The art of knitting

From last night, I read this across the road, in response to a comment I made on” metrics” versus “individuals”…

Sure, we’re not metrics as individuals, but it will be metrics that decide the result.

Exactly wrong.

Gillard knitting 2

Polling metrics (which is what I was referring to) will never decide the result.

Only an election can do that.

I repeat: ONLY an election can do that.

Polls are not elections, especially polls three months out from an election.

I learnt that from believing Possum’s “100 seat” snake oil in 2007. Never again.

There’s a pre-campaign and an actual campaign yet to come, where the punters will be reminded of just how much they will be losing – services, infrastructure, cash, rights at work, good health, better education – by voting for the Coalition’s dry austerity policies and how much they have gained under Labor in the same areas despite trenchant opposition from the Abbott forces.

Knitting, fat ankles, manufactured gaffes, Abbott’s new-born SNAG image and Kevin Rudd will be unimportant.

“What’s in it for them” will be important, much more important than it is now.


When you don’t like someone, in that Reality TV way of “not liking someone”, it’s easy to tell a pollster that and to kid yourself into thinking that you’re “voting” by telling some anonymous voice from a call center who you prefer, today, now.

It’s almost a purely emotional decision, in between doing the dishes or cooking dinner, or while you’re trying to find your keys.

But as the day for actual decision-making gets closer you look for reassurance that your earlier emotional decision was valid. You start looking for rational justification for your voting intention.

You ask questions. You expect the courtesy of an answer.

I’m not talking about everyone. There are rusted-ons on both sides, of course. they’ll always vote the same way. Perhaps they see current politics as part of a life’s continuum, just another opportunity, or round in the fight where a long-held view can be expressed.

I’m talking about the few per cent in the middle that make the difference in just about every election: the suggestible ones, about one in 15-to-20 people.

The coming election is an existential battle between Liberal and Labor, between the Old Media and New Media, and between poll results and election day voting.


An entire industry has grown up in the past three years, centered around predicting essentially unpredictable events. We have seen more polling over the entire time – post-election, mid-term and now the final straight – than I can remember.

Yet, despite the apparent rude good health of the Polling Estate, it’s existence is in play.

We’ve seen more analysis, more polling companies, more contrasting methodologies than ever before. A lot of this is because the government was seen as being in danger of imminent obliteration – from defecting independents, to Rudd Comebacks, to No Confidence motions – so polls were taken as often as possible.

It eventually became a mantra that the government couldn’t possibly survive, based on poll results. And then the polls were somehow forgotten. The bitter message was distilled down to “She’s gone.” It became a self-justifying proposition or, (as I prefer to term it) a circle jerk.

But survive the government did. It’s gone nearly full term now and Labor is still in power, and Gillard is still PM. The analysis of polls that was claimed to show the government was doomed next week or the week after that was wrong.

There are a lot more knitters, it seems, than there are poll analysts or journalists.

Poll analysts were mocked, and rightly so. All their spreadsheets and charts were useless against the will of a group of individuals in government, and one particular individual who held it all together – the PM – to not only survive, but prosper, getting 600 bills through in vitally important areas of major policy.

The more the poll analysts were mocked, the more trenchant they became. Next time they’d be right. But they never were. Not once.

In the term “poll analysts” I include journalists working for an agenda-driven Old Media, plus chartists and spreadsheet junkies who claim to be able to predict the future. I’ve seen enough predictions of the future go wrong when it comes to predicting the longevity of this government to believe that no-one has a clue what will happen on September 14th.

So much has been so wrong, so often, that it’s pretty clear to me we are in uncharted territory (forgive the pun).


Julia Gillard seems to drive people crazy.

She drives the media crazy because she won’t answer their gotchas and won’t do what they predict she will do. She openly mocks them, and they are ripe for mocking. Gillard is the living proof of that. For example, last night on Q&A they spent 25 minutes discussing her, and why she won’t just give up.

She drives the punters crazy because, while they are rabid and foul-mouthed, they can never get her to answer them in kind. It must be infuriating for the sexists out there every time she calls them out. Women are supposed to buckle under to threats and intimidation and their gender being slagged off by men. But Gillard just digs in.

Rudd too must be getting to the unhinged point now. No matter what he tries he can’t get her to hand power back to him. He will have to fight for it every inch of the way and he doesn’t have the resources or (in my opinion) the ticker.

Every fight he’s won in the party room he’s won it with a show of hands, the result has been pre-arranged. The last fight he won, back in 2006, was with Gillard’s assistance.

She knows all about Rudd’s tactics. She’s read his book. She wrote a lot of it.

Understanding his tactics so well she’s been able to stay one step ahead of him at all times, interfering with his chosen ground for challenging and his preferred timing, rather brilliantly in fact. Put up, or shut up Kevin.

You can see the venom in anti-Gillard and pro-Coalition postersaround the blogs. She infuriates them too. She just won’t lay down and die, like the political text book says she should. You’d think that if the Coalition commenters were so sure of the final outcome they’d be a lot less antsy.

