.
No, my local member and other LNP candidates who were silent in the face of one of the greatest evils of our society, seeing you guys lose your jobs will not be an altogether bad thing. Sometimes, it is better to get a bad thing you know it is bad than to get a bad thing you think it is good, but you end up being stabbed in the back when you need the most. For the freedom fighter politicians in the LNP coming up for re-election, I pray you get re-elected. I am cheering for you. May God bless your resolve and tenacity. Many of us Australians salute you and thank you for standing your ground at great personal cost. Although your party is dead to many us, we will not forget you and will aim to work together for a better Australia tomorrow, rid of the unprincipled pragmatists out there.
Giuliano Bordoni is a Queensland Baptists registered minister and he pastors at Grace Church on the northside of Brisbane. He also publishes less elaborate and more simple day-to-day kind of content through his personal blog Cruxes Hub. Giuliano has a bachelor of Music, as well as a master of Divinity, focused on pastoral studies.