Howard has more ‘friends’…..apparently. At least the media seem to think this YouTube venture of the PM’s is working that way.
I have to agree with Mark Bahnisch when he claims that Howard uses the medium badly. Just which demographic does he hope to be reaching? Teens & twenty-somethings? Yes, I know they vote too, but surely if they are the demographic he’s chasing, he’s tending to treat them as being of lesser intellect if he thinks making announcements at 5:00am on YouTube is going to make them change the way they’ll vote.
Of course, there’s the combative aspects of what he’s doing, which no reasonably aware twenty-something individual is going to miss. For a long time now it’s been a favourite tactic of Howard’s to handle the states as the enemy. Especially so since Rudd became leader of Federal Labor. The once master of the wedge hasn’t been all that successful over the past six months and these ‘interventions’ are clearly the moves of a man becoming desperate for a political edge over his opponents.
The wedge edge isn’t there anymore because Rudd is clever enough to see one coming and side-step it. This silent treatment from Labor on the NT intervention and the various aspects of the Haneef case must be driving Howard spare. This latest stunt of funding a public hospital which the medical collective in Tasmania, in concert with the Tasmanian government, had decided didn’t warrant additional resources not only flies in the face of true Federalism, but also disrupts the resource distribution to other public hospitals in Tasmania.
I strongly suspect that this years election campaign will be an even greater ‘all-stops-out’ pork-barrelling effort than previous years. The way the polls are reading, Howard is going to lose, no matter what. The margins will decrease as the election draws closer but I believe the gap is too broad to be effectively closed now. The Howard Government is on the nose for a variety of reasons, but from my perspective, especially so because they no longer answer to the people. The Haneef episode shows clearly that our own security forces aren’t obliged to admit to their blunders and the government backs them up while they’re making them. Next week, we’ll see a new raft of ‘secret squirrel’ laws aimed at shaving off even more of our civil liberties.
I came across this Melbourne Age article while looking for bits and pieces. Right at the end of it, the author asks some pointed questions and identifies the basic rights stripped away by the Howard government in it’s drive to make us all feel somehow safer. Frightening stuff.
I suppose that when you get right down to tin tacks, it’s not that surprising that JWH should be looking for friends anywhere he can find them. When you’ve effectively alienated more than half of the population in one way or another, and still want to be re-elected, you’ll do just about whatever it takes.