In all of these instances the hatred and agitation Gillard engenders – simply by staying put and refusing to give in, by demanding that her enemies actually fight the battle, not just puff up their chests like so many territorial mountain goats, and in the meantime getting on with governing – is a product of their deep-down concern that she can win the election, that somehow the polls and the pundits – and themselves – are wrong.


Gillard has made a hobby of confounding her critics. She has routinely and ritually humiliated them every single time. Where others waver, she stands firm, smiling her way through, doing her knitting like Madame Defarge at their executions.

Sure she can lose the election. I can’t deny that. But that’s a long way off now and 80-odd days is a long time in politics, for anyone.

Life, love and politics are about people, individuals, not spreadsheets. Gillard understands that. Perhaps she has no choice but to understand it. By continually making a mockery of her critics she infuriates them further.

Another Golden Rule then comes into play: it’s far better to fight cool than hot.

In the meantime, get on with your knitting.

Gillard Knitting #1

1,090 thoughts on “The art of knitting

  1. Now on Seven they are telling us that at Rooty Hill the people were in silence and then told us that they think no matter who is in charge of the ALP it’s too late and they don’t have a chance to vote out JG.

  2. so the maggots win labor reward cowards. for fuck sake 43yrs of support;
    for me finished billy boy shorten what a maggot.
    while shit head like him are in parliament I no longer vote

  3. Everyone here has been around the block, at least once in their lives. We know whats coming so suck it up, princesses. The first year is gonna be painful, but the recession of 2015 will be the ‘I told you so’ period. By then rudd and Shorten will be history, and we wil be back on the front foot

  4. Joe, I’ve had a couple of says here and enjoy dropping in. Keep it going mate, as an ALP blog. And at the moment I am one of those detested greenies, but still a soul partner with everyone here.

  5. I want this blog to continue and flourish. No matter what happens next we will need this place. I value it more than I can say.

  6. I feel sick.

    JGPM has been a doughty, resolute PM, fighting Tone, fighting Rudd yet getting a huge reformist agenda through, 600–odd pieces of legislation.

    Brought down by dwarves and pygmies, afraid of losing their seat—and ensuring that loss!

    Won’t vote Lib, no interest in working for Labor no more.


  7. I’d like this blog to continue too. It’s an excellent community and it would be a shame to waste it.

  8. We now have Government by Polls and the Media. I’m absolutely appalled. The Labor old guard have resurrected themselves. I would be very interested to know who the 57 are.

  9. We can always become the anti-Abbott blog.

    Give it a few months if he becomes Prime Minister (vomit), and there will be lots of competition.

  10. “James Massola ‏@jamesmassola 3m

    Jacinta Collins and Kim Carr are vying for deputy senate leadership”

    Dawkins, give me strength!

    Sounds like Penny is not too pleased.

    “James Massola ‏@jamesmassola 4m

    Contest underway between Crean and Albanese for deputy.”

    Dawkins, give me strength! There goes Albo’s cred.

  11. i’ve just sent what started out as a polite email to Labor about cancelling my donation. What a shame it didn’t end that way.

  12. they are turning against rudd al ready serve him right at this minute I
    like abbott more than him will that change I don’t know
    I may vote green

  13. AliCopeman ‏@AliCopeman 11m
    ‘Mr Rudd is your wife a lesbian?’ ‘Rudd puts on weight’ ‘Rudd needs a makeover’ << These are all valid questions & headlines now… right???

  14. I have sent an email to the ALP formally resigning my membership, additionally I have cancelled my monthly payment through my bank account plus I have sent an email to 25 ALP government members and shall continue to all of them. They will all know in no uncertain terms my thoughts and the reason that I am no longer a party member and I will never return no matter how bad the lnp are the mongrels in the ALP are worse scum.

  15. I’m 66: Julia Gillard is the ablest & best Prime Minister in my lifetime. No other PM has been able to bring forward such an impressive list of reforming legislation.

    Sadly, Murdoch and his minions brought this chaos about by the most hateful, spiteful and lie-based campaigns against a government – it was worse than the treatment Gough received from the OM in 1975.

    I will still vote Labor, but it will be with a heavy heart.

  16. I’m gutted by what has occurred, the glass ceiling is firmly in place and it may be a long time before it is broken. I wish our Julia all the best for her future.

    The lunatics are now firmly in control of the asylum and may god have mercy on us.

    I hope this blog keeps going and I will be around to help when and if I can.

  17. I love this –

    Frances Jones ‏@FrancieJones 6m
    Media, now is the time to interview Kathy Jackson, about Bill Shorten.

  18. +1 Gorgeous Dunny and others

    Apparently Swan, Conroy, Ludwig and Emerson have now all quit Cabinet. That’s going to leave some big gaps that will have to be filled very quickly.

    Looks like this will help murdoch/lnp election plans along nicely – they can now truthfully brand the Australian Labor Party as the party of disarray.

    And what a message this sends to the women and girls who admire and respect PMJG. Be warned, it doesn’t matter how honourable, how competent, visionary, wise or effective you may be, how strong in the face of vile bullying, of standing up in the face of lies and undermining – you will struggle not to be torn down personally, no matter how long it takes.

    Further words fail me.

