In April’s issue of The Monthly, there is a great article by Waleed Aly on what is going on in the Australian political scene with regards to the replacing elected leaders thanks to party politics. He writes particularly well about the role of the ever compressed news cycle and its impossibility of nuance. I have only picked out a few paragraphs of his article but the whole piece is worth reading.
The new media landscape clearly has much to answer for here. Crisis is swift because news and commentary are swift and judgement is instant. Then it’s shared, constantly, and mostly with those who agree. Viewpoints become amplified rather than nuanced. So we forestall cool, reflective debate, and wind up with a public conversation that has almost no ability to persuade. Everyone’s in a war, everyone has a gun, and we’d much rather go on firing than sit through dull peace negotiations.
Political discussion has become a militarised zone. Perhaps that’s why parties are increasingly reaching for the nuclear option. As the debate gets faster and therefore shallower, our politics must become more presidential because image and personality are the only effective weapons left. This is particularly true given the collapse of serious ideological difference between the major parties. Every political problem therefore becomes a leadership problem. When you’re confronted with political disaster, there’s only one thing to do: get new leadership.