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. How thick is Scott Morrison? He’s been told eleven (I think) times now by Indonesia that they will not have a bar of his turn back boats policy and yet he’s still banging on about it. Today on Sky’s Lunchtime Agenda, doing a handy ‘Look! A Boat!’ distraction from menus and the curious disaapearance of his Dear Leader he tried to explain his policy to a rather sceptical interviewer.

    Morrison explained that boats could not be turned around if they were in Indonesian waters, but once in Australian waters they could be sent back. ‘Sent back to where?’ asked the interviewer. Morrrison tried to ignore that cheeky remark but eventually said wtte They will be sent back into Indonesian waters to sail under their own steam to an Indonesian port because they are all under Indonesian flags. The interviewer then asked ‘But what’s to stop them just turning around and coming back?’ Hallelujah! Someone asking the bleeding obvious, at last!

    Morrison didn’t like that, how dare anyone question his words! He spat back ‘The same thing that stopped them before’. And there I left. He was putting me off my lunch with all his spitting and snarling.

  2. You can give the political press kudos for one thing, they are consistent, albeit consistently wrong. When PM made her “misogny” speech in Parliament it was absolutely rubbished by the press gallery as hopelessly naive politics and would not be listened to by the voters. It was only after about 5 million retweets and u tube viewings that they very grudgingly conceded that maybe there was a point to the speech after all (and once again they despised her for proving them wrong).
    Then she makes a speech to a group of women supporters and the same pack criticise her for both talking to the converted and especially for mentioning abortion rights and thereby “raising the gender divide” again. Now a week later they are begrudgingly coming to the conclusion that they were wrong, and rather than rethink their approach they just hate the PM even more for exposing them.
    I have a daughter in her late teens who is very physically attractive. As are a couple of her friends. A couple of monthe ago I walked with her and one of her friends (a part time model, full time UNi student) through the crowd AT Circular Quay and I was shocked and angered at the blatant sexist abuse they attracted from males of all ages from teens to middle age. There was no excuse for this abuse, they were dressed normally, behaved normally and made no attempt to bring attention to themselves. Yet about 20 males in a period of about one hour thought it was quite alright to make sexual approaches and crude sexist comments to them. When I reacted to one person the girls told me not to worry, that it “happened all the time”.
    But they hate this misogny. They hate it with a passion. When Ms Gillard gets up and condemns it, they cheer her to the rafters. And they despise those who would criticise Ms Gillard for bringing attention to this blight.
    And they have yet another reason not to read the drivel printed in the papers written by people so divorced from life as these girls live it as to think there is something wrong with standing up to misogny.

  3. I am loathe to whinge about other places but instead of Shorten v ThickasBricks, or the rampant misogyny in politics we have…leadershit.

    Feck I am angry. Don’t they all get it. I am a woman and this stuff makes me lividly, deeply, bone-shakingly ANGRY!


    Mother of this Earth, Lord of the Heavens, any Herose, Gods, Goddesses, spirits, deities, saints, dreamings, extraterrestrials, fairies, sprites, anyone, give me strength to put up with these feckers and not strangle them with their own asrkeholes.

  5. Another example of the crap women experience every day.

    Not long ago there was an online petition aimed at stopping a performance by an American rapper known as Tyler the Creator. His work contains graphic descriptions of violence against women, violence including rape and murder. Tyler is also homophobic. Yet he is a ‘celebrity’. To make things even worse his ‘performance’ was an all-ages concert where parents could take their kids. The petition did not stop the concert, it went ahead at the Eatons Hill Hotel in Queensland as planned but those who organised the petiton did get a lot of publicity for their cause.

    I cannot understand why anyone would want to attend such an event let alone take young kids along.

    This is part of an email I received today.
    “Violence against women in Australia is a serious problem. The recent statistics are alarming. At least one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner (White Ribbon), and nearly 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual assault.

    It is important that survivors of violence know that you are on their side. We have been hearing from women who have been affected by violence and they are grateful to see so many of you speaking out. Do not underestimate how important your voice has been in this campaign.

    Where to from here?

    It’s clear Eatons Hill Hotel put money ahead of the safety of women and girls in Brisbane. We won’t be visiting the hotel again and we urge you to boycott the venue as well.”

  6. Within a week we’ve had two instances of deplorable acts carried out by Liberal Party/LNP members in restaurants. First the shoe pissing episode in Canberra, then the menu in Brisbane. And yet NOT ONE PERSON from either place has come forward to say they saw what happened. (Except for the dubious testimony given by ‘Sasha’ which seems to have been fiction.)

