Monday, September 29, 2008

In search of a cohesive narrative for Australians .....and beyond

The recent switch of leader by the opposition Liberal Party has galvanised dinner party conversations about the future of Kevin Rudd and his government. In many of these conversations people point to the complete absence of any coherent narrative that connects Australians with our changing global circumstances. In today's Age Ross Gittins describes this as the absence of an ideology. In reference to the PM he says:

'It's when you observe the performance of a man who professes not to have any that you realise its value.

Ideology is a word that, in modern times, has taken on almost exclusively negative connotations. We never admit having one of our own, but condemn others for being "ideological". What we usually mean is merely that their ideology does not agree with ours.....

Everyone needs their own ideology because they need a set of values — about the meaning of life, why we are here and how we should treat others — to set a standard for their behaviour.'

Of course this does not only apply to Kevin Rudd. Gordon Brown too has missed an important historical and political opportunity to provide a narrative for UK citizens - but in the end he seems to have had little to say!

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