07 August 2007

Easily tricked

Once again a Jason Koutsoukis article yields no value in terms of actually letting you know what is going on in our political system. Here is Jase surprised by democracy:
"they" are middle Australia — the people who will decide the result on election day.

But in a time when 93 per cent of Australians think of themselves as being in the middle, getting to the right ones is not as easy as it used to be.

Professionals, tradespeople, wage and salary earners, those in small business — all are now lumped together in the amorphous middle.

Your job is not to do the lumping Jase, your job is to examine those who do the lumping and report back to the lumped on what you've found.
But look at the list of marginal seats Labor has to win — and the Coalition has to defend — and the swinging voters are still located in those same outer suburbs that have been the key to winning elections since Gough Whitlam's 1972 victory.

Here, according to Ozpolitics, is the list of seats Labor needs to win to form government in 2007:

  • Hindmarsh SA

  • Kingston SA

  • Bonner Qld

  • Wakefield SA

  • Parramatta NSW (actually held by Labor already, but nominally Lib due to boundary change)

  • Makin SA

  • Braddon Tas

  • Hasluck WA

  • Stirling WA

  • Wentworth NSW

  • Bass Tas

  • Solomon NT

  • Moreton Qld

  • Lindsay NSW

  • Eden-Monaro NSW

Parramatta, Makin, Bass, Braddon and Solomon aren't outer suburban. Bass was a safe Labor seat in the 1970s, which is why the byelection on the departure of Lance Barnard was so traumatic for Labor. Wentworth couldn't be any more inner-city if it tried, covering the relentlessly urban centres of Kings Cross and Darlinghurst - it has never been held by Labor. Eden Monaro is mostly rural, according to local-yokel Dr Phelps. Anyone who can't accept that Australia has changed demographically in the past 35 years is a fool.
When Parliament is not sitting, [Rudd] will talk to anyone and everyone he can in a bid to sell Labor's message.

Fancy that, a politician who will talk to anyone. Such a contrast from John Howard, or any other politician really.
Rudd's new forgotten people have little to do with the forgotten people of Robert Menzies, who coined the phrase in the early 1940s. What Menzies was on about was that there were people at the top who could look after themselves, working class people who could organise themselves through their trade unions, but then there was this other group who felt they were left out of politics. This was a much narrower constituency and not really the sort of people Rudd is talking about now.

This is exactly the constituency Menzies was talking about, notwithstanding obvious differences about hat-wearing and the idea that those who were returned servicemen were also those in their thirties with families to support. In what way are they different, Jase? You need to do a bit of work before you airily dismiss a notion like that, just as you need to do some more research into someone like Ashley - when a radio station has more than 650,000 listeners, you shouldn't be surprised to encounter real life encounters, nor so patronising when you do.
Clive Hamilton says the art of politics today is being able to carve out a conception of middle Australia that is ordinary man.

Leaving aside the idea that not all people are men, how is this conception of politics different to that of Menzies' or Whitlam's day? It isn't really, is it Jase. Your job is not just to transcribe what is said to you, but to unpack and examine it against what's really there.
Housing affordability may be an issue for many people, but that's not a problem Howard can be fairly blamed for.

Really? Why not? And what about the notion that a preposition is something you shouldn't end a sentence with? Jase's presence is an indictment on The Age as a whole.

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