Fitting an elephant with John Black

That John Black: he’s a genius. Today in the Australian he examines the recent Queensland state election, delving deep and long into demographic data and coming up with nuggets of high-carat wisdom. He can tell you that the poor voters who swung to Labor pay ‘relatively low rents and mortgages’ on ‘two or three-bedroom’ homes, and that they have ‘no internet connection.’ In general, it is “public housing tenants, Polynesians and persons speaking languages other than English” who comprise Queensland Labor’s vote, along with “single parents with young kids, female public servants, male and female transport workers, women aged 30-34 years and persons who were actively chasing jobs in latter part of 2013”. Why didn’t inner city Brisbane seats swing towards the ALP as much as others did? Well, the ALP didn’t appeal to “South African migrants” who are paying back mortgage debt, obviously. Read the rest of this entry »

Marine le Pen as General Boulanger

How is Marine le Pen a distinct possibility to replicate in 2017 the feat of her decrepit, racist, Holocaust-denying, probable war criminal father Jean-Marie, who managed to ooze his way into the second round of the Presidential elections in 2002? (“Votez escroc, pas facho” — one of the popular slogans in favour of Chirac — has an adaptability to it that could recommend itself to other European politicians, and was itself possibly cribbed from Edwin Edwards-inspired “Vote for the Crook. It’s Important” during the 1991 Louisiana gubernatorial elections). I don’t really know the answer, but I came across a quote I read a while ago in a book about 19th century French nationalism that has what literary critics might call resonance:

“The Boulangist state of mind is that of the malcontents from all sides: held by all those who are weary, all those who are discouraged, all those with frustrated ambitions, all the imbeciles who hold the Republic responsible for their failed harvests, all the fools who have preserved their love of gallantry, the sick who, finding it painful to lie on their left side, turn for no reason onto their right side…It is a feeling of worry and malaise, one that makes those who suffer from it prefer anything — an anything that seems almost alive — to the present state of affairs. It is that bad mood characteristic of old factions, powerless to return to the throne the prince of their choice, but ready to welcome any solution that isn’t the Republic. Without the Boulangist state of mind, what is General Boulanger? Nothing.”

(Joseph Reinach, my translation.)