By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
The Passion of Politics: The Role of Ideology and Political Theory
By Lindy Edwards (Allen & Unwin, $35.00, softcover, 248 pages)
The case is convincing, and gives a well-rounded picture about beliefs that reinforce current political ideas.
Demonstrating a centrality of ideology in Australian politics, Lindy Edwards reveals just how vital ideas are to understanding the defining turning points of Australian politics.
In the process of tracing the evolution of political ideologies since Federation, she draws out the relationship between views and political practice and illuminates the often overlooked role of opinions in shaping the most dramatic transformations in Australian political history. The impact of each new set of views is then explored.
The academic rightly claims that politics is intimately entwined with our values and sparks heated passions and it also taps into our most deeply held principles.
Former prime ministers Paul Keating and John Howard, reflecting on life in politics, have both argued that politics is fundamentally about ideas.
Keating argued that, at its core: “politics is a battle of ideas … the twenty second grabs and the photo opportunities are what you have to put up with to convince people about the ideas, but they are not what it is all about”.
Whatever your affiliations, the political landscape is changing and we need to face the new challenges ahead by ‘formulating new ideologies and developing new ideas and reshape old ideas and modify old ideologies’.
In line with a growing movement to reinvigorate the study of political ideology, Edwards discusses the evolution of progressive politics. She points to the need for citizens to be optimistic—that’s built on understanding how much the struggles of the past have achieved.
There are no answers, but a persuasive new way to understand the alternatives and to think of the past, present and future of Australian politics.
Edition 339, 13 November 2012
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.