I’ve been terribly amused watching the supposedly left-wing CFMEU (construction, forestry, mining and energy union, AKA the come fuck me union) cozying up to their assumed natural enemies: John Howard and the big-business logging industry, over the issue of old-growth forest logging in Tasmania. It seems the union’s left-wingness does not extend as far as objecting to turning entire forests of centuries-old trees into toilet paper and advertising brochures, as long as nobody loses any jobs (until the trees run out, then they’ll all be fucked).

This amuses me mostly because it fits in with my conception of unions as amoral thugs whose only interest is in the job security and wages of their members to the exclusion of all other principles and social goods. (Of course I would say that, having been tutored in economics at one of the most conservative faculties in the country.) And of course Johnny’s charge of Labor allowing its agenda to be set by unions seems a tad ironic.

Moreover, it makes me feel slightly less hypocritical about my many political inconsistencies, eg, being a greenie and hating unions. Am I left wing or right wing? Keen observers (if there are any) of my thoughts (if there are any) must be terribly confused.

The real worry is, someone like Hugh Mackay will come up with a definition of people like me with a catchy name. Then the marketroids will start building a profile of how I’m supposed to think and will try to sell things to me, like they tried to convince men of my generation that they could be metrosexuals and spend money on clothes and skin care products. I can just imagine it: “Holden — the car for people who aren’t sure what they want . . . other than a Holden.”

Please feel free to add a comment if you have any suggestions of a catchy name for people who have strong feelings on a range of political issues, but don’t easily fit into conventional political party or left-wing/right-wing pigeonholes.

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