The (Victorian political) climate is changing

So to Glasgow, once the second city of the British Empire and more recently the heartland of Scottish independence.

In the 2014 independence referendum, when Scotland as a whole voted 55 to 45 against independence, 53.4 per cent of Glaswegians wanted to leave the United Kingdom.

Nicola Sturgeon -Glasgwegian as a stabbing in a chip shop queue

Recently re-elected Scottish National Party (SNP) First Minister Nicole Sturgeon is a Weegie to her core.

She wants a forward looking, green and smart – and obviously independent – Scotland and she’s going to use the COP26 climate summit as the perfect vehicle to show the world just why the Scots belong on the international stage.

Into this forward looking city, amid the world’s leaders, trudges the body of Scott Morrison and the spirit of Barnaby Joyce.

Morrison famously brought a lump of coal into parliament and Joyce is on record as saying he doesn’t care about climate change and what happens in 30 years.

These are the men – along with another pale stale male from NSW in Angus Taylor – representing Australia, and thus Victoria, at the most important international summit since Yalta.

Thing is, Victoria is already grappling with the real world implications of climate change and the fundamental reshaping of the arrangements of our lives it imposes.

Victoria has committed to reducing emissions by 50 per cent by 2030. Which is nice but not worth a huge deal unless backed up by action.

There’s plenty of action in the Victorian electricity sector.

Hazelwood power station. Gone but not forgotten

Victoria could go down the NSW and Queensland path of pretending we can still burn coal and not worry because Magic As Yet Uninvented Technology is going to come along and make it all go away.

Cheap and dirty Latrobe Valley brown coal could power Victoria for decades to come, just as it has since the 1920s.

But that’s not going to happen, because the private companies that own our power system live in the real world and understand that burning coal is going to be made all but illegal via a variety of mechanisms, starting in Glasgow this week.

French giant Engie unilaterally closed the uneconomic and hugely polluting Hazelwood power station in 2017 because it lives in the real world, not the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister for NSW’s fantasy land where net zero carbon by 2050 is achieved without cost.

The current Victorian government also lives in the real world, which is why it is paying a bribe to Hong Kong owned Energy Australia to keep the Yallourn power station open – and the lights on in Melbourne – until 2028, once more green energy is online.

The closure of Hazelwood pushed up Victorian electricity prices. Victorian taxes are subsidising Yallourn’s operations for another seven years because it is a failed business proposition.

All coal generated power is a failed business proposition. But because the failed fossil fuel federation that is Australia relies on cosseting voters in NSW and Queensland and pretending they can live in the 1970s forever, Victoria has to pay the costs of climate transition twice.

Coal is dead, except for the Prime Minister for NSW.

We’re paying for our own transition away from Latrobe Valley coal. And we have to pay for NSW and Queensland to do similar, maybe, at some point.

If Sydney Santa invents New Carbon Free Technology that is.

And there’s every chance that we’ll be slapped with carbon tariffs after Glasgow anyway thanks to the NSW/Queensland run federal government, which is shaping as the fall guy at COP26.

So where to from here for Victoria?

The Victorian Labor party has invested all its political capital in Daniel Andrews. He remains broadly popular enough to win the November 2022 election but will likely depart the stage soon after his victory.

What then? Political gravity will work its baleful magic and voters will likely decide in 2026 that after 12 years of This Mob, it is time to give the other lot a go.

Long time Victorian Liberal MP Bernie Finn felt this was appropriate to publish on social media

But The Other Mob are a shambles. Former Shadow Attorney General Tim Smith’s drink driving disgrace sums up the car crash of Victorian Liberal politics almost too perfectly.

Worryingly, many Victorian Liberals have completely disappeared into a bizarre and offensive QAnonesque alternate universe.

These are not people fit for government and their descent into disgusting incoherence explains why the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party hasn’t been relevant at a state level in this millennium nor at the federal level since Malcolm Fraser was PM.

Indeed, so far have the fortunes of the Victorian Liberals fallen that polling by Redbridge shows the jewel in the crown – Kooyong – would fall to the right independent.

Perhaps Josh Frydenberg should spend less time sucking up to his political masters in Sydney by doing down Victoria and more time working his own electorate.

A void is emerging in Victorian politics. People grow weary of one major party but the other isn’t fit to govern.

The protests that have besmirched our streets of late may be small, but for many years Brexit was a fringe belief, and Trump was seen as a novelty candidate, right up until he won the Presidency.

Given the determination of some Victorian politicians and media to fan the flames of hatred, we need to ensure something better occupies the void.

Victorian independence can fill that gap by providing a positive and dynamic political option predicated on building a better Victoria for all Victorians.

But time is not on our side. No matter who wins federal election in 2022 Victorians will get a Prime Minister from and for Sydney.

In the meantime, Victorians will be sending tax dollars much needed for COVID recovery to dusty towns in NSW and Queensland full of people that hate us and who laughed along when Barnaby Joyce sneered he could “smell the burning” in Melbourne.

Staying part of Australia means Victoria loses.

Every time.

Typically grey skies above the Dear Green Place that is Glasgow.

As the world’s attention turns to COP26 we Victorians should indeed look to Glasgow for inspiration.

Not so much on climate issues, despite the seriousness of the matter. We know full well what must be done there and are already taking serious real world action.

Instead, let’s engage with Glasgow as the city that voted YES to Scottish independence in 2014.

The city that will lead Scotland to the international stage in the second independence referendum that will be held in the next few years.

We Victorians should look to Glasgow for inspiration on how to forge a sustainable political future in the 21st century.

A future where Victoria runs our own affairs.

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