I just don't know what to do with my timeSo: you've been elected to Parliament as a loyal member of a party that has not shared your fortune, at least not sufficiently to form government. What do you do with yourself, apart from representing the good people of your electorate?
I'm so lonesome for you, it's a crime
Going to a movie only makes me sad
Parties make me feel as bad
When I'm not with you, I just don't know what to do
- Burt Bacharach & Hal David I just don't know what to do with myself
You can plug away like the Victorian ALP.
Fresh from receiving federal Labor MP Alan Griffin's post-mortem of the November campaign, Labor has embarked on a second review - this time to overhaul the way policy is shaped ahead of the 2014 state election.Either Daniel Andrews is keeping a challenge from the door by creating activity and hoping that it looks like progress, or the guy is genuinely having a red-hot go at knocking off an opponent who is too slow off the mark. Baillieu has ceded too much early, energy-sapping and legacy defining ground to the religious right; Andrews is clearly seeking to psych him out at every step, like Cadel Evans against the too-cautious Schleck brothers. Good on him for refusing to accept Griffin's pulled punches.
Mind you, he is leader of the Victorian ALP:
Admitting that many of the former Brumby government's election promises failed to capture the imagination of voters, Mr Andrews said the review would look at a range of areas: the way policies are developed (including getting more "suburban mums and dads" involved); the type of policies Labor should put to voters; and better ways to communicate their plans.They failed to engage voters because they were mediocre ideas, Brumby would hype them as though they were great and would brook no equivocation as to how they could be improved. Because the way those ideas were communicated was transparently bullshit, nobody believed anything he said and nobody believed he could evolve with the state. Baillieu seemed more flexible and approachable, and a state that believed in democracy first gave him a go (sort of - not by much).
Nothing wrong with getting those "suburban mums and dads" involved - just so long as they don't, y'know, try and change anything. If they remain fixated on the "better communications" they will end up like the Libs in NSW (and indeed federally) - "nothing wrong with out policies, they just weren't communicated properly", followed by a Lasseters-Reef-style hunt for the perfect media opportunity that was reported favourably and believed absolutely by all marginal seat voters at the same time.
"We needed one of those 'Year 9 experiences' each week," Mr Andrews told The Sunday Age. "We had a clear vision of where we wanted the state to go, but perhaps we didn't describe that and didn't sell it to the Victorian community."A new opposition leader has to balance distancing himself from the loser government without becoming totally lost, especially as Andrews himself was a minister in that government. Here he sounds like a mealy-mouthed twat, not distancing himself enough - but it would seem that his actions belie that, meaning that he's either the wiliest reformer of his own party since John Howard or the reform process is going to get away from him.
The policy review will be conducted by opposition backbenchers ... widely regarded as rising stars within the party ...It isn't clear where Andrews is going to conjure up "suburban mums and dads" who have the time to participate in ALP decision-making, the temperament to put up with that crap (the ShortCons will go berserk) and who, most importantly, also have something to contribute.
Insiders say part of the problem was that many of last year's election policies were shaped by cabinet, leaving rank-and-file members in Labor's policy committees feeling frustrated.
At least the Vics are trying - I mean, what is this warmed-over Bruce Hawker shit? Failure compared to what?
I can't believe that two intelligent and experienced operatives could only come up with this:
We need to be clear about what the brand truly stands for ...You lost me at "the brand". At a time when consumers are media-savvy enough to see through branding, two clowns who should know better retain their newly-minted-MBA faith in fucking branding and apply it to what they should hope would not be some perishable commodity.
In an associated article the Keneallys define "the brand" not as something owned and imposed by others, but which is manufactured in Sussex Street and pumped out with no feedback mechanism.
For a start, we should abandon the Blackburn declaration that we stand for "the socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features." We should be clear that we stand for increasing the incomes, opportunities, choices and self determination of working people and their families.What a coincidence, that's what the Liberal Party was founded on and still stands for. Better yet, who would you trust to deliver on that stuff - Barry O'Farrell, or Princess Wonkyhair? We know the answer. The Blackburn declaration is sufficiently mealy-mouthed to serve as a salve for a divided Labor Party conference, and it shall stay to serve that purpose - the dodge on gay marriage at the most recent conference showed the extent to which the deal-cutters and pap-meisters run the NSW ALP, and what could be more apposite than a declaration conditioned and compromised into meaninglessness?
We should avoid compromising the salience of this proposition with a raft of additional concepts such as sustainability, equality and rights. While important, none of these are core to our mission.Harrumph! Quite so, what! John Murphy wants all those idealistic do-gooders to join the Greens and who are you, or the Keneallys, to quibble with Captain Stroganoff?
Ah yes: Labor as an ossified Ben Chifley Appreciation Society. How different it all seems, with a mad thwarted Foreign Minister on a UN jag, a Immigration Minister who looks like the most colourless bureaucrat imaginable, and with even a Wong or two. Every working person knows that whenever a Labor luminary quotes Chifley and/or Curtin, they are about to introduce measures that screws working people good and hard.
If we want to be a successful party, we need people. And in particular we need working people. People who can argue for us with their friends and families, donate to our campaigns, and most importantly advise and influence our candidates and MPs.No possibility of those people bringing their own ideas or even replacing those MPs, oh goodness no.
Granting automatic membership to every member of our affiliated unions would radically shift our membership towards working people in one stroke.It would give them something they don't want and don't value, and the organisation should be prepared for the full ramifications of that: bloat and apathy, the Keneally recipe for success.
