Tim Blair


New Criterion



Monday, March 01, 2004
HOW DO YOU SPELL 'SOCIALISM' in the democratic left's fourth way?

Try l-o-c-a-l-i-s-m.

This is collectivism from the ground up.

Labor chief philosopher, Mark Latham, has travelled round this broad land, from photo-op to photo-op, and he has heard the voices:

They want more society, more community a new sense of belonging, a new set of social relationships. Among the people that I talk to, there is a real interest in localism.

A good society requires more than high incomes and government services. It needs strong, healthy relationships within active communities. For too long, government policy has ignored this vital part of our national life.

Can you be more specific, Mr Latham? Of course he can, suck-holes.

There's a strong feeling in society that too much power has slipped from the people's grasp and has been concentrated in the hands of big corporations and big bureaucracies. I share this concern. And I want to see greater devolution of government power to the community.

So here's the small-government libertarian, getting government out of our faces.

I want this to be the hallmark of a Labor Government, with Lindsay Tanner as our Minister for Community Relationships.

Hang on there, Mark. We're giving power back to the people by creating a new government Ministry? With one of your hairiest collectivists in charge?

Been there before. The theocrats want to force us to be virtuous, the totalitarians want to force us to act as one, our kangaroo socialists want to force us to take local initiatives to achieve closer community relationships.

We needn't feel threatened. Mark is only after our kids:

In particular, how can the current generation of adult Australians help our youth? How can we help troubled boys and girls adjust to the demands of a fast changing and more stressful society? This is why I have asked Lindsay to work on a national mentoring strategy, in collaboration with the community sector.

Ocker Big Brother! I love it. Divorcee Lindsay Tanner is going to tell us how to grow up our kids.

Especially our boys. First the push-ups. Then collective action.

Our boys are suffering from a crisis of masculinity. As blue-collar muscle jobs have declined, their identity and relationships have become blurred and confused. We need to give our boys a new centre to their lives one grounded in community support and mentoring.

Tanner's welcome to have my kids for his Young Communiteers. They'd love the blue shirts, the scarves, the toggles and the regular RocknRoll Rallies in front of the Opera House.

If you thought Mark Latham had a clue what he's talking about, you'd have to ask for the detailed plan.

Instead, I suggest you ignore the prestidigitation.

Just watch what he's proposing to do to our national economy and security.