Oh dear. Silly, silly people…
Now you must understand that I’m not playing that right-wing commentators’ game of always prefacing “left” or “socialist” with “loony” or “silly”. That’s just name-calling and a very old propaganda technique indeed. That’s why I think Christian Kerr should grow up and stop using it in Crikey — calling his publication’s commentors shrubhuggers and Stalinists really is childish. After all, would we take a left-wing commentator seriously if they always referred to people anywhere to the right of themselves as Nazis or Fascists?
No, I’m calling these people “silly” because collecting signatures on a petition to release Dr Haneef is politically stupid and a waste of time.
- What happens to petitions to Parliament? Nothing, really. A functionary announces that a petition on [insert title] has been received with [insert number] of signatures. And then it’s filed away. In nearly every case, that’s the end of the story.
- The next sitting of federal parliament doesn’t even start until 7 August. It’ll be at least 10 days until your petition is tabled. If you really cared about Dr Haneef being in a cell, how about trying something quicker?
- The government really doesn’t care what people in Newtown think, because it’s the left-wing heartland. “Good heavens,” John Howard quakes, “folks in Newtown don’t like what we’re doing! We’d better change tack immediately!” Erm, no. Now if you collected signatures in Penrith or Ryde or Parramatta or some other marginal Liberal electorate then maybe they’d care — but I’m guessing that doesn’t have the same appeal as spending a sunny afternoon with your mates on King Street, eh?
But my fourth point is the crunch…
- Dr Haneef had already been released the previous night, charges dropped! While the Newtown socialists were collecting signatures calling for his release, Dr Haneef was already at home watching TV with family and friends.
Gawd, people! If you’re going to play politics, at least try to stay in touch. Perhaps even use that Internet thing!