Sunday, May 17, 2015

Waleed Aly and Tony Abbott

Waleed Aly is a popular and respected Fairfax journalist, he won the 2014 Walkley award for best columnist, he lectures in politics at Monash University and co-hosts the Ten Network’s news and current affairs program, The Project amongst other things - a grand stage on which to advocate his brand of worldview. He is a very smart young man with a promising future.

I usually look out for his comment pieces in The Age and in doing so; have noticed that he appears fixated with a singular political topic – Tony Abbott and the Abbott Government. This is not to suggest that he only writes about Tony Abbott but even when he does not, Waleed often points to, or at the very least alludes to, directing blame for whatever subject matter, to Tony Abbott or his Government.

Even as I write now, Waleed Aly’s latest Op-ed dated May 14, commands considerable attention over at Fairfax sites. It’s titled, Watch out – This is a booby-trapped budget. I need not go into the details of what it is about, one can guess from the heading and sub-headings within the article. The highlights include:
“Abbott is apparently ruling out everything that's called a tax. That can only mean one thing, assuming the government still cares about the budget at all: more cuts. Lots of them. Serious cuts.”
On the face of it, Waleed Aly is of the progressive left intelligentsia, one who actively pursues moral relativisms and postmodernist principles akin to new age thinking as characterised by a rejection of absolute truths and grand narratives to explain the evolution of society. Some would add, a member of the chattering classes. I am not inclined to ascribe this term upon him as it's disparaging, though I think that if nothing else, he is great fodder for them.

Nothing I have written in the preceding paragraph is intended to be critical or derogatory of Waleed, I am merely attempting to convey an understanding of why he is, so often disapproving of the Abbott government and its policies – it is ideological and Tony Abbott and his Government is perhaps the polar opposite of what Waleed stands for politically.

In terms of religion and if the write-ups are correct, Waleed identifies as a Sunni Muslim which, when considered in conjunction with his ideology, in part explains why he is oft referred to as Australia’s most prominent or influential, apologist for Muslim extremism.

Personally, as someone who believes in the modernist concept of a ‘true self’, that we humans have a central 'true self', a fixed, unified, essential self that remains intact throughout our lives, I would not be as, “apologist”. How does this relate to radical or potentially radical Muslims within our social order? We can never discount the possibility that radical Muslims or simply those susceptible to elements of such (the young), will remain a threat to our way of life, not merely those from abroad but unfortunately and most alarmingly, the homegrown variety.

Returning to politics, being a lecturer in politics, I would expect that, just occasionally Waleed would write a piece other than the usual theme centred on the Abbott Government. There is after all, so much more to the topic, interesting characters like Jackie Lambie, Clive Palmer, Ricky Muir and the state and mindset of the current Senate. There are also other parties, the ALP, the Greens, and Socialist Alliance, and so many elements of our political system, like federalism, the judiciary, the legislature, the constitution, thinks tanks, interest and lobby groups, social movements, pressure groups, the role of media, I could go on. However, alas, it is all about Tony Abbott. Little wonder the conservative commentariat generates Twitter hashtags like #Waleedlogic and propagandizes them to the point of, “trending”.

For example, why didn't Waleed consider an analysis of the Oppositions budget reply today as a substitute to the hackneyed offerings associated with the Abbott Government?


Click here for an extensive list of Waleed Aly’s articles

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