Whose Interests?

I have posted the lyrics from Insurge’s Political Prisoners below because I think they remain very relevant within the current Queensland political climate. The ongoing argy bargy in Queensland legal circles surrounding the application for release by Robert Fardon is a case in point. The fight by the Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie to keep Fardon behind bars has nothing to do with whether Fardon does, or doesn’t, pose a risk to the community. It is simply about Bleijie taking the populist route by instigating action that will secure votes. Politicians and law makers instigate actions that are primarily to serve their own political interests, rather than actually serving the real interests of the community. Now, there seems little doubt that Fardon might pose a risk to the community if released, which makes it all the more of a concern that such a factor has no bearing on the Attorney-General’s decision to appeal the release order. The reality is that Bleijie would happily release Fardon if he thought it would help his political career trajectory. As the song suggests, those who suffer at the hands of the law, do so because of the personal political objectives of those who possess with the power to develop and maintain our regime of crime and punishment, rather than any genuine desire to protect the community from harm. Whilst few people, if any, would argue that criminals such as Fardon should not be incarcerated and face severe consequences for their crimes, it is disgusting when political figures utilise such cases – cashing in on the fear and emotion within the community – to advance their career.

Putting aside the likes of the Fardon case for one moment, it is easy to see where Governments – using law enforcement agencies or other administrative regimes as their proxies – develop and enact a framework of ‘social control’ that is almost entirely centred around creating or increasing fear within the community, marginalising and/or silencing particular groups or protecting their own personal interests, whether they be political or financial or both.

Insurge – Political Prisoners

This song is for all the political prisoners, both here and around the world, for the people incarcerated for fraud, stealing, and larceny, and all other crimes involving property, for it’s nothing but the state protecting the rich from the poor, ever since we lost our common ground, that’s what the law’s been for.

Yeah, I see no criminals, I see before me political prisoners.
I see no criminals, I see before me political prisoners.

This song is for all my friends, for those inside for drug offences, does the state really care about prisoners, about your own misguided will?
No. They’re protecting the profits of the pharmaceutical and tobacco corporations, and you must suffer for the oligopoly of the few.

I see no criminals, I see before me political prisoners.
I see no criminals, I see before me political prisoners.

This song is for all the political prisoners, for anyone who wants to live, and live like they know they should, the indigenous, minorities, the mentally ill, the passionate few, as we’re fighting for justice, they may take away our freedom to walk, they’ll never take away our freedom to dream!

I see no criminals, I see before me political prisoners.
I see no criminals, I see before me political prisoners.
I see no criminals, I see before me political prisoners.
I see no criminals, I see before me political prisoners.

Of course, given that personal agendas play the most significant role in the formation and implementation of any law or social policy, education certainly isn’t immune. Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek has huffed and puffed about a range of new measures that might be available to school principals to deal with misbehaving students (such as Saturday detention), but he doesn’t really give a fuck about the negative impact these students have in classrooms. Nor does he care about the fact that there might be a range of factors that are responsible for any disengagement with school that leads to such behaviours. He just wants to develop policies that will win him some votes. Introducing measures like weekend detention is simply designed to make it look as though Langbroek has a genuine interest in the well-being and educational outcomes of students. Let’s not kid ourselves. He will do whatever is in HIS best interests. If he thought that banning detention altogether would make him popular, he would head down that road instead. As it stands, students, parents, teachers and school administrators are simply pawns in Langbroek’s mission to propel his own career through his ‘let’s get stuff’ stance that is not drawn from deep philosophical value system or theoretical/anecdotal evidence, but is rather driven by ego and a desire for him to maintain his grip on the perks and privileges that come with his position. Again, that is not to say that there might not be merit in decisions, strategies, policies or practice that are implemented by any minister or government bureaucrat, but surely it is imperative that these come from a genuine desire to advance educational outcomes for all students, rather than as point-scoring opportunities in a perpetual popularity contest?

The problem for teachers and school staff is that they have to enact such policies whilst generally being prevented from speaking out in opposition or expressing any level of disagreement in a public forum. Teachers are constantly told to refrain from making public statements about school or Government policy or procedures and just expected to implement whatever the ‘idea of the week’ is without question, which makes us little more than mute servants to the personal agenda of a politician who may or may not have any knowledge, understanding or experience in the field. Furthermore, we might have a minister who simply doesn’t give a fuck (and dare I say that such is the case now) and there is little we can do about it other than battle on to try and get the best possible outcomes for students despite the obstacles that are so often thrust in our way. Of course, more often than not, school Principals adopt much the same approach in that the best interests of students must play second fiddle to their own personal career aspirations. Principals will develop and implements rules, policies and procedures that are designed purely to present the school (themselves) in a positive light, rather than actually having any meaningful impact on student outcomes.

Wouldn’t it be good to know that every rule, regulation, law, policy and procedure implemented by our Government exists for no other reason than the best interests of the community overall, rather than simply to serve the best interests of politicians and bureaucrats who place their own self-interest at the forefront of everything they do?

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