Christmas has moved from the horizon and is now in full sight. We usually make predictions, and most of the time we get it right! Although the retail outlook is not bullish at the moment, we’re predicting a record Christmas.
People are a bit uncertain and have been for a year or so. Although prospects look good for the nation as a whole, wage growth is very slow, household debt levels are rising and there’s constant talk of housing unaffordability.
For a start, with Christmas day falling on a Monday, we’ve got the biggest ‘lead-up’ period. The major shopping week will start on Monday December 18 and will continue for a full seven days of heightened shopping, right up to close of business on Sunday the 24th.
Secondly, it’s been somewhat of an uneventful year. Nothing much has happened here – no real major dramas of national significance. Uneventful. The general mood is passive, some excitement is needed… so Christmas is looking good!
In times of uncertainty, people often postpone the big purchases: the once-in-a-lifetime-holiday, the trip to Disneyland with the kids, the boat, the new suite of furniture. They then reward themselves with a ‘smaller’ indulgence: a more extravagant Christmas!
You can’t support this with statistics. It’s just gut feel. But our record is good – as we said, we get it right most of the time. Let’s see how we stack up this time!
So, at this time, this ‘end of the year, beginning of the next’, this ‘time of reflection’, we ask: where does this uncertainty come from? Various theories are thrown around and reasons as to why retail sales are in the doldrums are put forward by so-called experts. Mostly, the ‘reasons’ are symptomatic, but the disease is never tackled.
We live in the promised land. It’s about five hours to fly from one side of our country to the other and there are only 24 million of us. (I just returned from Shanghai: 32 million or 33% more, in one city, than our whole nation.) And what sort of country is ours? Not a barren wasteland but a generous, diversified country, rich in natural resources, bountiful in food, surrounded by oceans teeming with fish.
And over the last quarter of a century, while other nations have faced collapse of their economic systems, we have piggybacked on China’s growth and seen money flow into our nation in veritable rivers of gold.
With all that we have, this nation should be the finest example of what mankind can do when it tries. We should have the finest education system, the finest healthcare system, the finest infrastructure and more.
Imagine what our country would be like if, 25 years ago, we’d contracted out its running and operations to, say, 50 of the top management people in the government of Singapore – just got a bunch of their ministers and senior government people and given them the brief. “We’ve got iron ore, natural gas, coal and oil. In the food stakes we’ve got wheat, barley, rice, lamb, beef and mostly anything else you want. We’ve got hardly any people and all we want is top education, healthcare and good infrastructure.” If we’d given them a salary, with bonuses based on performance, I wonder where we would be today. The mind boggles!
So why aren’t we achieving what we should? There is a need to get to the root cause. We’re a democratic country and our leaders plot our future. Leaders are, in theory, visionaries – men and women of aspiration, people with passion, with integrity and commitment. Is that what we’ve got? Not even close.
Instead we’ve got a bunch of politicians led by Turnbull, Shorten, with also-rans like Di Natale, Bernardi, Hanson and the like, who collectively – and let’s make no mistake about this – are the most serious threat to our wellbeing and to the growth of our nation. No other force, not the criminal element, drugs, alcohol, corruption, external forces or any other possible or probable negative influence, causes as much damage to our society as do our politicians.
There are sentiments expressed to rid ourselves of ‘political correctness’, and politicians are leading the call. It’s clever, somewhat Machiavellian, and symptomatic of the deviousness. Give examples – ‘religious freedom’, freedom of speech’, ‘the establishment of the nanny state’ – when the real beneficiaries of ‘political correctness’ are the politicians themselves.
At this time of the year, let’s reflect and call them out for exactly what they are. Our politicians are a collective of the most self-centred, ego-driven, narcissistic, incompetent, gutless, pathetic excuses for community leaders that has ever hit the stage at the one time.
We’ve got a party in power with zero commitment to anything. And that’s true. Name one major challenge to this nation, one major threat to this nation, one major vision for the future of this nation, and you will not achieve consensus on any one of them within the current party in power.
Turnbull, who we all know has passion for a republic, for an internet infrastructure that leads the world, and for equality in marriage, has put all passions under wraps in order to keep the top job. He’s a man who’s shown us how self-interest in maintaining his position leads to a sell-out of your own standards. Gutless. Abbott lurks in the background, a closet Pom who thinks the Queen and England deserve sycophantic adoration; a man who would swap the top job in Australia for a seat (and title) in the House of Lords. He is a divisive, bitter, insecure, narrow-minded, spiteful individual, who surrounds himself with similar cohorts, totally immersed in a world of negativity.
And the opposition? What a joke. The Labor Party: the Socialists, the voice of the common man, the party seeking equality in opportunity, in education, in healthcare, the champions of the underdog, the guardians of the weak! The party with a vision for a future society; leaders who will plot our country’s course of action so that our children might inhabit a better and more just world.
These are not just glorious sentiments; they were the principles to which Labor leaders like Fisher, Curtin, Chifley, Whitlam, and to an extent, Hawke and Keating, aspired. But today? Not a trace of it. Just a collective of whining squabblers, self-interested, second-rate fat cats impressed by their own titles. They are a bunch of losers in the real world who’ve taken shelter in the cliquey world of today’s Labor movement.
And the alternatives – Hanson, Bernardi and Di Natale… well, the less said, the better.
So this Christmas, at this time of reflection, take a little time out to think seriously about our leadership. Don’t let it ruin your festive time, but just drop the political correctness shackles for a moment and call our politicians out for what they really are. It won’t change them – they don’t have the stature, the capability, the intellect or the character for that. But it might influence some of the younger ones, the up-and-comers who, if they’re not overly influenced at the start, just might show us something better! Michael Lloyd,