Every other OzBlogger seems to have done it, so I will too. HUZZAH!
November 24 is the day, and the next six weeks will be possibly the longest we’ve experienced in the run-up to any polling day for the last 12 years. Will Little Johnny Howard be given the ouster? I fervently hope so, although I hear Queensland is still a blister on the Labor thumb.
The main thing I find irritating about election campaigns these days…not that we haven’t been enmeshed in one for the past year anyway…is the move away from what we elect representatives for in the first place. It was well stated on Radio national this morning. Our electoral process has devolved to one of a US-style presidential campaign, where voters are encouraged by the media to concentrate only on the two leaders of the primary parties. Hell, I don’t live in Griffith, nor do I live in Bennelong. I live in Bowman and I’ll be concentrating on Andrew Laming, making damn certain my vote doesn’t go his way, primarily or preferentially.
Who’s the Labor guy in Bowman? A young fella by the name of Jason Young. Who is he? Fucked if I know, but he’s a local, he’s a worker and he’s much closer to my demographic than Andrew Laming. Besides, I can’t stand people who stand at a major intersection in peak hour, waving and smiling inanely at the passing parade as a means of showing a public face. I’ll be voting for Young because he represents the political ideology I identify with, not because his party leader is Kevin Rudd. As a person, I’d suggest Rudd isn’t a bad guy, but he’s not my demographic either. He’s a christian for starters and for me, that holds all manner of undesirable baggage to be carting into a position of people’s representative for my liking.
My other half is highly likely to be voting Green or Democrat because that’s what she does. She cares about the environment and doesn’t think a lot of mainstream political parties, preferring to play devil’s advocate more often than not. Sadly, I think she’s so very typical of so many Australian’s. She has no interest in politics apart from what she gleans from me, and that’s a sad development of the political climate in this country. Voters just aren’t interested, in the main, sufficient to take a real, unabiding interest in the process. Unfortunately, I believe today’s pollies take great advantage of that apathy.
Post 24 November, I don’t believe anything will change much in federal politics. Both major parties are so similar in outlook as to be virtually indistinguishable on many policy issues. This similarity has evolved from necessity due almost entirely to the Howardian factor. It’s a direct consequence of how John Howard plays the game, for it is a game to him. A deeply tactical game of winner take all and Howard doesn’t like to lose. Everything thing he does, everything he says has a political context. That’s why Rudd has positioned Labor so very close to the conservatives. In naval combat, a swift, small destroyer can attack a battleship if her captain attacks beneath the maximum depression of the battleship’s guns. Get in close and the enemy can’t use it’s major weapons for fear of wounding itself. As Sun Tzu would offer, “Conform to the enemy’s tactics until a favorable opportunity offers; then come forth and engage in a battle that shall prove decisive.”
Sun Tzu’s teachings may also be seen in the Howardian tactics, practiced these last eleven years by John Howard. “He will conquer who has learnt the artifice of deviation” and “In war, practice dissimulation, and you will succeed.” This upcoming battle will doubtless be the most fierce, tightest and most politically destructive we’ve seen in a century. This is the master politician against the younger, more strategic foe. The winner will be the party…or leader…which doesn’t blink and stands steadfast by their tactics to date. The one which blinks will be yesterday’s newspaper headlines.