I’m not racist but….

At some point in our lives, we’ve all come across someone who has uttered these words which is promptly followed by something undoubtedly racist. For me, it was a bloke I met in North Queensland who said to me, “Mike, I’m not racist but I really can’t stand Indians.” When I pointed out that what he said was indeed racist, he tried to justify it by suggesting that he was in a majority so that “makes it ok.”  The problem is, he wasn’t really in a majority. He merely socialised with a small group of people who happened to have the same prejudicial views as him. What it interesting about this is that he knows that racism is wrong, hence his need to preface his comments about Indians with, “I’m not racist but…” Well, how about climate denialism? “I’m not a climate denier, but I just don’t accept the evidence.” What about politics? I’m not a right-winger but…” Here is a classic case where this person inadvertently admits that the right is a suspect position by suggesting his political party is “centrist”, however, everything they say and do suggests they are as right-wing as they come. Who am I talking about? The Climate Sceptics Party (CSP) and Geoffrey Brown, their official blogger. In his latest post, he makes the following hilarious statement.

“The NO CARBON TAX Climate Sceptics are not aligned with either the LEFT leaning Green Gillard Government or the RIGHT  leaning Coalition. We are a Centrist party.”

First I’ll deal with the first part. It is very true that the CSP are not “aligned” with Labor, the Greens or the Coalition and I’m pretty sure they’re all happy about that because I’m confident they wouldn’t want anything to do with the CSP.

Second, this notion that the CSP are a “centrist party”. This statement is so ridiculous it beggars belief. It shows either a complete misunderstanding of the electorate, a complete misunderstanding of  what it means to be “centrist” or perhaps, like the bloke in North Queensland, knowledge that what they are is in fact what the majority find abhorrent. I suspect it’s a bit of the first and last. Like any population, the Australian electorate is subject to the rules of statistics and has a normal distribution in terms of the political spectrum.

Schematic of the Australian political spectrum in terms of the voting public’s political views.

This schematic suggests that the majority of voters arrange their political views in a normal distribution. Geoffrey Brown actually acknowledges this with his ridiculous “centrist” statement. Why else would he want to be recognised as such? The vast majority of political parties wish to appear to be centrist and the way they try to appeal to the voting public is with so-called “catch-all” policies. If we were to overlay this normal distribution with where the Labor Party sits in terms of its policies, it would look something like this.

Schematic of where Australian Labor Party policy sits in relation to the electorate’s political views.

 As you can see, Labor is primarily leftist, however, a number of their policies are designed to appeal to the majority of voters and some of the right. An example of a right leaning policy from Labor would be in the treatment of boat people. A chart for the coalition looks like this.

Schematic of where coalition policies sit in relation to the electorate’s political views.

As with the ALP, the coalition sits mostly to one side but overlaps a little to the other side. An example is the recent alignment of the coalition with some unions.

In both cases, with Labor on the left and the Coalition on the right, the tactic of moving towards the centre and over to the other side is designed to catch more votes from the middle where the vast majority of voters are.  Anecdotally, I know many people who complain at election time that both sides of Australian politics are the same. Some, even go as far as collectively calling them the Laborel (Labor + Liberal) party. The success of this tactic is evidenced by the fact that with the exception of a few independents and one Green, the federal parliament has fairly similar numbers of Members from each side. The same applies to the upper house where there is rarely much of a difference between the two major parties but for a substantial number of greens in a couple of States.

So, back to Geoffrey’s “centrist” fallacy. In the last federal election in 2010, the CSP ran senate candidates in each state but not in the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory. If they were truly running on a “centrist” platform I would have expected them to receive many more votes than they did. In Queensland, they received only 0.19% of the overall vote and polled worse than other single issue parties like the Shooters and Fishers Party (1.74%) and the Australian Sex Party. The results were similar in New South Wales (0.21%), Victoria ( 0.15%), South Australia (0.46%), Western Australia (0.16%) and Tasmania (0.23%).  For a party claiming to be in the political centre that is a very very poor result. For that result to happen to a “centrist” party, the political landscape in Australia would have to look like this…

Schematic of Geoffrey’s distorted reality in terms of the political spectrum in Australia in relation to his party’s poor showing in the 2010 election.

What is more likely is the following graphic highlighting where his party fits and where the Greens are. The reason for mentioning the Greens will become apparent shortly.

Schematic of the reality in terms of the CSP and Greens and where they fit in the political spectrum of Australia.

So, how do we know the CSP is a right wing party and not in the centre? The answer can be found in the many pages of the official blog for the party. Given that the ALP do have some “centrist” policies amongst their mostly centre left, why hasn’t Geoffrey Brown, the official blogger for the CSP ever written a single post where he agrees with a policy or at least defended  a policy or Labor member? I performed a search on the site for the term “ALP” and not one of the posts that came up had anything favourable to say about the ALP. A similar search for “coalition” turned up plenty of  posts. I didn’t have to go far to find a favourable one. Here’s one. Here’s another praising Nationals, Barnaby Joyce and Ron Boswell. There are plenty. Even the post with Geoffrey’s ridiculous “leftist” comment that this post is about appears to defend  the leader of the coalition, Tony Abbott.

So what about the Greens? Well there is no doubt that the Greens sit on the political left. The venom and spite that comes from Geoffrey about the Greens is evident in every second post on the official blog for the CSP. I am given the impression that the CSP is diametrically opposed to anything the Greens say or do. In a 2010 post by one of the CSP members on behalf of the CSP by Senate hopeful, Terence Cardwell, the greens are referred to as a “poison chalice” and guilty of pushing a “communist agenda”.  From the same post comes this rant.

“Under that very thin cover of green is a very bright red of the communist, lead by the fanatical Bob Brown, who is a liar and one of the worst perpetrators of this world scam and he wants total control. If the extremists called ‘greens’ should bring their policies to fruition it will destroy our economy and our country. To the point it could bring about an extremely violent reaction from the Australian people when they finally realise that the Greens are deliberately trying to tear our country apart. By that time it could be too late. The only consolation would be that every Green would pay severely for their treachery.”

This has some of the hallmarks of a stereotypical right-wing rant. It’s got “reds under the bed”, appeals to nationalistic pride and suggestions of nationalism inspired violence against perceived “treachery”. There are plenty of posts complaining about Green policies. For example here, here, here and here. In fact, nearly every second post is an anti-Green post.

In contrast, the official blog for the CSP does not have a single post criticising any right-wing parties or organisations. In fact, I think this post says it all. Before I pin the screenshot.Let’s just go back to that key statement by Geoffrey Brown, the official blogger for the CSP again.

“The NO CARBON TAX Climate Sceptics are not aligned with either the LEFT leaning Green Gillard Government or the RIGHT  leaning Coalition. We are a Centrist party.”

So Geoffrey, as a centrist party, who are you aligned with? From your post of 29 september 2011….

The allegedly “centrist” CSP aligning with the far right. That would be odd…if the CSP weren’t loony right all the way.

Geoffrey Brown, if you think you are “centrist” you’re even more stupid than I thought. If you think the majority of Australians are also on your wavelength you’ve completely lost your marbles. My question, why are you ashamed to admit that you are part of the loony right? Could it be because deep down you know how distasteful your ridiculous right-wing party really is?

So to return to the original theme, what Geoffrey is saying here is “I’m not a right-winger, but I denigrate the left, ignore the middle, praise the right, associate with the right and promote the right.”

And I didn’t even get to your blogroll, a veritbale who’s who of right-wing anti-science and conspiracy ideation. Maybe in a future post.






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