Criticising Swan’s “Broken Promise” is just dumb heckling…













There’s been a lot of carping on lately about Swan’s”broken promise” on the matter of the Surplus.

But after it’s acknowledged that the promise was broken  – HAD to be broken in Swan’s estimation, and that of most of the public, plus most professional economists – what next?

Where does the finger pointing get us? What economic flaw does it fix? None, as far as I can see. It’s a cheap shot, a heckle, pretty obvious and unproductive.

Swan needed to promise a Surplus to give the nation some hope, to try to balance the dimwitted negativity of the Opposition, their business and political allies.

He needed to put Hope supported by cautious optimism on the table, as a counter to the trash talking that has been going on.

And until very recently it looked to be a good bet, until it became clear that for every dollar cut from the Federal Budget, the Commonwealth might lose more than that dollar in revenue.

I am still amazed that newspapers and TV dare to criticise the government’s performance when their own is so woeful. But there you go. Apparently THEY are the experts.

Everywhere I go I see businesses struggling. Many of the proprietors I talk to see little connection between their firm’s performance and the way the economy is being talked down by the right of politics.

This is one piece of political cynicism that can’t be pinned on the government. No “both sides do it” here at all. Why would Labor trash-talk their own economy? It’s the Liberals who are guilty this time, no doubt about it. But why do they do it?

A confident economy is prepared to take risks, to make bolder investment decisions than one which hides with its money under the bed. Why would what Katharine Murphy calls the “putative Prime Minister” want to destroy an economy? In order to save it?

The press buys the “Broken Promise” meme to a certain extent (although its bleating hasn’t been half as bad as it might have been). But what does pointing out Swan’s abandonment of further cuts accomplish?


It’s a simple dummy-spit, an “I told you so.” But so what? He tried, he failed despite giving it a good go. In any case the Budget will be much closer toward being balanced than if Swan had done nothing at all. Not even the Coalition is promising a river of Surpluses now… I think that’s the latest message.

Is whingeing and heckling about “broken promises” going to reconstruct the economy, boost confidence, create employment? Of course not. If it has any effect it can only make things worse by further eroding confidence.

However, the public – after spending two years weeping and gnashing their teeth, condemning the BER and other stimulus programs, bawling that “She lied!” – paradoxically WANTS more stimulus. They are clamoring for an end to the cuts and a resumption of the gravy train.

While it’s not clear that Swan will oblige 100%, and end to looking for savings is a good start.

If anything, Swan’s failure wasn’t mistakenly promising a surplus, but was his inability (admittedly with the cards stacked against him by a bitter media) to convince the public that they were being duped by Abbott’s short term strategy turned long-term economic trench warfare.

Ironically they’re punishing Abbott personally for his negativism on the economy and then punishing his political opponents for not being able to surmount that negativism. In punishing both sides of politics, the public can once again avoid examining whether they, themselves, are not their OWN worst enemies.

Of course the harpies and moaners only do this because they can. Things aren’t THAT bad, in fact things are pretty good. If we were in a real pickle, we’d not be able to afford to complain. We’d be too busy suffering for real. It’s the ultimate irony of this situation, if you will, like a North Shore matron complaining she couldn’t get an appointment for her poodle’s haircut.

Business has become used to the idea that if they take a temporary hit in trading conditions, with the payoff being a reuturn of the Liberal government, then it’s worth the sacrifice.

The only problem is that this was all supposed to have happened by mid 2011.

Any number of things could have brought it about – a successful Convoy protest swelling into a national movement, a No Confidence vote on the floor of the house, the death or incapacitation of a Labor member in a marginal seat, a scandal that caused someone to be convicted of a crime that disbarred them from holding a seat, a defection of the Independents (in particular Wilkie) and (I’m sure) you all have your own favourite method by which Abbott was going to move from Sydney’s Northern beaches to Kirribilli.

None of these happened. The most plausible was death or incapacity, but so far no go. The rest showed just how inept and in the thrall of their own publicity were the Coalition and their supporters. They really thought they could pull it off! Instead they’ve talked themselves into a near-recession.

They didn’t succeed, and the short term tactic where business would take it on the chin for a brief period has become a war of attrition, fought by the same means, but damaging only to themselves. They’re wrecking their own businesses and cheering themselves on for doing it!

“Home by Christmas {2010}” has become a sick joke, except that by now it’s doing real harm.

Crazy, I know, and hard to fathom, but look at what the Tea Party are foisting on the American public. Things can get a lot crazier before they get better. At least we don’t have too many guns here, yet.


Forum posts will be every few days, but we don’t kid outselves that the PB Tragics will stick strictly (or even loosely) to the topic at hand, so don’t get yourselves into paroxysyms of grief if – or when – you stray from the OP’s subject matter.

The basic rules are the same as William’s benign autocracy with one exception. Trolls will be dealt with severely, and banned sooner than William might have done so. One warning only. But as this is just a casually moderated blog for the Xmas season, don’t expect instant gratification if you feel offended.

We’re into free speech here, and anything that interferes with that Free Speech will be excised from the blog permanemtly.