  19. conceravota 2m
    Hilarious all these media types lamenting how badly PM Gillard was treated. THEY WERE THE FUCKING RING-LEADERS!!!!! #auspol

    Retweeted by Denise

  20. Have another drink folks, regroup and lets make sure the libs don’t get in. Lets not be distracted by media bs and focus!!!

  21. Top little example for current and future ALP members with ambition… The Rudd whiteanting blueprint. Proven that you will be rewarded.

  22. Andrew Wilkie says he’ll vote for Rudd in a confidence vote.

    Right, that’s one down so far.

  23. I’ll wait til they come out, to watch any final speech Julia Gillard makes.

    I think I owe her that.

    She gave the job everything she had, but in the end, it just wasn’t enough.

    They’d rather have someone who they can’t even stand, who has shown not the slightest shred of loyalty to anyone apart from his own ego, in a nakedly desperate attempt to appease the media.

    The media who will hang them out to dry anyway.

    Sorry, but I can’t support that.

    I’m terribly disappointed in Bill Shorten. I thought he had some personal honour and integrity. I accept I was mistaken.

    I’ll be carefully checking the candidates available in my electorate in the hope of finding an Independent I can support – not that my seat is at all marginal, so in the big picture it probably won’t matter a damn to anyone but me.

    And I’ll guess I’ll just have to avoid politics so far as possible until the ALP show some sign of a return to integrity, and this anger I have toward them goes away.

  24. For the next who knows how long at every election the Liberals will remind the voting public that the ALP changes leaders every time the polling is bad. Can the caucus be that shortsighted that they could not endure a loss now to make their chances of winning better in the future??? I know I’m very negative at the moment, but the ALP is destroyed now and it will take years to build up a progressive party again (NOT THE GREENS). The Tories will be around for a long time.

  25. { This boosts the chance of Rudd entering the election as Opposition Leader. }

    One thing for sure is that he’s a proven performer in that position! 😉

    Definitely interesting times people, I am sure that the people who voted for the Ruddster felt that Labor stood the best chance of remaining relevant in the political game after the next election.

    Ending up the same as Qld ALP or the NSW ALP after the next election was the thing that they most wished to avoid.

    Whether they have the right decision in this vein or not is open to conjecture and time will give some indication.

    Take a few deep breaths. The sun will still come up tomorrow and the battle to prevent Tony Abbott from the Lodge is still the most important thing in our lives and needs our full involvement and support.

    Nobody is irreplaceable. Leaders come, Leaders go but the Party and the cause goes onwards.

  26. So the Govt loses it’s best ministers and the best PM they could ever hope for. The Labor Party will rue this day for a long time to come and we, the voters will pay a heavy price for their stupidity.

    There is no way I can give Labor my vote when they think they can foist a traitor, a treacherous whiteanting, deranged sociopath on us and expect us to support them.

  27. Looks like any war-gaming by Abbott’s mob to move a vote of no confidence tomorrow is turning out a waste of time as nobody is going to shift their support to the LNP.

  28. Well, the die has been cast and we just have to wait until they stop bouncing around and we can see how they lie.

    For my part, as a long time Labor supporter and someone who was considering trying to find time to do volunteer work for the party (in between work, looking after a sick wife and looking after a toddler), this is pretty much it. The Greens will get my first preference, Labor second, and that’s the best they can expect from me.


  29. Edward Gibbon wrote an observation in his magnificent tome : “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”..;”A nation of slaves will view as magnamamous the Tyrant, who in witholding extreme cruelty, dispenses pain in many small doses.”..(“A coward dies a thousand deaths, a hero but one”..W’m Shakespeare)
    Theodore Mommsen, another celebrated Roman Historian, stopped his volumes before the times of Caesar Augustus…because, I believe, he was witnessing as he recorded the Roman Republican History, the same diseases moving like a cancer through his own nation.
    It was not that humanity has not the capacity to improve and elevate it’s collective condition, but that it lacks the collective intestinal fortitude to carry the responsibilities of a civilised society.
    It seems we are destined to forever sink rather than strive upwards.
    I could never vote for thatt dispicable person, nor the party that kneels before his percieved image.

  30. Julia Gillard is irreplaceable. No one else has her grasp on policy, in broad or detail; no one else has her passion for education; no one else has the ability to get so far under Abbott and his entire front bench’s skin; no one else is so cool and calm in a crisis; no one else connects so much with the people she meets.

    And there is more where that came from !!!

  31. I hope the election is on the 3rd August. It’ll be like ripping the bandaid off quickly. The sooner the Libs are in power, the sooner they’ll be out of power. What’s the point of “being in government” now?

  32. And dollars for donuts, in the final act of treachery, Julia Gillard will be blamed for any election loss.

  33. Well, we’ll see how this turns out, but my understanding is that the MSM have loads and loads of ammunition against Rudd. He’ll get 12 hours of grace, then there will be a vote of no confidence tomorrow – we could see the shortest PM-ship on record.

    I hope I’m wrong, but we could see an election rout. Rudd’s not going to be able to cope with this. He had enough trouble with the Coalition nattering about school halls and pink batts.

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