Our party needs candidates that can win the support of working people.What about candidates who are working people? Look at all those early caucuses, with their autodidactic tinsmiths and cabinet-makers and wharfies. Face it, a candidate like Chifley or those potato-headed Premiers between McKell and Askin couldn't beat someone like, say, Verity Firth or either Keneally in today's ALP.
The federal electorate with the highest number of qualified tradies is Casey (Vic), held by a particularly gormless Liberal. Do you think the ShortCons will put up anyone but an equally gormless Labor candidate, some hack who'll run dead in the name of getting a good spot on the executive of the Amalgamated Bludgers & Whingers Union executive? You betcha.
A solid, community-based campaign would push lazy Tony Smith into oblivion, but he can rest assured that Victorian Labor would never trust a campaign to "suburban mums and dads".
We cannot allow our preselection processes to become an industrial battleground, nor our candidates and members to be hostage to public sector unions.Too late for that, too hard to unscramble that egg.
Each Federal and State electorate and each Council area should be required to hold at least 10 meetings per year to which every party member in the area is invited. Sitting MPs and councillors should be required to attend these meetings.Earlier you said those meetings are to be interesting, right? Which party leader is going to give sitting MPs leave from sitting days to attend local branch meetings? Then again, if you've listened to enough Keneally you'll watch out for phrases like "should be".
An advisory, policy development oriented conference would, by contrast, enable more far reaching and thoughtful debates and seminars because of the lower stakes involved.And would thus be more appealing for participants? This is real let-them-eat-cake stuff in terms of being disconnected from members.
Policy is the core activity by which we deliver on our brand promise.No, delivery is the core activity by which you deliver on our brand promise. The NSW governments of 2007-11 had policies up to billy-o but had no capacity to deliver, and were punished accordingly.
The establishment and maintenance of an effective progressive "Think Tank" should be a head office responsibility.And they will be appointed through head office patronage, with no connection at all to realities.
In the new media landscape, where investigative reporting is expensive and opinion is cheap and effective at attracting eyeballs, "balance" appears to consist in having commentators from both the Tory right and the anti-Labor left. Whenever we do take a progressive policy direction we face a strong reaction from a range of establishment forces.See, they're still focused on elite broadcast-only messaging, they can't bear the idea of feedback and engagement. Look at that quote and consider who is meant by "we".
Of course, this is really nothing new for the ALP. We used to run our own newspapers and radio stations to combat the problem. Our challenge now is to develop direct communications capabilities so we can manage within this context. This includes direct contact with our members and supporters using new forms of media – we should be able to send detailed responses and refutations of critical stories to every branch member within hours of a negative story.
"Come join the Labor Party, you'll get deluged with spam" - nah, doesn't work. Why on earth would anyone want closer engagement with a failing, fading mainstream media?
One of the key messages of the NSW defeat is that disunity and personal misbehaviour cannot be tolerated.Yeah, that'll really convince people that you've changed. The whole Princess Wonkyhair image fell apart because the bland pleasantries spouting nonsense over dysfunctional policies contrasted so sharply with the "Ah-am-very-angry" that accompanied every resignation, like the snarl of some miffed Pekinese. See the earlier point about delivery: nobody would mind if David Campbell got his dick sucked so long as the transport system worked. Campbell was taking time out instead of, not as well as, his official duties.
One person's or two people's "disunity" is someone else's passionate debate: depends what you think makes for an "interesting" meeting I suppose.
The Keneallys can take some comfort from the fact that their guaranteed-failure model of branch member disengagement and the draining co-dependency with a dysfunctional media is being embraced even more enthusiastically by the Federal Liberals. For all the dismissal of fringe online media by the journosphere and people like Lindsay Tanner, this piece contains some of the sharpest political commentary around.
... opposition Senators who still haven’t come to terms with being in opposition decide to tie up the committee on some faint hope of uncovering a scandal or shopping a ‘gotcha’ moment to the channel-hopping press gallery.That's what you shouldn't do, if you ever find yourself in Opposition: make yourself a tool of the press gallery. Make them do their own bloody research. You can see why media organisations cut their graduate intakes: when Opposition Senators volunteer to go trawling for you like they have nothing better to do, why train journalists in analysis?
I've said it before, and it bears repeating: why would the Shadow Attorney General make a dill of himself for the sake of a media organisation?
I asked the chair of the committee – a Government Senator – why they allowed this time-sucking waste of oxygen to spool out day after day, and was told exactly why. As long as the opposition are using up endless hours grilling public servants into a state of semi-consciousness, no possibility of actual transparency, disclosure or accountability is likely to arise.And so long as the government is capable of playing the opposition for mugs - 100% of bills put to a hung parliament by the Gillard government passed and enacted - you have to give them the benefit of the doubt, even in the face of appalling polls. If the Coalition were capable of the kind of cut-through at the policy level that their leader demonstrates on the non-policy Stunt Man level, they would have the calm assurance of a coming government rather than the shrill bluff they have now.
You can't refuse to engage openly and fully with people and issues and expect to worm your way back into government. Oppositions who think otherwise have either gone through searing re-examination and restructuring, like the Federal Libs did by the mid-'90s, or - like these jokers described above - are kidding themselves. It really is too much to expect vision and recognition of timeless values in a changing landscape, isn't it.