Sunday, September 7, 2008

All things to all people

The WA State election result means one of 2 things - it means people in WA don't care who runs their state, they just wanted to send a message to Kevin Rudd, or the people in WA had had enough of Alan Carpenter, and were annoyed that he went to the polls 6 months early for no good reason.

Now I think the later, and thought as much a month ago when the election was called. The Liberal Party obviously thinks differently. Joe Hockey for one is sure the WA election is all about Rudd; he said today on Meet the Press that the result meant people were disgruntled because they are now worse off under Labor than they were under Howard.

He then went on to acknowledge that global economic conditions were better last year, but he still blames Rudd for that saying:

Mr Rudd sent the wrong message during the election campaign.
"We were warning Australians that there were dark clouds on the horizon, we knew they were coming, we knew that international credit markets were deteriorating rapidly and liquidity was going out of those credit markets, and it was going to have an impact on Australia," he said.
"Kevin Rudd was offering a message that things would just go on, there'd be no risk in a change of government.

Yep the Libs thought things were so bad that they decided the only smart way forward was to "Go For Growth"; and I guess Rudd was the reckless one when at his election launch said it was time to listen to the Reserve Bank and end the mad cycle of election spending. But then Hockey is never one to let truth get in the way of anything.

The most interesting point from the WA election, and the by-election in Lyne is the performance of the National Party. In NSW, the seat vacated by Mark Vaile, saw a 30% swing against the National Party to the independent Robert Oakeshott. There are now 3 independents in the House of Reps - all of them are ex-National Party members...

In WA, the National Party is not in coalition with the Liberal Party, and they actually won a seat from the Liberal Party and will likely hold the balance of power. Little wonder Warren Truss is suggesting the National Party may split from the Liberal Party federally. (And makes the recent merge by the QLD National and Liberal Parties even more bizarre)

The problem is that traditional National Party voters don't much like the city slicker, totally economic free-trade Liberal Party; and Liberal Party voters by and large think the National Party is a party of country hicks who they wouldn't be seen dead with. Take Malcolm Turbull's seat of Wentworth - you think many of those around Double Bay feel a deep affinity with those on the land? Conversely, do you think anyone who lives in Longreach thinks those in Double Bay are anything other than rich yuppie wankers?

In the past they have kept together purely because they hate Labor, but finally rural voters have realised that a vote for the National has just meant a vote for the Liberal Party; a party that in reality cares only for rural issues when the election comes round - and as the population in the country decreases and more and more "sea change" folk move in to the rural areas, the Liberal Party is going to care less about "those on the land" and more about "those in the electorate"; and if that means catering to those who have moved from Wentworth type areas to retirement on the coast, then so be it.

Interesting times ahead. I don't know which way it will go; but I suggest the National Party needs to be more prepared to shop around it's vote rather than merely be taken for granted by the Libs.
In the most recent Gallup Poll in America the state of affairs is pretty much back to where it was before both conventions. Maybe I was premature in calling it for Obama, but I'm still pretty confident Obama will win it from here.

Anyhoo, to go out with here's a great clip again from Jon Stewart highlighting the hypocrisy of American right wing commentators: