Why We Fight…

I’ve been accused of being a cock-eyed optimist and a dreamer in continuing to believe that Labor can win the coming election.

Apparently I have “read the manual” (to use the only immortal words Joel Fitzgibbon will probably ever utter).

The only manual I’ve been reading from is the edition that says the one time a poll can be tested against real Reality is on the day after the election, when election eve polls are tested against actual election results. As for the rest… how would we know whether they are correct in the moment, and (more importantly) correct in their implications? The answer is: mid term polls are a best guess estimate. No more than that.

It’s pretty clear the pundits believe this too. They are too keen to keep repeating their so far failed mantra of “Gillard Gone!” to indicate otherwise. Their agitation proves it.

If it was such a certainty that Labor would lose, then they’d be calmly talking about the policies of the inevitable incoming government… and they’re not.

They’re essentially talking about the mechanics of the next election, not its issues.

Even today the few articles about what Abbott will do “when he is Prime Minister” don’t extend beyond Day #1.

Assuming Abbott wins, what ARE they going to talk about for the next 1000 or so issues of their newspapers, or 150 editions of their panels shows until the next election?

There’s been election fever in the air since virtually the day that Oakeshotte and Windsor sided with Gillard, guaranteeing to support her in No Confidence motions and to pass budgets so that a viable government could be formed.

The reasons have been many, from external threats, to internal ones, to MPs going to jail or being sent bankrupt thus reducing the numbers.

Not one of them has come true.

Think about that… NOT ONE.

Hundreds of columns, op-eds and poll commentary pieces have been written, leading the wise old men (and they are mostly men) of the elite political media to predict imminent doom for Gillard… and not one has been correct.

According to a tweet reproduced above they’re still at it.


This is clearly obsessive behaviour.

The commentocracy has been proved comprehensively, overwhelmingly, incontrovertibly wrong on every count of their predictions so far.

If they had to conform to KPIs (key performance indicators) they’d have all been sacked long ago as the useless hacks they are.

There’s a kind of collective insanity that has gripped the few pundits left after the mass sackings and retrenchments (with more to come) in the media. It’s them against the world.

As their newspapers and TV networks wind down and head for bankruptcy, they persist in repeating the same mistake they have been making for three long years: assuming Gillard is playing by their rules.

She is clearly not, or she would have been replaced by Rudd two years ago, or fallen victim to one of Abbott’s imaginary No Confidence motions before that, or been deserted by a gaggle of disillusioned Independents.


Gillard has rewritten the rule book on how to run a successful government. Saddled with continuous (though wrong) predictions of doom, gloom among her colleagues and apparent dislike of her by the public, she has single-handedly kept it together against all predictions from the experts, proving…  they are not experts at all.

The hung parliament is such a rare thing as to be a new thing. While her enemies try to fit the new circumstances to the old rules, she has made new rules, but in the end she has registered an old-fashioned result: an achieving government, ripe with legislation and worthwhile reform that has guided the nation through some of its darkest economic hours, leaving Australia the top performing nation in the world, confounding her critics, humiliating her opponents at every turn, and turning the Rule Book on its head.

Not bad for someone who is written off daily as a failure, I’d say.

But who are the actual failures? The woman who is still standing and governing, or the claque of paid Abbott spruikers and congenitally mistaken political “savants” who said that what she has done couldn’t possibly be achieved?

I think the latter… they have only polls on their side, polls that have predicted her fall from grace for three years now, but which can only be tested once every three years. No matter how you try to rationalize it, the only poll that’s verifiable is the one taken the day before the election.

All the others are fanciful, in that they can only imply a result far into the future from opinions lightly given in the present.

Is it any wonder that the 5% to 8% that constitutes the swing voters consistently polls in favour of the Coalition, when the only story they hear, day after day, week after tedious week, is that the government is already defeated?

Murdoch Media Cycle 2

There’s clearly a feedback loop in operation (I prefer to call it a circle jerk), but feedback loops don’t necessarily win elections or depose governments. It’s possible for the punters to wake up to themselves and start thinking, as they have before.

The pundits and enemies of Gillard know this. And that’s another reason why they keep up the negativity: to try to reinforce – or rather force – their opinions into the minds of others.

Their reputations and careers are at stake as much as Gillard’s.

If they are wrong this time surely there can’t be any hope for them, for their companies who have gone broke by alienating half their readership and for the entire political industry from the lobbyists reportedly lining up for cushy advisor employment to the spruikers and hangers-on who think they’re going to get preferential treatment from a future “business-friendly” governemnt.

So they persist. They persist beyond the boundaries of common sense and rational behaviour, continuing to repeat their past predictions in the hope that, like a stopped clock, eventually they’ll be able to tell the time accurately at least once.

