We now prefer monsters to moderates


This article first appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail

POLITICIANS of the world, it’s time to evolve or perish.

People are sick of your continuous sidestepping, meaningless waffling, and endless flip-flopping.

Well, let’s hope that’s the hidden message in this global shift to the far right of the political spectrum.

What if the supporters of One Nation, Donald Trump, Brexit and other far right-wing nationalist movements aren’t all a bunch of racists and nincompoops?

There’s definitely a nationalist element to these parties, but consider for a second that it’s not the driving force, and it’s something much simpler.

People are just sick to their souls of politicians, and their shifting morals, vague statements and hollow grandstanding.

We’re so starved for someone who speaks plainly and not in talking points or jargon. By speaking plainly, the far right has been the first to crack the code.

Around the world, right-wing parties are gaining worrying percentages of the vote but something curious happened with the Austrian presidential election.

The favourite was Norbert Hofer, the candidate from the far right, but he was defeated by Alexander Van der Bellen, the far left candidate and a former Green Party leader.

The centrist candidates, who’ve dominated politics there as well as around the world, weren’t even in the running.

Although largely a ceremonial position, it seems that if asked to choose between a centralist politician and a monster, the Austrians preferred the monster.

Given the choice between two candidates who actually stood for something, however, they veered to the left.

In the US, many polls suggested that if far left candidate Bernie Sanders had run against Donald Trump, Bernie would have won in a landslide.

Not that polls have gotten much right lately, but I think many were determined to vote against Hillary Clinton not because of what she stood for, but because she was another politician, with slick speeches and a glitzy marketing machine, who was so worried about saying the wrong thing, that she never said anything.

In Australia, on the left we’ve got Bill Shorten who so rarely takes a stand that, when he does, we’re all so shocked it makes instant headlines. Then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, whose U-turns on the big issues are so constant and linked to public opinion, what he believes seems to change as frequently as the time.

People are exhausted with it, so much so that they prefer anyone who speaks plainly and sticks to their word, no matter how outrageous and horrific their words might be.

It even makes some twisted sense. For example, who would you be more willing to trust? A human who says something awful to your face, and stands by it? Or a human who says one thing to one person, and the exact opposite to someone else, and doesn’t care what they believe, as long as they remain popular.

These days, it seems that, given the choice between a politician and a monster, people are so fed up that they’ll take the monster.

To survive, politicians need to stop being followers who stand for nothing, and become leaders who stand for something.

Otherwise, Australia will have its very own Trump soon enough.

This article first appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His second comedy memoir ‘Going Out of My Mined’ is available now.

Real book:


Or eBook: