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

a personal impression « Previous | |Next »
November 16, 2007

Bob Dylan once said--in Subterranean Homesick Blues ---that 'you don't need a weather man to tell you which way the wind blows'.

I thought of Dylan, the street poet, when I was in Canberra, as the mood on the Canberra streets last night was very different to, which had hung over the city for so long and depressed evereyone, had lifted.

A new political order is coming into being.


The mood of the street was simple: the Coalition is history. Thank god. That public mood was very clear. The face of Kerrie Tucker, the Greens ACT Senate candidate, was everywhere. The mood was go Kerrie go.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:08 AM | | Comments (18)


do you think that the Liberals appear to be pulling resources out of Labor marginals and putting them into reasonably safe Liberal seats. Is their research telling them bad tidings?

They've only got a week to go to turn things around. As Leunig says in his cartoon in The Age its only eight more sleeps before the conservative ascendancy comes to an end

Yes there is a mood for change. But I don't see enough cheering for Rudd to represent this supposed landslide win. Sure kids are cheering when the pollies go to schools but they would cheer for Donald Duck too.
I think like when Latham began to lose the womens vote late in the election campaign so is Rudd. Latham because he started to appear a bully/Oaf and Rudd because he is beginning to look a bit over controlling.
Big mistake to be somewhat dumping his deputy handbag in favor of touring with his loyal Pikachu Swan. 2 Queenslanders running the country?
All in all I think people are tired of this Rudd vs Howard campaign and are going to go out and just vote for the local member they like. Which is why the coalition has focused on local based TV ads with local candidates.
Yes there will be massive swings in some seats and some seat losses in the area of 6-10 but 16 was always going to be hard.

the new mood also refers to reform--eg., kick starting the stalled national competition agenda, starting commonwealth state reform to health care, schools, infrastructure and red tape.

The conservatives in their last years of governance had given up on reform. They'd been captured by special interests.

It is argued here in The Age that the Liberal Party's election advertisements are appealing to the converted, but appear to be having little persuasive effect on other voters.


If only we could capture a mood in some kind of empirical way. It's very difficult to put what's happening into words.


Up here the Liberals have barely bothered with Labor marginals. It's Labor doing all the moving of resources which, according to the grapevine, has also happened in Victoria and Tasmania.

I wonder if the mood is a new mood or an old mood just with the belief by the moodees that it has the possibility of coming to fruition that makes it seem to be a new mood.
The article has some merit though it does center on the Rudd vs Costello ads.
My belief is the the local candidate ads by the coalition are working by centering peoples thoughts back to the local issues.

Rudd's campaign to me seems to be getting younger by the day as he gives up on the over 40's. The appearance on Rove on Sunday night will be interesting

no doubt the Liberal faithful hope that this local strategy works for them, as the Liberals campaign strategy has been a shambles--the messages contradictory and confusing. Rudd won the battle of the launches and he's venturing into the waters of economic management by criticizing Costello for failing to heed the Reserve Bank's inflation warnings.

I'm fudging a bit here.I'm using Heidegger's concept of mood, and undercutting it.
This account says that:

Mood is the most fundamental awareness that persons have of their being in their worlds. The word "awareness," in the English language, as used in the preceding sentence, conveys attention. Attention implies cognitive activity; Heidegger did not intend to convey this meaning. He used several German terms for "mood." One term, Stimmung, means "being attuned" or "attunement," as a musical instrument is tuned and ready to sound a musical note.{5} Mood is, therefore, a general realization of one's self being in the world in the presence of other Beings and objects and having readiness to perform specific cognitive functions.

I'm fudging because Heidegger holds that we are in mood even when we are unaware of it. Since mood is a state of awareness, it is paradoxical that frequently we are unaware we are in mood. Specific moods, such well-being and fearfulness, and specific emotions, such as happiness and anger, emerge out of the primordial mood. Primordial mood pre-exists them and is a necessary condition for them. We cannot have a reaction to something in the world until we are in the world in the first place. It is mood that discloses we are in our world, thereby setting the stage, so to speak, for our specific moods and emotions.

