Joe Must Go

Joe must go.

Joe Hockey must go. Sometimes the job is just too big for the man. It is not just that he is singularly inept as a treasurer. Nor is it simply that he personifies privilege, ignorance and intolerance. True, there is his lack of compassion for the poor or his manifest indifference to others. But that’s not it. Nor is the fact of his background. Joe was born into a life of comfortable affluence, enjoying an upbringing which cocooned his sense of superiority and entitlement. Indeed, the circumstances of his birth should occasion compassion. Through no fault of his own, Joe was born with at least one silver spoon in his big mouth. In the process, he was sheltered from reality and the lives of ordinary people.It can’t help but show through. That’s why he can advocate a lap band for the poor and needy and leave the big snouts in the trough. and it’s why he thinks poor people don’t own cars. His subtext is that the poor have no business to be on the road. Or alive.

Some would say Joe must go because he can’t do his job. This is harsh and unfair. Granted Joe may bring a new edge to incompetence and heartless indifference. Sadly, however these characteristics alone do not disqualify him from public life. His predecessors displayed many of the same characteristics. So, too do his contemporaries.

What brings Joe to the forefront of critically endangered species amidst so many other strong contenders is his self-pity and his self-delusion. Now this was not always apparent. In opposition he exuded a bonhomie and everlasting cheeriness that made him a hit on morning television. Not a hint of a whinge or a sook to be seen.

All, it seems, now, was a front. Gone forever is the jovial boof-head who happily grinned and swapped banalities on morning television with his rival Kevin. Now we are treated to displays of such pique, self-pity and delusions of grandeur that what we see more resembles a wounded school prefect than his earlier, jollier incarnation Jovial Joe.

This is not good for anyone. Jovial Joe may have been good for a hearty laugh or two but his successor is no good at all. No good to himself. No good to the nation.  One the personal level to paraphrase Pascal he who is sorry for himself seldom has any rival. Self-pity is alienating. It is also next to crippling self-doubt in the obstacles it poses to personal achievement. It is also a liability to a statesman for statesmanship demands a certain detachment if not resilience if the ship of state is to be steered successfully. No sobbing from the wheel house that the map is out of date and the Chinese compass has seized up. No wailing that everybody in the nation hates me.

For the sake of all of us and for his own sake, Joe must go. It is clear, as Howard would put it, Joe does not have the ticker. It is clear also that the comedic spectacle of his bungling attempts to appear to have a handle on his job is bad for all of us. We are also told by those paragons of altruism, the Business Council of Australia that Joe is not good for business. Well, they haven’t quite said the J word yet but they have referred to budget uncertainty as a peril to business prosperity. Between the lines, they want him to hock off and leave them alone.

You have published your memoirs, Joe. Now, for your own sake and for the sake of the nation: just go, Joe.