Barry Cassidy sums up what I think we all recognise now as a lack of political smarts within government.
Not what is said, but how it’s said and to whom at what time. Statesman(person?)ship is not something which can be taught, I believe. The ability to project oneself, carry a message and garner respect either resides within the individual, or it doesn’t. As much of the Iron Lady as Julia Gillard attempts to project, all I ever see is a woman trying desperately to be something she’s not.
She called ‘game on’ to Tony Abbott when she took the big chair, and it’s been that way ever since. Abbott is a brawler, an intellectual thug. The only politician in recent years capable of putting him down would have been Mark Latham, and as sweet as that irony is, doesn’t that just about sum up the tactic Abbott has employed? Aggressive to the point of irrationality, directionless to the point of illogic. But Abbott has the tried & true conservative weapon at his disposal. Fear and loathing. The dog whistle approach, and doesn’t it resonate among the boganite ignoramus demographic in suburb land. Anyone who watched any of the so-called news broadcasts last night would have seen the bogans in full swing, shrieking at each other across a shopping mall or worse, physically harassing those they see as a threat to their exclusivity among their own kind. Magpies behave in the same manner.
So how does Gillard address this lack of rationality which has crawled into civil discourse in this country? She can’t, it’s that simple. You cannot be a states(person)man and have the blood of a sitting Prime Minister on your hands. You cannot make a definitive statement during an election campaign, then weeks later backflip on that statement. A male PM could, and has. Howard got away with it. Remember core & non-core promises? Keating did as well….remember L.A.W. law tax cuts? Neither of them suffered nine months of vitriolic hatred spawned by a deliberate campaign of bile & hatred from their respective Oppositions. Of course, neither of them operated in the time of social & mass media-led hyperbole and rank rhetorical devices deliberately designed to incite the screw-loose brigade. Gillard has to suffer that, and try to find some means of countering it. Frankly, I think she should adopt similar tactics. That sort of thing worked a treat for Keating, but then, Julia Gillard is no Paul Keating.
She will survive through to the next election, due sometime in late 2013 or early 2014, notwithstanding someone spitting a dummy & resigning, dying or being kidnapped by aliens. After that, well the way things look, it’ll be conservative pillow fights in The Lodge. Only time can save Labor now. Time and hopefully the finding of some real political smarts, maybe even some gonads. Currently, it doesn’t look much like anyone in government has the ability to sell ice in the Sahara. All the opposition has to do is continue on with what they’re doing. Nag! Nag! Carp! Carp! while frightening the bejeezus out of the morbidly mindless with baseless rhetoric. Apparently, the worst day in government is better than the best day in opposition. I doubt Labor has seen it’s worst day yet, nor whether the coalition has seen it’s best in opposition. The show is pretty lack-lustre all ‘round.