- No, Australia isn’t going to lose its coveted AAA credit rating just because the election doesn’t have clear results. That’s like saying watching footy games can make you lose a job. It’s possible that you are too much into footy and miss work regularly, which is why you lost your job. But it’s not watching the footy, but the ‘missing work’ clue that dunnit. A minority government doesn’t automatically downgrade ratings. Its bland fiscal policies and runaway spending that will cause the glint to fade off our gilt-edged bonds. If the rating agencies downgrade us next week, it’s probably because the conditions already exist, not because the indecisive election somehow brought about an overnight change of heart and turned a rosy AAA outlook into junk credit. Did you see how the stock markets reacted on the Monday after the election? They went up. So did the Aussie. Go figure!
- No, Australia didn’t have a BREXIT moment. Australian elections and the BREXIT are apples and orang-utans - not even the same life form. Commentators and Bill Shorten use these analogies to get your attention, a bit like how teenage kids compare you to the worst thing that ever happened to them. Unless you are a convicted criminal of the worst kind, you know, they know and everybody knows that is just bollocks. BREXIT is a life changing event that unravelled a four decade old union. Australian elections come around every four years. Perspective, mate!
- Our politics may be messy, but there are worse things happening elsewhere on the globe. No, I am not talking about the political wastelands of the third world or people without toilets. Look at the UK, for example. Do you even know who’s captaining that ship? And don’t get me started on Trump! Cory Bernardi and Peta Credlin may want to see Turnbull get Ned-Starked for not having won 5 or 6 seats more, but hey, he’s just 5 or 6 seats short. I’m no Turnbull fan, but it seems to me that everyone is wildly over-reacting to what is essentially a win. A small win, perhaps. But a win, nevertheless. When the AEC rolls up its sleeves and counts the last postal ballot thirteen days from now, you may even find that Turnbull squeaked through with a simple majority. That may ‘weaken his authority‘, and the scorned few may get their daggers out, but even that isn’t a disaster by any measure.
Tuesday, July 05, 2016
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
For the past few days, I've been walking in a playground nearby. It's a small municipal ground, completely barren. Kids from the nearby slums play there by the day and keep it mostly clean of garbage because that's their only ground. From the looks of it, the local gamblers and drunkards take over in the night, but every day I see that yesterday's bottles and cards have been cleared.
I also realised that lot of passing car drivers use the ground for urinating even though several warnings are painted on the walls. People urinate right below the warnings with impunity. It's not for a lack of choice though. You can't blame the government for it. There's a well maintained Sulabh complex just 50 mtrs from the ground.
At first I ignored the urinating men and walked around. Anybody who knows me, knows that I'm very cynical about my countrymen. I'm of the opinion that there's no hope for this shit hole. But people are urinating right below the boards and I couldn't stay away for too long. Today, I started telling people about the Sulabh down the road and requesting them to go there instead. People were mostly surprised when I stopped and asked them if they wanted to use the toilet. Most of them got embarrassed and walked away. Some argued a bit. "I've been urinating here every day!"is a common response. I told them about the kids who pick garbage every day and requested them to keep it clean. People obliged and it gave me hope.
I'm not a Swachh Bharat volunteer. I'm just a man who saw something wrong and decided to put aside my cynicism to tell people to do it right. While walking, I pondered about how people obliged readily and thought, well, they just need someone to tell them and most people will do the right thing.
It's not like nobody is telling them. The new government is making a lot of noise about cleanliness and toilets. There are Modi posters on the same wall talking about Swachh Bharat. There's a massive Sulabh toilet in the neighbourhood. Govt is building 15 million toilets in the country and movie stars are campaigning for the movement. Still, people need face-to-face convincing to move away from old habits. I was elated that I got involved for a brief moment.
Towards the end of my walk, I stopped a man with a look on his face like he wanted to take a leak. He protested like a few others. I kept him engaged with various arguments. He kept coming up with excuses to urinate there. 'I live in the neighbourhood', 'I do this every day', 'Sulabh is too far', 'I need to go urgently'. I kept countering him. He stood his ground. I finally put an end to it by raising the stakes. I told him, 'You look like a reasonable, educated man. I'll leave it to you to decide. I told you what I have to. It's up to you now. You do what you think is right' and I waked away.
He exercised his choice and urinated on the ground.
I'm not going to stop telling people about the Sulabh because of one man. But, I'll probably remain cynical.
Thursday, April 09, 2015
Saturday, February 07, 2015
Every constituency of AAP supporters views the party from its own prism of convenience and interprets the ideology as per its requirement.
The muslim right wing is now seeing the party as its current alternative to BJP. What they don't understand is Kejriwal is not an appeaser. Even if he wants to, he can never get into the give-and-take politics because that's his only differentiation. If he resorts to give-and-take, there won't be any difference between Kejriwal and Lalu Yadav.
The left wing activists see him as one of their own - a vehicle for revolution. But he already abandoned that path when he split with Hazare and took the plunge into politics, famously declaring that to bring real change he needs to go from andolan to prashasan.
The middle class armchair revolutionary sees him as an anti corruption crusader. The armchair guy somehow convinced himself that with AAP in power, everything will be exactly the same - the same economic opportunity, social mobility, his sedan and the iPhone and the glitzy hipster life - EXACTLY the same, except the corruption is now magically gone! I think the flaw in that prism is the most stark of all.
Lastly, the Aam Admi, who is the real claimant to the party sees it as a simpler solution to his problems. No money? Instead of breaking your head to figure out how to earn more income, just vote for the guy who'll subsidise your power and water bills. Yes, the low ticket corruption - the real give-and-take he is used to - will be gone.
He thinks he will now get to take, but need not give. But he will realise that it comes with a huge price. If you demand honesty from others, the least you can do is to become honest yourself. Let's start with the law that says 'no spitting'; then 'no-hawking without licence'; and then, no tampering with the weights; no ticket-less travel; no cutting through the queues; no priority in school admissions through corporator recommendations; no tax evasion; no loudspeakers at your son's wedding; no driving on the wrong side of the road; no helmet-less travel; no stopping beyond the stop line.
Yeah, no breaking the law at all! That's because you elected to deprive the system of its life blood. The system will stop working if its ill-gotten income isn't substituted with increased salary. And who will pay for the higher salaries to the police and the babus? Yes, you - the Aam Admi who got away with all the little cheeky rule-breaking that the system never really cared about. The system will start penalising you for all those transgressions. Like I said, if you demand honesty from the system, the system will want the same from you. Do you have it in you to face the music?