14 December 2007

Don't blame me

I wasn't going to focus on the Liberal Party because they're not the government any more. There are two reasons why I haven't stuck to that: one, because the country's new government is largely in Bali, and two, because it's always amusing to see people who have to move on but won't.

These three silly articles show only that things will have to get worse before they get better for the Liberal Party. There is no "business as usual" with such profound change. Editors that commission such pieces should not accept flaccid, self-contradictory pieces, and force writers to think through what they're saying - and by extension, think through what the Liberal Party has to offer going forward.

In this article, Minchin both makes the case for change and undermines it.

The 1983 Valder report doesn't need to be improved upon, apparently, and isn't the Liberal Party lucky to have people like Nick Minchin who've seen it all before? The 1996 election victory learned nothing from the Valder report and neither did the three victories following it. The Liberal Party has followed Kipling's poem If: it has met with Triumph and Disaster and treated those two impostors just the same.

Minchin is trying to position himself as Australia's Cheney, an absurd position without the protection of office. He and his are so many dogs in the manger of the Liberal Party, preventing any departure from Howard such that their feelings are protected though the Liberal Party go to the dogs. Any move against the Dave Clarke Taliban in NSW would be strenuously, if furtively, resisted by Minchin.

As to the pathetic bleatings of the Victorian Liberals in this article: that's what happens when you turn a once-great party into a cult of personality. Your golden boy failed; blame yourselves for your monoculture of mediocrity. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves: start winning some seats and preselecting people other than Kevin Andrews or the sorry bunch cringing in the dark corners of state politics.
... former senator and Australia's current high commissioner in London, Richard Alston, a Melburnian, has emerged as a favourite to become the Liberal president when he returns to Australia early next year.

Tony, it's up to you to do some research on Alston and tell us what that would mean for his governance of the Liberal Party. Can you imagine the collected wisdom of Richard Alston and Brendan Nelson identifying and recruiting talented candidates for public office, raising money, seeking policy input? Only if you really like the idea of a longterm Rudd government. The Vics could learn a lot about politics by sitting this one out and watching the action from Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Find out why all those big companies "based" in Melbourne are no longer run by Scotch boys and you'll realise that not having a Victorian PM is the least of your worries. The last two PMs from NSW came from Canterbury Boys' High School and De La Salle College Bankstown, two schools bereft of snob value. The last 'Victorian' PM came from Perth Modern School.

The only reason Frydenberg would have a piece like this appear under his name is because he wants the advantages of seeming like a man with the answers for the future of the Liberal Party, without the drawbacks of actually having to come up with ideas that, like, have to be tested and put to the test and stuff.
Significantly, the Liberals' success in 1996 was not the product of a wholesale change of its policies and personnel as promoted by Puplick.

Rather, it was due to a well-crafted strategy that appealed to mainstream voters, under the campaign slogan "For All of Us"

Yairs, that and thirteen years of Labor government Josh. Prepared to wait? You've promised Liberals that the wait need not be that long.

Personally, I thought that Puplick's point that more people in NSW buy tickets to the Sleaze Ball than join the Liberal Party was quite telling. No mention of party members in your screed, Josh. It will be hard convince people when you think they're irrelevant, and you should have learned that by now.
Victory can be achieved again by adhering to the philosophical foundations that dominated the Howard era — free markets, individual choice ... and an outward-looking, ambitious foreign policy.

In actual policies since 1996, rather than rhetoric beforehand, we can see that John Howard wasn't particularly committed to free markets. As for foreign policy: now you're just being a wanker. Foreign policy hasn't been a vote-changer since Vietnam. Best not to draw attention to foreign policy failures of the era that occurred on your watch, Josh.
But with Labor expected to govern with a buffer of only about eight seats, the Coalition may need a 2% swing to regain Government. Recent history shows that first-term Australian governments invariably suffer swings against them — 1% for Whitlam in 1974, 1.1% for Fraser in 1977, 1.45% for Hawke in 1984 and a sizeable 4.6% for Howard in 1998.

Again with the centralist arrogance that "Australian governments" are only those formed in Canberra.

The pattern for all state and territory elections in Australia since 1995 is that Labor squeaks into office, perform in a disciplined and responsible way while the Coalition becomes a rabble, and are then rewarded with landslide after landslide. It is that pattern Josh, not long-lost days of 1998 or 1974, that is most instructive here.
Brendan Nelson and Julie Bishop cannot afford to let the Liberals be framed by Rudd as opposing his commitment to saying sorry, signing Kyoto and rolling back certain aspects of WorkChoices.