Yes Howard took the same "I wont match them" strategy when he was in Rudd's position too.
The political game is a bit like using the big dice in backgammon. If you pick the right time and you win the game you are rolling in it.
If you lose you are walking home.
I am not sure that Rudd will win any new votes in the last week. Those that have chosen him will either stay with it, go independent/Greens or worry themselves out of it and vote coalition.
What happens on Rove on Sunday night usually feeds straight into the FM radio networks on Monday morning which is Rudd's demographic.
It will be much more important to him at this stage than Reserve bank stuff.


I was thinking along the lines of zeitgeist, except it's not quite that yet. The Heidegger distinction between awareness and mood is very useful I agree. I hadn't thought of it that way, but it fits with trends we've seen through the year.

Something has made people sit up and pay attention. It's like that explanation for deja vu that says it's just a state of increased awareness or alertness. Or like organically driven mood changes, where you feel the feeling then look around for an explanation for it.

We don't yet have a satisfactory explanation for why these things happen on such massive scales, but I'd love to know. It's like the whole country stuck a fork in the toaster.

Jack Waterford in the Canberra Times says that:

it is not clear that the election has been one about workplace relations, the environment or education. Even less so about the economy, or interest rates. It has been rather more a referendum on John Howard and his Government of nearly 12 years, and that has been an argument that John Howard has been losing all along this year. More tax cuts, more sectional offers, belated attempts to deal with some unpopular policies have seemed, at best, catch-up stuff.

That would make sense of the general it's time feeling. The Liberal problem is Howard and his increasing unsaleability.

Yes Howard is becoming increasingly unsaleable. He was gone after the debate. That was the point where he looked the most fuddy duddy.

Its a typical retailing maneuver though with Costello. When you have dead stock you have a buy one get one free sale. You see that way your sales increase. The coalition has already profited highly from Howard so they can give away his remaining stocks in one last sale and begin to make a profit from the new Costello line and introduce it to the market in a dazzling way.

re your comments:

All in all I think people are tired of this Rudd vs Howard campaign and are going to go out and just vote for the local member they like. Which is why the coalition has focused on local based TV ads with local candidates.

The local ads are a concession by the Liberals that they cannot stem the national two party preferred swing to the ALP. However, the marginal seat strategy, which is all about rain water tanks, road improvement and black spots, cannot counter the 'time for a change' mood, or the symbolism of rising interest rates and cost of living.

People don't believe in heroes anymore.
They know that pollies bullshit to them and they suspect that the change will only tighten the cuffs rather than loosen them.

It looks as if the Liberals will lose a Senate seat in the ACT.The Age suggests that a surge in support for Greens in the ACT could see the Coalition deprived of its slender Senate majority immediately.

Liberal senator Gary Humphries is under siege from Greens candidate Kerrie Tucker, whose primary vote is running at around 20% according to the latest polling.

The Coalition has a two-seat majority in the 76-member Senate, meaning that the loss of only one seat would see the chamber split evenly between 38 Coalition senators and 38 Labor and minor party senators.Because senators elected from the two territories take their seats straight away, the numbers will change as soon as Parliament sits after the election.

The ACT have had enough of the Liberals. They stand for bad and corrupt governance.

I wonder how many more grenades the commonwealth bureaucracy will toss at the Coalition?

Yes a look into one possible parallel universe is Labor governing in all states and federally and then controlling the senate through Bob Brown. While that may be great for environmental issues I think most would choose to jump back into the vortex and hope for a different and better place to live.

a qualitative Taverner poll amongst homebuyers in Sydeny and Melbourne found that Among all home buyers, economic management was rated the key concern, followed by WorkChoices and party leadership. This group voted interest rates as only ninth on the list. The research further reinforces the finding that battler home buyers in middle-income swinging seats will be crucial to Kevin Rudd's election chances.

Voters are retreating from the traditional view that a Coalition Government is better able to handle the country's economic affairs. Another recurring theme was that Labor offered a fresh vision and the Howard Government had failed in its fourth term to govern well in a wide range of areas.

I suppose it comes down to a question of how dumb the people are.
I am not suggesting that Labor voters here have a lack of brains but has Rudd really offered anything solid? He has looked better than Howard. He has run a better campaign. He has given the appearance of a man in charge.

But has he really said anything other than. We will do it Better Cheaper Faster?

Labor is conning the bottom end with this evil word Workchoices. Honestly if they get in and abolish workchoices how far removed from it will their new system be? Not very I suggest.
By the time they get a new system up and running it will be time for another election and they will be saying again" Don't trust them! remember Workchoices!