Stopped clocks

Combine this with the fear of the mockery they’ll attract if they are wrong – again, as they have been for three years – and the fear they have (yes, fear) of a righteously vengeful Gillard with a majority vote in hand, and it’s no surprise they persist.

They have nothing else. No jobs to speak of, and no futures to entertain if they are wrong. It’s an existential struggle that has gone beyond reporting or fair analysis and has now arrived in the territory of open partisanship and unedifying (if ill-informed) barracking.

The reason I haven’t given up believing in the distinct possibility of a Labor victory in September is because Labor’s opponents clearly haven’t given it up either.

Their every action – from screaming, mocking wingnut posts on blogs, to the most most faux-sophisticated TV panel show “analysis” – screams that the Coalition side is well aware that Gillard could make her record against them 100-to-nothing by winning the election.

Time, common sense, achievement and a record of rubbing their noses in the shit they produce daily is on Gillard’s side. They’ll have to clean up their own mess next time.

Her opponents rely on patronage by media billionaires and mining magnates, phoney bravado among failed commentators in a failing industry, and in playing by the old rules. This used to be a sure-fire winning combination, but perhaps not any more. Abbott himself continues to rely on the tactics of thuggery and intimidation, patronage and protection that worked well once… thirty-five years ago when he bashed holes in walls after student elections. He hasn’t changed, either.

It’s the rules that have changed, but half the players on the field haven’t twigged to that yet.

There’s a fight coming up between the old and tired and the new and innovative and I know which side I’m backing.

The future is over there, and only the brave, resilient and imaginative are making that necessary journey.

If you don’t believe me, watch the video.


1,985 thoughts on “Why We Fight…

  1. wasn’t denmore a farifax jun0

    jim someone or other
    so I suppose they all go back to their rootes

  2. so I can have a settled evening

    BB what is the root of the beginning of this new rumour re denmore

    should we just for get it

  3. Denmore could do well to heed that advice.

    He wrote (elsewhere),

    … if you make this election all about the sisterhood, you might feel good. But you’re going to be left with a rump in parliament. That’s the political reality.
    ==========================================================tif I had known he felt like this in the first place I would never have visted his blog, he may like to know its nothing to do with sister hood

    what the hell is that, please tell us.

    its is to with good manners . and respect for all people.
    My husband and sons are appaled at the behaviour of the liberals and so should all men , husbands , fathers uncles. grandfather,
    we live together as one in our families,, we do not isolate our husband with thoughts about sister hood this is not 1970 when we burnt our bras
    its now I am 65 and I am so angry with the media that they would allow this to be happening in our country
    and NO one is speaking out,


    can one of the more articulate amoung us writing something like this so its tweeted to him please

    sister hood what a load of garbage that word is

    is family hood or what every I am so angry

    what is with these people common good manners and civilty is a ll we ask for

  4. My reply to Kerri-Ann’s oasis of sanity in a sea of beat-up at The Drum.

    Ten thumbs up Kerri-Ann.

    Being finally free of Fairfax you can finally say what you want to say. I applaud you for it.

    I heard Hartcher, Mangos and Attard on ABC radio a coule of days ago agreeing with each other that these stories just HAD to be covered, and that there was no agenda and definitely no Groupthink on a Rudd Comeback.

    They all backed each other up, referring to each other’s stories (all wrong, as it turned out) as at least evidencing that SOMETHING was going on.

    They said the public “didn’t understand” the imperative to print gossip and unsourced rumour (again, wrong), as if tanking circulation, falling profits and resultant mass sackings and retrenchments didn’t show they the public understands only too well.

    One of your erstwhile colleagues at Fairfax once wrote me a feisty, foul-mouthed email telling me exactly what you referred to in your column above: he got the February 2012 challenge right, so I must be a moron.

    A stopped clock is right twice a day too. The other 86,398 seconds it’s dead wrong.

    I remember you on Sky News that day in February 2012. You wrote off any further Rudd challenges as Fairyland stuff.

    You were right and you were wrong.

    Fairyland as far as Rudd’s chances were concerned, but Reality – ir more, Reality TV – as far as the beat-up of their existence was concerned.

    When an election is permanently “around the corner” it seems we are subject to constant leadership and poll speculation. Polls assume a significance only if the election is about to be called. And when it is about to be called 24/7/365… there you have perfect formula for exploitation.

    Good on you for writing this. I look forward to more sanity from you, as I have given up all hope of sanity or sense from the media.


  5. BB what is the root of the beginning of this new rumour re denmore

    should we just for get it

    I don’t know whether you’re reading over the road lately Denese, but it is full of posts by Mr. Denmore urging a return to Rudd, effectively immediately.

    He seems to have had some kind of epiphany, but in the totally opposite direction to that he’s been taking for as long as I can rememeber.

    He’s written what he’s written. Check his twitter feed too: @MrDenmore.

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