Today was the first day of the campaign which I pretty much gave a miss. The idiocy level was just too high.
There were journalists on twitter saying Julia talking about WorkChoices was a sign of her panicking. There was another saying that the MPs behind her at a press conference starting to look frightened.
I had to tune out. It was obviously not going to be a day of reason and balance, which is fair enough – after 35 days everyone who has been following the campaign would be a tad frazzled – and this morning’s Newspoll and newspaper front pages had those who favour the Libs all-a-twitter.
Of course Julia is talking up WorkChoices! Abbott may have said it’s dead and buried, but the polls show most people don’t believe him. The ALP is hoping enough people will get into the booth and think, you know, let’s not risk him bringing it in through the back door.
It is the same reason Abbott has been talking up the mining tax and the Greens-scare. Anyone who thinks talking up fear is a sign of panic hasn’t watched very many election campaigns. (Though I have to say Abbott coming out and saying he would keep the boats to 3 a year was bizarre. Why on earth would he put a number on it?)
This morning there were all the editorials declaring the paper’s verdict – most of the News.ltd ones went for the Liberal Party (well really? Yeah I know, it is such a shock, given their impartiality for the last 3 years). Easily the dumbest was in The Australian. Check out this pearler:
One thing is abundantly clear, however: Kevin Rudd's big-government experiment was a disaster. Whichever party is returned, this ugly revival of old-style central planning must be buried and cremated.
It gets better:
Not since Mr Whitlam has Canberra blindly unleashed such arrogance on the nation. Labor acted decisively when the financial crisis broke, but spent too much, too late for dubious public purpose. Mr Rudd took it as read that the crisis gave him licence to dip selectively into the Keynesian handbook…
“Dubious political purpose”? Ok that implies some pork barrelling. How about you give us some evidence… Oh you don’t have any? Well continue then:
But nothing could save Mr Rudd, not once middle Australia discovered the waste and mismanagement in the school building program and the reckless practices of government-commissioned roof-insulation installers.
Yep the BER waste – 97% satisfaction response. And “Government commissioned roof-insulation installers”? Err no that’s not right, they weren’t working for the Government, but hey, why bring facts into it at this late stage:
The whopper of them all, a $43 billion National Broadband Network, would have delighted Ben Chifley, the prime minister who sought a mandate in 1949 to nationalise domestic air travel and banking. We are as excited as anybody about the internet's potential, but there are not enough megabytes in the known universe to convince us that a state-owned monopoly of the broadband network is a policy for the future. An incoming Gillard government must not go any further with this enterprise without a full cost-benefit study.
Oooh excellent! Can I do the cost-benefit study? I’ll charge heaps and you won’t like my assumptions but, hey, just like the Liberals costing, the numbers will add up on my spread sheet. Idiotic.
She must resist the tertiary Left's moral blackmail and reacquaint her party with the values of middle Australia.
Over the course of a five-week campaign, he has become a substantial political figure and is the Liberal Party's best candidate for prime minister to emerge this century. Yet he offers only a modest vision for Australia, rejecting the soundly based consensus that immigration should be determined by labour demand and ruling out industrial relations reform.
You have to love that the Lib’s “best candidate for PM this century” is one who only offers “a modest vision for Australia”. Geez, what a wrap for the rest of the party since 2000!
Yet the financial crisis has revived a command economy culture we thought had been purged by Mr Hawke a quarter of a century ago.
The command economy? Geez, you have to love that following Keynes now makes you a communist.
As Jonathon Green wrote on twitter:
Oz plumps for TAbbott ... to end the curse of a resurgent command economy. And they want to save the Petrovs too I think.
There’ll be some polls out later tonight. It looks like the last polls will be around 51-49 or 52-48.
That means a close run thing.
My prediction? …
Well back on the night when the stories about Rudd being challenged surfaced I wrote:
But that doesn’t matter, the story has taken hold, and Julia might as well take over now – what the hell, due to this, the election is pretty much gone now anyway, she might as well have 5 months as PM.
And then two days later I recanted after seeing Julia perform and wrote:
So I’m jumping on the Julia bandwagon (well I’ve been on it for a while, but you know what I mean) and will declare this far out that the ALP will win with an increased margin.
Which just shows if you’re looking for consistency, you’ve come to the wrong place!
I am by nature deeply pessimistic about my side ever winning anything. In the 1998 Preliminary Final, when the Crows were up over the Western Bulldogs 18.11 to 9.13 at three quarter time, I was still worried they could lose it.
So am I worried that the ALP have blown this one? Of course I bloody well am! I’ve been worried they’d blow this one since about 7am on the 25th November 2007.
And they have done everything they could do to lose it since about then – from Rudd over promising on just about every single thing, to being afraid to say “deficit”, to not being able to sell the fact that going into deficit was the only sensible thing to do, to not defending the insulation scheme against idiotic reporting, to over promising on climate change and then backing down when push came to shove, to not defending the BER against even more idiotic reporting.
So many things wrong, which were actually so easy to solve – because they were not about the policy, but about selling the policy (only the ETS was a dog of a policy, but even there the selling was wrong). Rudd didn’t take the people with him. And that’s why he got rolled. And it’s why the ALP are not romping this in.
But all is not lost – in fact if the Liberals win, it looks very much that they will do so despite not winning the popular vote – something that still seems to be a big ask, and they will also win despite there being virtually zero sense that the country wanted to change Government – a first in Australian federal politics.
My concern about the Liberal winning is more personal because of this blog. I started it in 2008 because I liked watching politics and love writing. I had been commenting on other blogs, and thought writing my own would be fun – which it has been as I have been able to combine those two areas of interest. I do it only because it is fun. If the Libs win, however, there is no way I would be able describe watching Question Time as fun – especially having to put up with the most economically innumerate PM and Treasurer since Jim Cairns and Gough (sorry Gough your area wasn't economics) at the dispatch talking about the debt and deficit they have inherited etc etc.
Yes I could write about it – and yeah there would be a plethora of material with which to slaughter them. But fun? I don’t think so. I would likely write frustrated rants, and I’ve spent enough time writing angry rants about an ALP Government to want to do it every day. This is not my job, and if it’s not fun, I have to say I’d probably be better off spending some more time on the couch at night relaxing, than angrily banging out frustrated analysis (I know my wife would agree!).
So for that reason alone I hope the ALP wins (though of course there are many, many, many others).
And my prediction? Well it’s based on the fact that last week’s polls all had the ALP winning, and I have to say nothing I’ve seen this week suggests Abbott is storming back (mostly because Julia has done nothing to allow it – she has done well, especially at the RootyQ event). So on that basis I’m going to be very pessimistic and call it:
ALP 78, LNP 68, Indep 3, Greens 1.