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

a lighter moment « Previous | |Next »
November 15, 2007

Rudd wins the high ground the commentators say. The ALP has gone for constraint and painted Howard as a reckless big spender, as well as providing funds for vocational education, computer access in schools, and funding to develop renewable energy. The election issue now seems to be who spent the most money.

Bill Leak

The pantomime can be partly explained by the parties living in fear of making a mistake, open up issue to a scare campaign, and not straying too far from public opinion. Hence the me-tooism--it's a strategy to minimize the risk of stumbling: it's Labor's election to lose etc.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:40 AM | | Comments (23)


We won't know 'til after election day, despite the complacency abroad at the moment.
Stuff like Howard's sly appeal to the worst and most mindless traits of the mortgage belt, expressed in the education rebate you get for sending your kid "private" as against ( $nix for) a humble state school, is laden with ideological and "values" content aimed at some of the most base tendencies in human nature.
The ridiculous duplication that comes of creating a private school ( and health ) system over an already up and running but now downhill state secular system based on a genuinely egalitarian level playing field concept, is a pathetic parody of genuine rational economics as well as an appeal to cowardice and a debauching of human dignity.
Ps as to cartoons, loved genius work of Pryor yesterday.

This is a terrible cartoon.

I wonder if all the parents who's children have been molested or disappeared are laughing?

this cartoon sums up 'representative democracy' very well.

sums up the oz voter pretty well too, although buying them may need a more sophisticated approach in future. the minute the reserve bank hinted that mortgage pain was the consequence of election largesse, rudward was in a dilemma. it appears kevvie responded more quickly, and promising 64 billion rather than 68 billion makes him the leader of the gang of restraint.

poor johnny. they always get back in the ring once too often...

you are back! We missed you. Where have you been? In the Kimberley's with no broadband?
I agree that the Leak cartoon is grotesque. Isn't there a grotesqueness to politics though? All that spin and deceit whilst handing out lollies to innocents with a plastic smile? Don't people react to this in a disgusted way?

Hi there. I thought that you had done a runner.
Nan's grotesqueness seems right. The cartoon captures the seamy sleazy side of politics for me --a pantomine can be funny and seamy/sleazy. I was waiting to catch a cab to the airport to fly to Canberra and the cartoon represented the yuk feeling quite well.

On a more serious note though enabling schools to have broadband and kids to have computers (smart Nation/information society) is going to be undermined by the lack of teachers with good internet skills.

There wasn't much on university education apart from some scholarships.

Rudd's smart nation is being done on the cheap and will not lift Australia up the OECD ranking by a lot.There's more rhetoric--"education revolution"-- than investment here--the gap is pretty big.


We've missed you. Great to see you back.


Agree on the education stuff. It all sounded very shiny but there's not a lot in it. Andrew Norton has some interesting things to say on the lack of university funding and the problems with the way scholarships will be distributed.

Julie Bishop's saying it's all very well to give every kid a computer but that's not much use if teachers don't have the skills to back digitised education, and she's right. Teachers are notoriously reluctant to get involved with the digital world.

Overall though, was the launch about policy or popularity?

For mine, it was about taking it up to Howard on economic management and, given that Rudd made his point in about 5 words but Howard made his rebuttal in about 5 paragraphs, I suspect Rudd won that one.

As Mark Bahnisch said,
Mind, messed with.

I did mention on an earlier post that I was having a month off commenting on blogs. I also deleted a couple of blogs that I had and really I think I just needed to get in touch with my feminine side.

My criticism of the cartoon was non political. Though I do think characterizing our senior pollies as pedophiles is crossing the line.

My point is has the media become so used to this sensationalizing of Violence, pedophilia, rape, murder and so on that now they the MSM will be dishing up daily humorous ditties on what is to most people completely abhorrent. Whats next? Knock Knock molesting jokes on the kids funny page! or will Chaser being dressing up as perverts and trying to entice kids into cars for a laugh!

On a lighter note I have been reading your comments daily and unfortunately you are still all wrong as the coalition will be returned.


So you didn't abandon us after all. Agreed on the cartoon. The dog has the most sense.

Did your feminine side give you any useful advice? Thyme, lemon and pepper are ok for mangrove jack and bream but wasted on luderick and snapper?

I think Les deserves a pat on the back for attempted honesty, but as someone whois not a coalition suporter I will go the extra step and comment that Leak is actually slanderously accusing Rudd of a WORSE crime than Howard- an utterly biased and blackpropaganda move redolent of Murdoch tabloidism at its utter worst. Rates with Goebbells "Ewige Juden".

re your comment:

On a lighter note I have been reading your comments daily and unfortunately you are still all wrong as the coalition will be returned.

The Coalition is still fighting hard.

so what about the grotesqueness of politics? Do we just forget about it?

Marx's well-known and without a doubt cynical dictum, which we've heard countless times and asserts that history occurs twice, first as a tragedy, second as a farce, misses or conceals a certain important point: that 'repetition of history' is never simply 'repetition', but is always an authentic event which has 'new' consequences. The occurrence of repetitions is carried out under different material conditions and in different circumstances. The carrying out of the 'same' or at least a 'similar' event in different measures and circumstances, produces different results.

what of the grotesqueness of the Department of Immigration locking up innocent Australian residents and citizens in detention centres.

I would be of a mind that this representation of the Tin Tin character which is essentially a kids cartoon hero would be outside of the boundaries of the license granted by the owners of the image.
There would be the potential for this to be the last one.

Are you calling me a fish wife?

Gary, just reading and thinking about your reply after returning from a look at how the different tabloids are reporting the day. Amazing the difference in treatment and hierarchy of events from paper to paper, and within the two major chains.
It's certainly a tragedy that tabloids pass off misrepresentation as humour. added to this typically material consigned to obscure corners of newspaper as subsidiary sometimes allows an insight into what is is truly significant.
From the Tasmanian corner of the OZ but not carried elsewhere is the developing story by one Greg Roberts, of the relationship between Gunns financier ANZ and a big Malaysian logger rampant in New Guinea. When we grasp how irrelevant state boundaries and locale sensibilities are against totalising forces of BIG finance in KL, Melbourne or Sydney, we begin to see the real reason why the parties run like rabbits from subjecting a front organisation like Gunns to scrutiny.
In fact too many examples of the Coalition's campaign descent into farce are crammed into the Tasmanian section of the OZ, alone.
This is sad, because the government accident proneness generally has prevented a closer scrutiny of the ALP and there is much potential future tragedy in this failure of press/media duty of care as to aplying an early level of accountability that Labor would then feel the need to ongoingly consider, in order to avoid slipshod legislating.
Ken Davidson's and Tim Colebatch's "Age" forays into broadsheet yesterday actually came as a tonic slap in the face or reality-check for me, after all the soapie hate love/ bad good dichotomies saturating the tabloids, which have distracted attention from real issues.

do you realize that Howard has given his last campaign speech? End of a political era.

Perhaps it is not his last speech though Nan ;)

Yes I suppose Howard in all has been a good representation of an Aussie Polly. Some would say a bad but really it is the job of a car salesman to sell cars and so on. Though in his early working life he was seen as a little dim witted he found his place in politics. He developed a keen sense of the electorate, became a savy media player and above all he has been a hard worker.
Perhaps in the absence of a couple of issues this year and had he handed over the reins 6 months ago he would of gone into retirement a well respected man by most of Australia. Well 55% anyway.

There will always be those that wear Kevin Rudd pajama's Nan. I don't see any harm in that Nan. Its your democratic right to choose.

Howard has had a good run. He's done his policy stuff and he's run out of puff. I don't dislike the man at all. But he should have handed over to Costello last year for the sake of the Party. Big mistake. Ego and all that.

The times now suit Kevin 07: neoliberal economics + mild progressiveness.

Yes your handover theory now is commonly held but lets not forget that he seemed to always have the numbers in the party when it counted. Costello never did. He was close several times though but never had enough. Mistakes in politics will always be made. In hindsight Latham was the big mistake of the decade as to leaders.
There is no doubt that if Rudd and Howard were starting off scratch together in the 100 mtr dash to the line that Rudd would win hands down. But Howard is starting from the 80 mtr mark and boy is he a fast walker!
Maybe your right. Maybe it is time for a change in leadership. But is this the right time for time for a change is what he needs to convince the punters of.

The public mood is that it is time for a change.That is why Howards is having the problems he has. He's doing good things in the campaign but many people have stopped listening. Howard blocks the message.

Abbot is putting on a good public face


Somewhere on one of these threads you said you were going fishing. Ever since you've been Les the fisho in my mind. That probably says more about how my mind works than about you.


Politics is getting more grotesque by the minute and no, we should definitely not forget about it. Rather, I'd argue that we need to devote as much time and effort to understanding how we're being manipulated as we do to thinking about policy.

Abbott would perhaps do the party a favor by going to Bali for a week.
What him and Gillard are saying in that article is S.O.P. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Yes there is a mood out there but there has been that mood for a while its just that with Rudd their is an expectation of success that is driving it. The television media with its constant desire for new interesting visualization is driving it too. They see a new Government/ministry with new faces as a great opportunity to revitalize their news and wrestle back some of their lost share to the internet.
You must admit if Howard's bunch get up again nobody's going to be glued to the television waiting to see all them again.


This comes from your link at JFC:

"It is also worth noting that Heidegger will argue later that the conformist public in which we live tries to turn our attention away from our anxiety by substituting fear for it"

anxiety and fear being one of many possible moods.

I don't know my Heidegger but

This is the argument of so many analyses of the Howard era. The underlying sense of anxiety over change was easily substituted for fear of whatever Hanson suggested and Howard subsequently used to advantage. And the take from psychology which argues that a general sense of insecurity must find an external explanation which frees the subject from personal responsibility. Refugees and 9/11 could not have happened at a better time for the politics of fear.

How then do we explain what's happening now? Does a conformist public turn our attention away from our complacence by substituting adventurousness for it?

On your reference to Marx, this is the warning we're getting from the 'Remember the catastrophe that is Labor' set, but is it even possible for a government of any colour to make Whitlamesque boo boos any more?

I'm not entirely convinced by Hugh Mackay's mood change argument which, to me, has a suggestion of the pendulum theory about it - back to the other version of the familiar - and hence the Marx connection. It feels to me more like uncharted territory because history moves so fast now. Our context is so different that the consequences of events must surely be less predictable than ever?

There's probably some really clever segue between the two but it's Friday evening. The only certainty is that many, many trees will be felled in the interests of promoting understanding of this period of our political history. Many books will be published but will we be any the wiser?