02 January 2010

Dead right

This excellent article on US politics got me thinking about the Liberal Party, which is in a similar state of moral and political bankruptcy but with the following exceptions:

  • Not a lot of rage and disappointment to speak of in the community, apart from the usual cranks. The fact is that the full force of the financial crisis has passed by this country and, for better or worse, the incumbent government gets a share of credit for that.

  • The country's leading politician is of the same racial group as the majority of the population. He has, and claims, no brief for society-wide social change.

  • Healthcare reform is a matter of administrative tinkering rather than the root-and-branch reform we saw twenty years ago.

  • Climate change was an important differentiator in 2007 and it remains so. The apathy induced by inaction has been countermanded by the increasing articulation of how high and rising the stakes are in not mitigating the risks of inaction. There hasn't been the kind of sea-change in the vote on climate change policy as happened over the Vietnam War, where the Coalition won in a landslide in 1966 and lost two elections later over the same issue. Labor owns climate change policy, for better or worse, and the Liberals have no credibility at all - not with swinging voters or business.

The Liberals deliberately chose a leader who was less popular than the man he replaced. That leader is a dilettante in the world of ideas, yet the journosphere think of him as an intellectual. That leader has appointed a frontbench who have less of a clue about any area of policy than he does, and much less than many of the very weak ministers they are supposedly shadowing.

Labor's polls are climbing, the very opposite of what should have happened if the supporters of Tony-the-Tough-Guy were to be believed. The same thing happened in NSW in 1998, when the leader was replaced with a "fresh and energetic" new leader who dumped what few policies there were and led the party to a landslide defeat.

Hopefully the journosphere will not subject us to any nonsense about a hung parliament like they did in 2007, or like these British journalists insist on doing with their own moribund government. Indeed, the only indicator of conservative renewal comes from Britain, and it consists of grafting a moderate wing back on - anathema to the Abbott-Minchin-Joyce Coalition.

1 comment:

  1. derrida derider4/1/10 2:20 p.m.

    Yes, the UK tories have learnt the single most important lesson from Pol Sci 101: the median voter theorem.

    It's possible to get away with an "energising your base" strategy in a voluntary first-past-the-post voting system, as George W Bush deminstrated in 2002 and 2004. Even there, though, its a recipe for long-run failure (as we now see in the US). It's out of the question in a compulsory preferential system.