Apart from that you can say what you like within the usual norms of civil discourse and avoidance of slander.

468 thoughts on “Criticising Swan’s “Broken Promise” is just dumb heckling…

  1. BB

    Each time I post, I get sent back a page.
    Any reason for that?

    Like, someone’s been taken out of moderation and we’re sent back to the page it is on?

  2. I’m buggered if I can work out this rotation policy for our Test cricket team. Isn’t the whole point to select your best performing team. Starc must feel disappointed to have missed out on today’s match after the way he bowled in Hobart.

  3. kezza2:

    Fortunately there’s nothing to do today except watch the cricket and lay on the couch. Thankfully it’s much cooler today, with the chance of showers.

  4. BB

    Each time I post, I get sent back a page.
    Any reason for that?

    I think it’s because WordPress (the engine this blog uses) only refreshes the page you are on, just like at PB.

    The posts are listed in lots of 50 (I think), but not numbered like at PB.

    So, if you post after a page full of comments have gone over 50, then your comment is on the NEXT page.

    SOLUTION: Use the “Newer Comments” link at the bottom right of the comments page, which will cause a refresh. the “Newer Comments” link is only there if there’s been a refresh between your last and latest post. You post will be there on the updated page.

    P.S. As far as I know, your posts are NOT being moderated or held up in any other way.

  5. kezza

    Hard for me to write in someone else’s style. Some people can do it.

    Beautiful weather here since gales on Christmas eve.

  6. BB

    Hey, I didn’t think my posts were in moderation. I just thought as the newly-registered ex-PBers came online they were being held up momentarily in moderation. And that we may have been sent back to where their post was ‘authenticated’.

    Not to worry.

  7. C@tmomma

    Well, you knew you would get a reaction to that, didn’t you!!! Diogenes? O ye gods and little fishes!

  8. Been reflecting on something confessions said the other day about people in Margaret River, WA, reflexively hating Julia Gillard.

    I remember back when I used to live in WA there were people who came from the Margaret River/Augusta/Bridgetown/Busselton & Nannup area who were deadset, tie-dyed-in-the-spinning wheel-spun-wool hippies. Their whole reason for being was to surf, live healthily and happily and fight to save the Jarrah & Karri Forests. They were the ones who probably kept electing Dee Margetts and Christabel Chamarette for The Greens. Then they proudly gave Labor their second preference.

    Not any more it seems.

    I know that the area has now been colonised by the Hooray Henrys and Henriettas of the Foodie and Wino set. However, one would have thought that they could think for themselves, and would have not been susceptible to the sort of brainwashing that the Liberal Party engages in now to destroy their political opposition.


  9. James Massola ‏@jamesmassola
    Interesting piece by Steve Lewis – the best and worst of the parliamentary year, according to the press gallery:

    Stephen Spencer ‏@sspencer_63
    @jamesmassola 200 people in the gallery, 20 surveyed, 6 is the biggest response? MOE of about +-80%.

    Hahaha, Lewis is a joke!

  10. C@t:

    I don’t recall saying that.

    I actually wonder if you looked at the booth results for Margaret River whether you’d see a higher Green/Labor vote than other parts of Forrest.

  11. I have been loading a horse into a float, so he can go away to a new home for a few years.

    I’m finding ways to do things like this with minimal hip strain – in this case, the float was parked in the entrance of the roundyard, and I had him on a lunge rein, which meant that I basically stood in the one spot; I had enough rope that he could go anywhere in the roundyard without me moving.

    Sort of ironic; I’m getting rid of horses because I can’t do horsework at present, but I have to do horsework to get rid of horses.

    Sorry to hear about Fiona! I would expect her fall and her accident are connected, but it’s still terribly bad luck. My son spent this time of the year in hospital a few years ago and it was the pits.

    Anyhoo, my birthday today; I’m 52. The boys are taking me out to watch ‘The Hobbit’ and finish Christmas shopping and hubby gave me a bottle of Benedictine.

  12. I hid my gender for years, until Diog outted me (the swine!)

    One of the cats came in with a huntsman. Put it down. Huntsman played dead, despite a couple of paw proddings. Cat lay down on top of huntsman.

    So far I’m calling it a draw.

  13. spinebill4

    Eastern, hey? *plays with . . oh, erm, I mean . . . strokes goatee thoughtfully*

    And that’s as far as it goes. No thoughts advance.

    To many on the eastern seaboard.

    Bugger this, the sun’s over the yardarm.

  14. confessions,
    Sorry, it may have been Tricot. Still, it was a truly expressed opinion. However, knowing how The Greens have decided to retail in Labor Party/Julia Gillard condemnation as well, there’s probably a few Greens voters who would express similar sentiments.

  15. Psychamuse ‏@psychamuse
    Our Failed Approach to Schizophrenia
    A psychiatrist writes:
    [I write this despite the so-called Goldwater Rule, an ethical standard the American Psychiatric Association adopted in the 1970s that directs psychiatrists not to comment on someone’s mental state if they have not examined him and gotten permission to discuss his case. It has had a chilling effect. After mass murders, our airwaves are filled with unfounded speculations about video games, our culture of hedonism and our loss of religious faith, while psychiatrists, the ones who know the most about severe mental illness, are largely marginalized.]