    I’m prepared to believe that both places could have been closed to the general public on the nights in question, or that the events happened in private areas and so no other diners saw anything, but i am not prepared to believe there were no witnesses at ll. These places have staff. Someone saw it all. Someone had to mop up the piss, someone had to set out menus and clear tthem away after dinner, someone had a list of guests.

    What is wrong with these people? Why can’t they come forward and tell us what really happened? Are we all so weak and gutless these days that we would do the same if we were in such a situation? I know I would be screaming the sodding details from the rooftops and to hell with what the Liberal Party might threaten to do to me. Why the silence? Has someone paid handsome amounts of money to the witnesses to ensuretheir silence? Have they just been threatened with legal action or worse if they talk? Do we want people who would do such things to conceal their appalling behaviour to win the next election?

  7. A cracker from George Bludger!

    Leunig had a go, too, but I’m not sure it’s helpful – two wrongs don’t make a right.

  8. thought I would take my talk to 5 people policy a bit further today
    ‘ I think its time for a bit more civility in our country, and any one that votes for them is just as bad’

    here here where the words with out exception , in a small business
    my hairdresser and my corner store,

    so there you go
    I said to one lady in a boutique , are we the silent majority

    ‘ yes I think so’,
    it was like, in that particular shop they look so pleased they where not alone in their thinking,

    so we need to talk and talk

  9. Leone,
    That’s what happened in 1933.
    One can be accused of over reacting but these Tories are thugs. Their leader is the biggest thug of the lot.
    I’m sure people would have been threatened.
    And what a stark contrast to Iguana and Neal!

  10. so whats this mr denmore on about,, forget his real name.

    what happened today

    I was driving across the bridge and I thought gosh
    when I get home I hope I am told more and more
    disasters for the lnp

    and he has had to resign, or something else

    you can only dream

    we think we are getting some where he goes to ground

    and he will be, protected and up he pops again

    on the ground though talking to people he is hated
    so what gives

    do I speak to the wrong people,

  11. Abbott seems to be missing in action today, not a sign of him. No pressers, no stunts, no fluoro vests, no nothing. Perhaps Peta overdid his tranquillisers this morning.

  12. “Physician, heal thyself…”

    Mr 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.

    Labor made a monumental mistake by getting rid of Rudd in 2010. Anyone can see that. And ever since, Julia Gillard, for all her strengths as a negotiator and flinty politician, has not won over the public sufficiently.

    Apart from being completely wrong on the metrics (she enjoyed high poll ratings until Rudd’s leaking to Oakes undermined her at the start of the campaign), what that statement really means is that Gillard “has not won over the media sufficiently.”

    Which is why, after a couple of years of reading Mr. Denmore’s cogent and eviscerating dissections of media memes and bootstrapping techniques, I am all the more disappointed that he has finally fallen for them himself.

    He doesn’t seem to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff in this mess we call “Australian politics.”

    Yet he knows (or must know) that if the media had given Gillard a fair go – not fawning admiration, or not utterly uncritical, just fair – she would be in a hugely different position today in public esteem.

    What he is really saying is that the media have destroyed her and, whether that is a good thing or not (and from his writings he probably thinks that’s a bad thing), she’s just electoral “bad news” and has to hand back power to the man she usurped, and who has continually cruelled every inch of ground she walked on ever since, even though she has been Prime Minister several months longer than he managed to be.

    Like many journalists, Mr. Denmore has thrown in his lot with the herd and has finally decided that there’s safety in numbers.

    He reads what’s in the newspaper, sees blanket negativity about everything Gillard does, hears in the street vile and sexist comments about her, images of viilent death conjured up about her, yet fails to make the connection between this and what he has been so effectively – until now – been writing about for several years.

    The assumption seems to be that Labor – for the third time in this government’s term – should have yet another leadership election and restore Rudd, even though he is hated in the party (even by some of those who might vote for him, I’d expect), and even though he is been disgracefully disloyal and palpably treasonous to that party’s chances… at every opportunity possible.

    To me it’s either sheer laziness or battle fatigue. Finally Mr. Denmore has cracked, or finally he’s given up. He’s prepared to reward the monstrous 4th estate, the one he has vilified so exactingly in he past, and throw in the towel.

    He’s not alone. Many in the party itself share his view, I’m sure.

    They’ve had three years of the PM copping the absolute crap the media have been throwing at her, personally, by name and insinuation, and they’re just too buggered to fight on.

