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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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October 26, 2007

Graham Young suspects that the greatest economic managers the country has ever seen have run out of funds. The big tax bang was wheeled out in the first week of the campaign to knock Labor off their feet and narrow that pesky gap in the polls. Morale was supposed to improve and donations would come pouring in which would get them through the rest of the campaign. Or not.

Andrew Bartlett has been attending public meetings at every opportunity, as candidates do. He regularly runs into other candidates, but the Liberals rarely turn up. It's accepted wisdom that Queensland is pretty important, so you'd think it would be worthwhile dropping by for tea and lamingtons with the locals. Apparently not.

One of the interesting things Judith Brett and Anthony Moran wrote about in their study of Ordinary People's Politics is the wide variety of ways people engage with politics. The ideal campaign engages in as many ways as possible. Policy and good governance for the serious, the personal appeal of the presidential campaign and pure pop for entertainment's sake.

With no cash for gimmicks or flash advertising and a non-existent grassroots campain there's no option for the Liberals other than buying voters with vast sums of their own money. Labor have the sort of money it costs to run the presidential and pop-style campaign we've been seing. We already know more about Rudd's background than we've ever known of Howard's. Smiling people everywhere are sporting Kevin07 t-shirts and bumber stickers. Happy people vote Labor.

The Liberals are stuck with the dull business of policy and governance - the economy, pensioners and roads. If they'd been as bothered with their own finances as they say they've been with ours, if they'd mucked in with the hoi polloi from time to time, and if they weren't always so down in the mouth they'd be a more attractive proposition. As things stand, they lack bling.

As proponents of the free market keep telling us, it's a cruel world. There's no such thing as a free lunch, it's every man for himself and the market can be trusted to take care of everything. Unfortunately, it looks as though these Liberal champions of the free market have fallen foul of the free market in party donations. I wonder if they're happy to see the system working so well?

| Posted by Lyn at 8:36 AM | | Comments (4)
Comments

Comments

Lyn,
I'd wondered about the lack of money flowing into the Liberals. Graham Young's pattern fits:

The Coalition campaign starts well-behind with a low expectation that it will win. It then comes out with a bang and some negative ads are thrown around, mixed with a sprinkling of positive ones, and some policy announcements. Then it all dribbles away and you start to hear the stories that the campaign is running low on resources.

It has gone quiet.

Lyn,
I found this remark on immigration and refugees by Caroline in Judith Brett and Anthony Moran's Ordinary People's Politics interesting:

I do believe we should accept them, but they've really got to come the right way. There's got to be rules and regulations, and a correct way of doing things. We'd have the country flooded with them if we don't have some sort of rules and regulations. But I do feel for them. I mean, if they're brave enough to uproot themselves from their own country like that. They're often quite well-educated people that are doing it. They must be desperate.

It's a confused and ambiguous response to a question about refugees that swings between compassion and the fear of loss of control.

Gary,

It seems odd that they didn't follow up the tax cuts announcement with anything at all. No leaflets fell from the heavens, no supporting TV campaign, no nothing. It takes more than a single sound bite and a day's worth of headlines for these things to filter through. You need to keep hammering it, but they didn't.

Graham's been saying for a while that the Queensland branch is just badly managed. Nobody has a clue.

We know that NSW Libs have been colonised by a bunch of extremists more concerned with enforcing virgin marriage and rejuvenating the Klu Klux Klan than dealing with the realities of a political party.

But it seems a tad more remiss of the party at the federal level to so badly neglect the health and welfare of the organisation. Not only is it quite frightening to think that such a poor standard of management has been running the country for a decade, it also suggests they're totally unconcerned with preserving their own traditions.

Nan,

It's well worth checking whether the local library has the book. The article doesn't do it anywhere near the justice it deserves.

On that comment you quoted, that kind of confusion and ambiguity is not uncommon. A lot of people who are convinced that immigration of any kind is bad can't explain exactly why. The same person who'll tell you there are too many Asians (or whatever) will also tell you some of their best friends are Asians (or whatever).

The combo of 'rules and regulations' and 'flooded' is directly from the Howard and Friends Book of Rhetoric. Neither is honest when applied to refugees but the message was very powerful in a period of change.

One case study from the book sticks in my mind. A woman who said she never watches the news and has no interest in politics used the term 'relaxed and comfortable' to describe her own life. Wonder where that came from? She also had no understanding of how government policy had contributed to her circumstances (middle class welfare) and believed that her success was entirely due to hard work.

Others who were disadvantaged by policy (education funding for example) blamed themselves.

It's well worth reading for a cross section of how politics and daily life intersect.

They were warned long and loud by Stevens and his predecessors.
Yes, it is indeed back to the mundanity of everyday government and at the worst possible time. The difficulties of the current situation require far more hard work and use of intellect that this lot have been used to for some time.
Interest rates are a toxin even the usual serried ranks of Fairfax and Murdoch charlatans reponsible for monotonously spinning the Coalition out of strife as regards the most ludicrous of its other policies, seeem unable to cope with.
Regardless of what you may think of Keating, his comment that Costello has been a "lazy treasurer", is damning in the current political climate.