  16. Last August (as far as I can tell from timestamp) someone (sorry forgot to take note of the poster) posted this list of Bludgers and the amount of times they had posted over the timeframe of a William Bowe blog:

    [bludger no of posts
    Boerwar 208
    bemused 124
    confessions 120
    gusface 103
    victoria 103
    briefly 88
    fiona 85
    The Finnigans 71
    Mod 67
    rummel 67
    guytaur 64
    Puff, the Magic Dragon 53
    my 45
    kezza2 43
    Fran Barlow 40
    middle man 40
    lizzie 38
    Schnappi 34
    poroti 31
    ShowsOn 31
    C@tmomma 29
    zoomster 27
    William Bowe 26
    zoidlord 26
    CTar1 25
    Gary 23
    ruawake 23
    spur212 23
    BK 20
    Compact 20
    Dan Gulberry 20
    daretotread 20
    Bushfire 19
    janice2 18
    Leroy 18
    bluegreen 15
    deblonay 15
    Dee 15
    davidwh 13
    Aguirre 12
    blackburnpseph 12
    Lyne 12
    smithe 12
    BH 10
    Danny Lewis 10
    Gorgeous Dunny 10
    OzPol Tragic 10
    ratsak 10
    Thomas Paine 10
    Joe6pack 9
    roaldan1000 9
    sprocket_ 9
    imacca 8
    mexicanbeemer 8
    MTBW 8
    Tobe 8
    feeney 7
    swamprat 7
    gigi 6
    Laocoon 6
    Mick Collins 6
    Tricot 6
    dedalus 5
    fredn 5
    joe2 5
    Last name red wombat 5
    Ratsars 5
    Astrobleme 4
    Darn 4
    Fulvio sammut 4
    Henry 4
    Jake 4
    Meguire 4
    muttleymcgee 4
    Pegasus 4
    rishane 4
    scoutdog 4
    WeWantPaul 4
    Scringler 3
    shellbell 3
    Thornleigh labour Man 3
    Tom the first and best 3
    womble 3
    Ian 3
    Leisure Suit Larry 3
    leone 3
    Lord Barry Bonkton 3
    Marrickville mauler 3
    Narns 3
    billie 2
    Burgey 2
    canasta76 2
    Captain 2
    castle 2
    Desert Fox 2
    Jackol 2
    liyana 2
    PatriciaWA 2
    Phil Vee 2
    Pipe Fitter 2
    Primary Vote! 2
    Roger Miller 2
    Gary Sparrow 2
    1934pc 1
    Acerbic 1
    ajm 1
    biasdetector 1
    Bob 1
    dave 1
    geoffrey 1
    gloryconsequence 1
    grantplant 1
    Greensborough Growler 1
    ifonly 1
    itsthevibe 1
    Lynchpin 1
    Mithrandir 1
    MsAdventure 1
    New2This 1
    NormanK 1
    Oakeshott ry 1
    Otiose 1
    outside left 1
    PoK 1
    political animal 1
    repeating on Industrial Relationst 1
    Smaug 1
    Swing 1
    vote1maxine 1]

    Totally forget why this was done, except I took a copy of it.

    And, I’m still buggered if I know who spinebill4 is. 😆

    So, where were there (that was hard to type) gale force winds on Christmas Eve in Australia.

    Google tells me it was Cyclone Tracey even when I type ‘2012’

  17. c@tmomma

    Yep, it was me.

    Somebody chastised me for saying some voters outside Perth metro were hayseeds. My critic claimed I was insulting WA country voters.

    I pointed out that 8/10 voters lived in Perth and that some in the country were not to fussed about JG.

    I related a tour guide in Margaret River stating that people around MR “hated JG”.

    I do not have a clue if he was one or a hundred per cent accurate or whether one percent of 100% of voters in that area are Green or Nationals or Liberals.

    This same guide expressed the view, that despite his obvious ‘naughtiness’, that Troy Buswell was a ‘pretty good bloke’.

    In actual fact, I think Buswell’s vote went up in the last WA election so it would seem people are selective in what to condemn and what to ignore in a politician -though there is nothing new in this either.

  18. spinebill4

    [Watching the Mikado on ABCTV. Take me back to my days in amateur musicals.]

    Well, that’s a fine how do you do. I was in amateur musicals in my heyday.
    And I know it’s not me.

    You’re such a tease.
    And now I have to go out.

    Well check back later for your outing.

  19. I am bit slow on posting, but I saw that article from Steve Lewis, and tweeted James, that anything that Steve Lewis writes, I take with an ocean full of salt.

  20. Very Happy New Year 2013 to all PB Tragics, esp Bushfire Bill & Joe 6Pac for this blog.

    Just to add to the celebrations … From The Guardian on WA’s SKA; a happy NY Pat-on-Aussie-backs (with a touch of typically Pom tongue-in-cheek): “Wallaby and Dingo space surveys expected to find 700,000 new galaxies – Huge radio telescope in Western Australia will help astronomers find clues to mystery of dark energy and galaxy evolution”

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