…. and why they don’t.
…. and why they won’t get one.
(by Ray Dixon – a realist who really doesn’t care who wins as long as Sophie is tossed out)
If the latest Galaxy opinion poll is to believed (and they have a 100% track record of getting election results right), tomorrow the Coalition will be swept to power with a 53 – 47 two-party preferred vote that would see them pick up anything from 15 to 25 seats.
The only qualifier to that is the poll was conducted BEFORE shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey’s sweaty and embarrassing announcement yesterday that, despite saying for 3 years that Labor was “wrecking the economy” with “too much spending, too much debt and deficits” and that the budget was in “crisis”, the Coalition is not capable of doing much better and, in fact, will inflict a range of cuts to people for a bottom line that is not worth the pain they will put the lower-end through – in order to give benefits to the top end.
That’s about the size of the Coalition’s economic cred and I’m not going to go into the full detail any further because it speaks for itself , except to say that the coalition plans to cut $40 billion (that doesn’t need to be cut) while spending nearly all of that on over-generous and unnecessary schemes like the Paid Parental Leave Scheme that favours above average earners.
If you don’t believe that then you don’t understand the game they’re playing and that, as usual, the coalition simply wants to redistribute the nation’s wealth by taking more from the lower end and piling it over to those who don’t need it. To their ‘friends’. That’s the coalition way – stuff the poor and bow to the rich.
It’s no wonder the respected Economist Magazine (which traditionally supports the conservative side of politics) has come out clearly endorsing Kevin Rudd , despite his failings. They simply say that Labor and Rudd’s numbers add up and that their policies present a better plan and vision for our future. Abbott, the Economist says, just doesn’t have it and does not impress them one little bit.
You see, the thinking and credible economists out there – all over the world – are right: The Labor government has indeed successfully managed the economy over the past 6 years and have wisely used debt and budgetary implements to ensure we remain one of the strongest economies in the world with:
- High economic growth
- Increased living standards (see this link if you don’t believe that)
- High job growth
- Relatively low unemployment
- Record low interest rates
And the list goes on. I could mention the AAA credit rating, etc but I don’t want to sound like I’m simply rattling off Labor rhetoric. The reality is that all the crap we’ve heard from Tony Abbott and his supporters at News Ltd about Labor’s economic performance has been just that – utter crap. Abbott has effectively conceded the coalition cannot do a better job and all he’s done is throw the budget around and juggled the numbers to make it look like he has a better plan when, plainly, he doesn’t.
I won’t go into other issues like asylum seekers because it’s been done to death and is about neutral in my opinion anyway.
And I won’t even dwell on the fact that Tony Abbott is planning to WASTE $30 billion on an inferior NBN that won’t work and that will be of no value unless they ultimately adopt Labor’s sensible fibre-to-the-home. As it now stands the Coalition NBN is just a giant gift to Telstra who will still own (and control) the last 200 metres!
No, when it comes to the crunch, there’s only one thing that should really matter when deciding who should run the country.
In the words of Bill Clinton, “It’s the economy, stupid“.
And I am saying that on the thing that really matters – the economy – there are no grounds for throwing out the Rudd Labor Government …. and the Coalition is not offering a better alternative anyway.
It’s no wonder the coalition left its announcement on costings so late because to do otherwise would have risked seeing the polls turn around in Labor’s favour.
And it’s no wonder Joe Hockey was sweating like a pig, looked like he didn’t want to be there and came across with all the credibility of Richard Nixon in his heyday – not even Joe the used car salesman could sell that lemon with any conviction. He even said (without a hint of irony) his alternative budget forecasts were about “growing jobs”, which completely ignored the fact the savings included 12,000 jobs being cut !
Talk about telling porkies, Joe’s performance, such as it was, reminded me of the opening line from a famous Jimi Hendrix song,
“Hey Joe, where you going with that gun in your hand?” ….
… because Joe Hockey had just shot a huge hole in the coalition’s own economic plans and credibility.
And that – the economy, stupid – is why I say: Labor deserves another term.
Okay, and that said, the fact is Labor looks very likely to lose. Now, I am not one to make excuses because, by and large, I am of the opinion that the Australian public (for all it’s failings) does usually get the decision right when it comes to the ballot box. I can’t think of one election in my time where the result was not pretty much as it should have been so, given Labor seems destined to be dumped, there must be a reason why the voting public has determined that they don’t deserve another term. All I have to do is find it!
Well, it should be pretty obvious. It’s only about 10 weeks since Kevin Rudd was reinstated as Prime Minister when Labor finally realised – much to their surprise but no one else’s – that Julia Gillard was not going to turn the ship around and would lead them to a wipeout of Titanic proportions.
The Gillard knifing of Rudd in 2010 (when he didn’t need to be knifed) and her subsequent trashing of his name in a very public manner over her 3 years as PM is well documented. It stained Rudd. It damaged his credibility.
And he simply has not been back in the job long enough to regain that credibility and prove that he’s ‘righted the ship’.
People still have doubts about Rudd, especially seeing that he’s been running at a chaotic pace, still making policy on the run (in some cases), and still coming across as autocratic and ‘full of talk’. Because he had to. Because he wasn’t given enough time to re-establish his position as PM before going into the election. Labor left it too late to reinstate him and it has backfired.
And that has created a lack of confidence in Labor’s leadership that makes many voters look at and believe all the so-called economic failings of the government.
It’s an old saying but it’s very true, that Oppositions don’t win elections, Governments lose them. And that is exactly what looks like happening here.
If Labor loses (and I can’t see how they won’t) then in my opinion they deserve to lose … due to their failure to come across as a stable and united party.
I don’t blame Kevin Rudd for that, although the debate as to who destabilised the party will go on forever. I don’t care to debate it – I’ll just say that In my opinion it was patently obvious all along that Kevin Rudd was (and still is) the right person to be Prime Minister of this country. Labor should have realised this much earlier and reinstated Rudd by no later than early this year. But they didn’t. And, as a result, they will lose. And rightfully so – barring a miracle on Saturday.
That’s just about all I have to say, except to reiterate my reasoning, which is:
1. Labor has managed the economy well enough to deserve another term.
2. The coalition does not offer a better alternative and has effectively conceded it can’t do a better job.
3. Labor, however, has suffered from internal squabbling over the leadership and lost the public’s confidence, or at least lost confidence with a large enough part of the electorate to tip them out.
4. On that basis, they will lose and deservedly so – they crapped in their own nest.
Yes, I realise I’ve reduced the whole debate to the simple, base points of the macro economy and leadership.
But in the end, folks, that is what really decides elections.
That is all there is – you see, politics, like football, is really a simple game and it’s just a matter of which ‘team’ the voters have confidence in.
(On a brighter [foot]note, though, I’m reasonably confident that Sophie Mirabella will lose her seat of Indi. In fact, Tony Abbott took the extraordinary step today of telephoning Joseph Thomsen on ABC Local Radio in Albury-Wodonga in a last desperate attempt to pitch for Sophie. He didn’t do very well or do Sophie any favours, btw, and had no credible answer as to why she’s so much on the nose around here. You see, Sophie stinks – politically speaking.)