    Mr. Denmore wrote an on line column a few years back about Christmas holiday road fatalities. He said they were tailor made for the skeleton staffs that newspaper kept on over the vacation. Take the raw figures, write up a few words around them, grab some suitably gory images and put out a full page on how police were begging motorists to just slow down. Yawn…

    He used the Christmas road fatalites as a metaphor for the polls – easy metrics, commissioned, owned and written up by media organizations to provide “exclusive” coverage of politics. He may have even mentioned that when there was a Nielsen and a Newspoll together on the same or successive days, with one down and the other up on the last results, how hilarious it was to have the two major media groups writing completely different stories about the government’s chances. Yin and yang.

    What he didn’t mention (I’m pretty sure) was how the polls are pump-primed by relentless, negative coverage for the week or the month before, particularly in the final days. No matter what the agenda or course of the political debate has been over that short period you could always rely on everything being taken as a negative for the government.

    It’s happening today, in readiness for the Newspoll on Monday or Tuesday. Despite the virtual banishing of leadership speculation from the newspapers and the airwaves, replaced by the overwhelming coverage of sexism in its many forms – from abortion, to crude genitalia jokes, to institutional outrages in the ADF, to effectively insinuating the Prime Minister is a cuckold to her partner’s homosexuality – base urgers like Pyne have come out this day desperately trying to restore the planned agenda for the week: a lame duck Prime Minister.

    And Mr. Denmore, after so much good work, has finally joined them.

    At least Pyne has something to gain personally for it all. He wants Rudd back so they can release the absolute torrent of abusive material they have on him. There’ll be a flood of it. It’s all ready to go. They’ve already destroyed him once, or better, got him to destroy himself.

    Mr. Denmore tells us that “the polls”and “the public” have spoken. Just like a good little consumer.

    But Mr. Denmore has nothing to gain and everything to lose. He seems to be just sick and tired of the fight. He wants to hand over to the media he clearly despises (as opposed to the “other” media, the one that’s gone now, but which he used to love) their victory at the final hour.

    This week we have seen the force of ideas gain traction against the force of money, power , groupthink and influence. And Mr. Denmore’s response is “Let’s throw in the towel.”

    I doubt whether I’ve ever been more disappointed in a person I used to respect, than today. Even though I don’t don’t know Mr. Denmore, I thought I did. I was wrong.

    Mr. Denmore, you’re just like all the rest of the media hacks: hiding behind the clique walls, wallowing in the groupthink, backing up your mates, swallowing the Kool Aid, lazy, ill-informed and of no more use to me.

    Media organizations have been losing readers and viewers for years because they refuse to give the public what it wants: balanced, nuanced, fair coverage of matters that are important.

    While you may be a small cog in a vast media machine, you’ve just crossed the Rubicon and gone over to the other side.

    Expect to lose your readership just as your colleagues have, and for the same reason.

    You’ve just lost me.

  13. Mr Denmore lost me today too. I have better things to do than read garbage about Ruddstoration. If he can’t or won’t understand that (a) Rudd’s not coming back and (b) if he did it would destroy Labor then I’m not interested in his opinions on anything.

  14. If nothing else, it’ll be fun watching the various journalists try to wrap up the week tomorrow, while studiously stepping around all the things that people are actually talking about. I’m looking forward to a big healthy dose of ‘context’ as they tell us that menus don’t matter, Sattler doesn’t matter, Brough doesn’t matter, Indonesia doesn’t matter, the Coalition’s entire ridiculous mess of an asylum seeker policy doesn’t matter, Abetz failing to articulate a single thing in an hour of debate and questions doesn’t matter, Pyne and Dutton virtually admitting that the Coalition policy on education and health is to do nothing doesn’t matter… nothing matters except the vague possibility of a rumour emerging that maybe Rudd might be thinking about possibly, maybe throwing his hat into the ring again.

    And that if anyone is talking about anything else but Rudd and polls, they’re wrong and they just don’t understand politics or their own minds as well as the Canberra press gallery do.

    Context: The things nobody but the CPG is interested in.

  15. bushfire have you left that on denmore site
    good on you,,

    could I suggest you link your above to twitter
    and him and out blog

    and who on earth in the labor party would tell him anything any way

    he must be following rumour mungers elsewhere

  16. I know u all love to party on a Friday but please do some linking and watching
    we need our security blanket

    I find it very hard to party any thing at the moment

    don’t know how you all do it

  17. wasn’t denmore a farifax jun0

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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.


  21. 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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