Friday, August 20, 2010

Election 2010: Day 35 (or, To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow)

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.r623501_4201577

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 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.

keynesCentral planning?? Oh geez. Now I see, a stimulus program which stopped Australia from going into recession was just “central planning”, and “a disaster”.

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.

Umm, I’m not sure how to tell you this, but no one anywhere in this country is thinking Gillard has taken the ALP to the left. Imbecilic.Karl_Marx

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.


pudgyfeet said...

Love your blog. Thanks for helping me to stay sane during the campaign.

Jimbo said...

Same here, love your blog Grog, this and PB is the only place I've found sanity during this campaign!

Feeling very nervous about the next 24 hrs...

Martin Miles said...

I've followed this whole campaign by reading your daily posts, my Twitter feed and tuning OUT of the mainstream media. It's all I needed, fantastic work.

Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Grog. These few weeks may have taken it out of you, but it's been worth it to your readers. It's an enormous relief to know that there is at least one person out there in the media who is capable of incisive analysis, and who is unashamed to take a political perspective (instead of pretending to be non-partisan while every word chosen betrays their affiliation).

ewe2 said...

Agreed. Whatever the result, I do hope you persist Grog, for the selfish reason that I cannot go back to mainstream reporting; this election has destroyed my trust and interest in 7.30Reportland et. al. Whatever the result, the media landscape is changed with far-reaching repercussions for we are far from a minority.

Roger said...

Yes, agree with the earlier comments - i.e., good work throughout. It's the consistency I admire. Anyone can get off a good one or two.

On entrails reading, I am near to you, but not quite (Melbourne) in the same place: ALP 78, LNP 69, Ind. 3.

Dave said...

I love how the Australian's editorial calls for the Coalition to be elected to end big government. Perhaps they forgot that Abbott is the one opposing a market based mechanism to deal with climate change, while advocating using tax payers money to intervene in the market in a sort of reverse carbon tax that takes money from the people and gives it to those causing the problem.

Anonymous said...

On ya Grog. i have been tippling in trepidation. also i hear on the grapevine that one of the major retailers is going to pump out some large discounts on their liquor departments tomorrow. we shall all be pickled.

Anonymous said...

If for no other reason than to deny the Foxnews of our world (Sky & The Australian) I want the current Government to be returned. Elected office has a value and we can not let it be taken away by rampaging and focused media.
This Government has been both very good and just average at times. It has not been bad. It should get to go around again.

Rads said...

Fantastic blog Grog! I only discovered the site on day 19 of the campaign and have made it a nightly ritual since then to check you out. Great work covering all areas of the media!

Roger said...

"tippling in trepidation"

Love that, by one of the anons.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Grog, your words, a sane and intellegent voice in a sea of CRAP. The meejay have truly shown themselves, I only hope that the average punter is smart enough to see, unfortuneatly I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Good article mostly, the attacks on the NBN are pathetic and tony is offering nothing.
Julia might not be the best... but Abbot is worse
so im prob voting the sex party and greens

Topher said...

Thanks for the blog - it's been the best commentary on the election around.

Not having your blog would be another bad thing about the libs winning (to add to a very long list)

Going to pollytics has been my usual cure for worry that the libs will win. I think the ALP will win easily enough.

Anonymous said...

Whatever tomorrow brings your posts have been thoroughly entertaining. Loved them!
Partisan but nevertheless incisive commentary is unfortunately rare but always a delight.
Being a political junkie, yours has been one of the few blog sites worthy of our regular attendance.
For that alone thank you!

PSOUP said...

Great work Grog.

Have read your blog avidly.
All I can say is, should Abbott manage to fall in, we will have become a "guided democracy". With the MSM and the mining companies doing the "guiding" !
Not a pleaseant thought.

Leesa Watego said...

Go the Grog! Regardless of the outcome tomorrow - please keep up the blogging.

phil said...

After this pseudo psycho-drama is spent, we nee to agitate - long and loud - for:
- an end to personalised, fact-free, demonising and scare-mongering advertisements 9and every advertisement has been guilty of this); and
- politicians who do not answer questions.

We are better than that, and deserve better.

Anonymous said...

thank you grog, i've been an avid follower of your blog ever since i had the good fortune to stumble upon it 20 days ago.
you truly are an island of sanity in an ocean of utter crap.

Casablanca said...

Thanks Grog for your blog which I discovered long before the Election was called - it was often the highlight of my day to read your take.

Rudd's inability to spruik his Government's many achievements and plans seems to have caught on within the whole Party.

Even Julia seemed to be incapable of uttering much more than a mea culpa for the 2.7% of mistakes identified in the BER Report. Not once did I hear her say "but just remember that 97.3% of BER Projects were successful". There were similar good stats on the Home Insulation scheme but Labor sort of said "guilty as charged" each time Abbott accused them of waste and industrial manslaughter. The campaign was death by a 1,000 Liberal slogans.

My spirits have been raised a little by an article referenced over at the Political Sword entitled “Late surge for Gillard in both media & public sentiment” It states that: “The Labor party commenced the week with a surge in the share of voice that they were commanding potentially linked to the late campaign launch held, with this momentum and dominant share of voice being maintained throughout the week”.

Fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

I too am cynical and terrified. At least I don't feel so alone since joining your blog and following your tweets. From within Julie Bishop's seat, inside the mining fishbowl, listening to the cash-cow mooing on, it is nice to have this conversation, if only one-sided! Ta.

Pip said...

Thank you again Blog, in the Oz today, a piece by Sid Maher, with Sydney radio jock Ray Hadley interviewing PM Julia Gillard. He's insisting that it will cost him between $2000 and $4000 to rewire his house to take full advantage of the NBN. JG says thats just not true. "You are simply not right to raise this fear of cost for people". Up pops Andrew Robb complaining that people are being deceived; and so it goes on and JG is still managing to remain composed. I'd be knee-capping these malignant articles [in my internal monologue]. We all want Labor to win, and I would take especial delight in seeing the back of Christopher Payne/Sturt and Andrew Southcott/Boothby in my fair city. One more thing. Neither major Party is saying what they'll do about funding ABC. Labor says look at what we've done this term. We can live in hope that Aunty will be reminded of the Charter re independence and stop relaying the contents of news ltd. Oh well, I'm certain we'll all be joining you at some point later tonight, hopefully not crying in our soup.

Longfulan said...

Watched Alan Ramsey on One+One last night. Expressed in his usual way, his utter disgust with the media and the politicians...but that's Alan. It's a pity he has retired.

Grog, one of the many things that I enjoy about your blog is that it hasn't been taken over by the party staffers. I hope you have such a filter. I've given up on the popular blogs because of the inane, lying staffer input.

Will buy a nice bottle of red for tonight's TV watching and hope not to be crying into it!

BTW, Ramsey referred to Abbott as a 'political goon'. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Not many of us know enough to be able to put the information together in the way that you have done to make these points of view heard. The best that we can do most of the time is scream into the bottom of a bucket. Thanks for your thoughts, analysis, humor, honesty and good sense. It has been a pleasure having your column as bed time reading. And thanks to your family for the time that they have given us, too.

Go well, and here's hoping for an ALP win tonight.


Longfulan said...

Just a little more if I may...reading what many non-staffers are saying in the blogs, there seems to be a desperation within people's thinking, about the attitude politicians have now. They seem no longer interested in representing their constituents, but look to party affiliations, urgers from industry, developers and other vested interests, including those foreign. I just wish they would get back to representing the people of this country.

Amused said...

Blog is great Grog. I wish I'd discovered it earlier.

I started to read The Australian's editorial but couldn't force myself to. "Command economy". Jeez. I really wonder who writes this crap and if they actually believe it. Perhaps that one was written by Rupert himself. It certainly has the flavour of being written by someone who has only a vague grasp of what's actually happening in Australia and did read (as far as I could make myself read) like something from someone who fondly remembered the 50s.

The sooner Rupert pay-walls it so it can disappear up its own arse the better.

Anonymous said...

"Sydney radio jock Ray Hadley ... insisting that it will cost him between $2000 and $4000 to rewire his house to take full advantage of the NBN."

Wow. The technological ignorance of Australians is just phenomenal. Maybe we deserve the Liberals.

I doubt that it takes $4000 to run a couple of cables and put in a few wall sockets. If it's a really big house with lots of computers he might want to put in a couple of wireless access points connected by a few cables. But that wouldn't cost much - a few hundred dollars maybe.

Anonymous said...

Grog, please don't stop blogging if Abbott wins. I would need your insights and your humour to get me through until the next election.

Blogs such as yours have had a direct influence on the MSM's coverage of this election, and are likely to become even more influential as people turn off the failed fourth estate.

If you simply can't bring yourself to continue, please consider writing a book based on your blog posts over the last five weeks?


eamon said...

Hey Grog, I gather you're a tennis fan, so you'd chuckle at this snippet which feeds into ABC bias in a weird way.

I was following the Cincinatti Masters on the web this morning, and Fed had just won the first set over Davydenko 6-4 and was up 1-0 in the second. So would you believe just then Tony Eastley comes on the wireless box with the announcement that Federer has lost the first set 6-3 but had 'fought back' to win the second set 6-4.

I hope the ABC are predicting a similar result for that other tennis has-been in Bennelong. Sheesh.

Leith said...

Like others, I too came by your blog once I refused to listen to/read mainstream media, and I'm so glad I found it AND those who follow you.

Oh and fellow "mining fishbowl" resident, I took great pride in beating Julie Bishop in a 7km run. :)

Please keep writing Grog.I love your political critiques, but will read anything you do. I am encouraging my 17 year old aspring writer son to read you as well!

Here's to a red in the house by tonight everyone!

Charlie said...

The Australian is just a joke. Really. Has been for years.

For me the big issue to emerge out of this election is how shabby the MSM have been. They really did fall down on the job this time around. This must be robustly addressed by our society if we are to have properly accountable governance.

Hopefully blogs like yours (and Pollytics, Poll Bludger, and many others) will play an important role in that.

Thanks for your efforts.