Oct 182007

Okay, that’s it! I’m now officially over the federal election campaign.

I hoped into the car yesterday arvo for the drive home, switched onto PM and lit up a smoke for the high-point of my day. The drive home. What do I hear about the election campaign? Name-calling, innuendo, baseless untruth and misdirection. Not just from one side, but from both. Admittedly, the slanging was instigated by the Howardians, and it’s understandable that they’d be wanting to belt Labor severely around the head & shoulders for the entire six week campaign, but to me as a voter, if you’re going to do that sort of thing, do it from a factual, policy-driven perspective. Don’t drag up the blindingly obvious and try to make a ‘death-or-glory’ to-do out of it. So what if 70% of the proposed Labor cabinet are former Unionists? That’s the basis of the party, fer fuck sake! Does that automatically make them fornicators, adulterers, blasphemers and all other manner of anti-social criminals? Does it prove them to be anti-business zealots? Does it make them economic management dead-zones? Clearly, no because there’s no basis in fact for such hysteria.
Then we have our rationality assaulted by Peter Costello making the most ridiculous inference I’ve heard in the 32 years I’ve been voting. That Julia Gillard is somehow a communist because she worked for an ideologically socialist organisation in her youth. Ye Gods! Reds under the bed…..where’s Bob Santamaria when you really need him? The ghost of Adela Pankhurst has possessed Julia Gillard!
I’d be pleading for the conservatives to tone down the lunacy and return to the issues, but I know that would be a complete and utter waste of time. They clearly have no issues worthy of debate, else we’d see them tackling Labor on policy, not personality. Rudd has, rather ineffectively I believe, batted off the innuendo by retreating to cyberspace. If election campaigns are to be fought in the ether, then more voters than me will tune right out. Politics on that level risks devolving into a blog comment box flame war. I think we all know how futile that sort of thing is.
There’s an old but true adage in debating circles. That being where one or other opponent sinks to name-calling, logical fallacy and personal insult, they’ve already lost the debate. Labor has two choices, as I see it. Risk alienating the electorate by sinking to the coalition’s level, or staying on song, on policy, pointing out the flaws in government policy by factual representation and promoting their own in a rational manner. As a voter, albeit a rusted on social democratic voter, there’s a lot less risk of alienation in following the latter path. Adoption of the former by the Howardians simply cements the perception that I’ve held for a long, long time now, of right-wing conservatism having no substance, but an awful lot of bile.