Couldn't agree more - but this will happen over the dead bodies of Alexander Downer, Nick Minchin and Eric Abetz. This is a sacrifice I'd be prepared to make but the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party - and the individuals themselves - aren't quite there yet.
It is a political reality that Rudd will be able to discharge these commitments and it would be counterproductive for the Liberals to oppose them. That said, the Liberals can give some ground on these issues but still own the field.

This is the Beazley conundrum - they gave away too much, tried to look responsible and owned no field worth having. Insofar as you propose anything at all Josh, there's nothing there.
On indigenous affairs, the Coalition's Northern Territory intervention and its commitment to holding a referendum for a new constitutional preamble were bold, popular and long overdue initiatives that pave the way for practical and symbolic reconciliation.

It was empty guff and backed by a career of indifference to any Aboriginal policy other than ye olde style paternalism.
On the environment, the combination of the Coalition's policies on deforestation, emissions trading and clean coal technology, combined with the international agreements it brokered at APEC, provides a platform from which to argue.

What policy on deforestation? APEC produced a press release that was undercut by the Chinese, George W Bush, and Alexander Downer's late night drinks. There is no platform to sustain anything, forget it.
Margaret Thatcher once said: "We must remember our duty to nature before it's too late." As a passionate campaigner on climate change she recognised that the public looked to the Government to safeguard the environment for future generations.

Now this is bullshit. I'd sooner believe that Margaret Thatcher shagged Robbie Williams than she said that, or backed it up.
The Liberals can ill afford to be left behind on either the practicality or the symbolism of this issue.

Too late, and congratulations for providing no suggestions on how they might develop environmental credentials without pissing off their base and repudiating Howard (and Minchin, and Abetz, and Downer).
Nineteenth-century European statesman Otto von Bismarck once famously remarked "politics is not an exact science". There is no single formula for victory.

Even a sound economy and proven leadership may not be enough.

The 2007 election showed that while the public wanted continuity on the broad issues, they also sought an articulated focus on the future. This leaves plenty of hope for the Liberals and scope for the modern Liberal philosophy.

May not be enough? Surely the last election is enough for anyone to learn this.

The quote from Bismarck doesn't give you a licence to be wishy-washy, Josh. If the Liberals have to repudiate the people to whom you were a "former senior advisor" in order to build that future, and to leave you behind, then so be it.

Turn away, turn away - this is a patient only beginning to realise the extent of its injuries and register pain and other loss. At least they're not the Democrats, but they never knew what it was to be "the party of all Australians". A dark night of the soul begins only once the light of the sun has faded beyond the twilight besetting us today.


Now that Walt Secord has been shunted off to a junior minister's office: isn't it great to have a government without press secretaries? So quiet, and the nation functions admirably.


  1. In his article in The Age Josh Frydenberg quoted Margaret Thatcher who once said: "We must remember our duty to nature before it's too late."

    Andrew Elder made the comment: “Now this is bullshit. I'd sooner believe that Margaret Thatcher shagged Robbie Williams than she said that, or backed it up.”

    It took me approximately 10 seconds to do a Google search to find out Thatcher DID say it at the 2nd World Climate Conference in 1990. Here’s the weblink. (The quote is in the section “Man and Nature: Out of Balance”). http://www.margaretthatcher.org/speeches/displaydocument.asp?docid=108237

    How about doing a bit of basic research before spouting smartarse comments? Your tardiness doesn't give you much credibility as a commentator.

  2. Now do some research into Margaret Thatcher's environmental record, shouldn't take you any longer. Bit like John Howard's commitment tio the welfare of Aborigines: a few words in the twilight hours and not much in actual policy terms.

    I don't mind you calling me a smartarse, but I do object to you trying to be a smartarse, and failing, while doing so.

    When you respond, use your real name: it cannot be any more ridiculous than your pseudonym. You're not interesting and you're not a bystander.

  3. And this blog will drone on and on and on about the Liberals.
    If you can't say it short why say it at all.

  4. We can't all be lite-brite-n-trite.

    For many, the internet is a place for fantasies. Let's explode two right here. First, I won't pretend that I have any great authority or influence. Second, people like you shouldn't pretend that if I don't make observations about the Liberals, everything will be fine and the Liberals will have no problems.

    Anyway, I don't know why my blog shows up in your frequent and fevered searches for 'britney' or 'bizarre p0rn'.