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?
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.
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.