Jun 042007

PM ‘scaremongering’ on climate change
History, it’s often said, always repeats itself.

In 2004, we were constantly regaled with John Winston Howard and his “Who Do You Trust” lyric. Labor can’t run an economy. Beware of changing governments. Who do you trust to deliver cheap interest rates, and so the rhetoric went on. Absolutely none of it with any basis in fact or evidentary validity yet Howard kept it up for the last six months of the campaign. The unfortunate thing being that it worked for him. He managed to place the seed of doubt into the electorate’s collective mind by playing boogey-man. Not that Mark Latham didn’t self-destruct at the end, because he did, but the fear factor put forth by Howard did the real damage.
Here we are, three years later with coalition fortunes in the crapper and a much older PM seemingly out of rabbits. Or is he? There’s a moth-eaten, mange-ridden, lop-eared bunny, which Howard appeared to have abandoned, called ‘Fear’. He’s suddenly decided, in what seems to be a desperate bid to frighten the electorate into not making the change which seems inevitable, that a damn good fright never hurt anyone. Especially him. Once again, the clever politician has fallen back on his tried and true tactic of threatening the Australian voters with an end to all things bright and beautiful by pulling this raggedy, under-fed, feral Oryctolagus out of the dark place it’s been sequestered for the past three years, for a run around the Australian electoral top paddock.
Seriously, dear reader, it’s quite possible that even though this clear cut and blatantly conspicuous cuniculus is the last throw of the political dice by a desperate man struggling to keep power at any cost, even to the detriment his own rationality, as a tactic, it just might work. The electorate has been, and I believe still is, highly susceptible to the Howardian ‘BOO!’ when it counts most.
Consider that in 2004, even though, as I stated, Latham self-destructed at the end, the polls were already well on the way out the door for Labor due almost entirely to the economic scare campaign waged by Howard et al in the last months leading up to November. The tactic, then as now, had no validity what so ever. No cast-iron proof to the postulation that Labor cannot manage an economy was ever produced, and frankly, will never be produced because the claim is a furphy. If anything, if one studies the Hawke-Keating years and the economic debacle left behind by Fraser, the reverse is seen to be the case. Yet whenever Howard makes this baseless claim that only a conservative government can deliver the goods ecnomically, people seem to listen.
This time around, it seems that Peter Garrett is the big boogey-man. Why? Well purely because he backs, as does Labor policy as already stated by the party, the setting of targets for carbon emissions reduction which just happen to be in line with those promoted by the C.S.I.R.O. I don’t recall the Shergold Report containing any such recommendations. In fact, the Shergold Report closely follows the Howardian preferred line (surprise! surprise!) of doing nothing until the Kyoto Protocol ends and the U.S. has it’s own collective climate change arse into gear. The Shergold Report contains no economic modelling of results of either action or inaction on climate change, only supposition. Admittedly, Labor’s Clean Coal Policy contains no economic modelling either, but at least Labor has some validity to its policy through an alignment with scientific opinion. Howard’s only alignment is with his own mind.
So, because Peter Garrett adheres to Labor policy on climate change – a policy which has some validity due to scientific backing – he and by definition, Labor, are going to wreak havoc upon Australia’s economy??? Surely, dear reader, commonsense says that inaction on a set of probabilities which have scientific research as a basis has a greater potential for damage to an economy through that economy being left out of any global moves on emissions trading, both now and into the near future, than proposals for the cap-and-trade targets promoted by Labor? No modelling exists to prove either a Yeh or Nay case, so logically, one has to ask the question as to why Howard would drag out this ‘can’t run an economy’ spectre again.
The answer is a simple one. No basis in fact means he – Howard – can’t be caught out in a lie. He can scare the populace to his hearts content with his fear-laden rhetoric because electoral memories are short and gullibility is rife. The oft quoted 17% interest rates which held sway for a short time during the latter Keating years still manage to make those with 100% home loans on 7.84% quiver in their pay packets. Those same pay packets don’t bother to look beyond the rhetoric to the economy which had Little Johnny Howler at it’s helm in 1982, where rates of 21% held sway.
Short memories, gullibility, lies, deceit and mis-direction are all tools of the Howardian trade. Judging by the latest rants from the Prime Ministerial runt, he intends to use them all to the hilt in order to hold onto power. The polls from this point forward should make interesting viewing, don’t you think, reader?

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