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. Wonder if Windsor and Oakshott were given a heads up before today, or maybe they just smelt the wind?

  2. Good that you keep it going Joe. Perhaps we can regroup, but I can’t feel any enthusiasm. Murdoch is the primary winner. Having a rat and a grub as the two major party choices does not inspire much confidence.

    I feel for C@tmomma and others who have given so much of their time to rallying for their local member.

    And for dear Denese. so passionate in her support, loyalty and love for her country. Don’t give it away altogether, Denese. I love your enthusiasm.

    Chifley was taken out too soon, but at least it was Menzies rather than his colleagues. But his record of achievements still stand. I hope that it will be for Julia. Brave to the end. She could have toughed it out and forced them to come out of the woodwork, and they’d have squibbed it. But she wanted it over whichever way it turned out.

    Latham said it was better to die on our feet than to attempt to survive on our knees. I think he was right. A majority of caucus disagrees.

    The clock finally had the right time after 81 false starts. The scandal of the media involvement in all this has yet to be revealed.

  3. I admired Julia Gillard so much.

    May everyone who mistreated her be forever damned in history.

  4. It’s also the end of any chance we might have had to talk about Coalition policy, or lack thereof. The entire election campaign will be about ALP instability, sure as shit.

  5. lder ‏@awelder Protected account 7s
    I despise journalists who have suddenly decided Gillard wasn’t so bad. Fuck you all, especially you @LaurieOakes

    Expand Reply


  6. There’s not much that can be said. The decision has been made. A decision the nation will have to wear. History, written honestly, and hindsight, as always, will be the true judge.

    Will I support Labor again. Probably not. But residing in Warren Trusses seat a Labor vote is nothing other than protest anyway. Best I could do would be to vote for whatever braindead moron Palmer or Katter put up. Hopefully, to throw a spanner in the works.

    Can Mr Rudd win the election? I have know idea.

    Essentially the nation will have to choose between two wraiths. Both the product of smoke and mirrors. Both bound and shaped by others. The substantive comparison of the two is, ironically, the lack of real substance both exhibit. A meeting of similar intellects, neither understanding the subtle nuances of wisdom and the enduring legacy of true courage.

    That’s what the nation has lost today.

  7. I have closed my Twitter a/c …will NEVER visit that other place …but will continue to drop in at The PUB for a swift pint …or a glass of decent red …You guys/gals are simply the best …

  8. The interesting question now is what impact this will have on the legislative program for the rest of the week. Will Rudd follow through with it, or will the second thing he does (after confirming that he holds the confidence of the house, since I don’t know if he can get away with anything else without that) be to prorogue parliament and head over to the GG to be sworn in and then call for the election to happen (probably with the bare minimum campaign time).


  9. To all those saying they will vote Green as a protest – please don’t.

    You have all seen the damage the Greens have done in the senate. They are wreckers with an agenda, don’t be fooled into thinking they are just harmless hippies, the party you vote for when you are pissed off with Labor. They are not. Find a very minor independent or a nutter and give them your vote. They will be thrilled and it might help them get a bit of electoral funding they would otherwise have had no chance of getting. Work your way down the ballot paper in whatever way you think best, but please, do not give the Greens your vote.

  10. I wonder what dear Julia said and where is she
    rudd will be pleased \
    he has made her suffer

  11. No, I am in the glass half full team. I really need to know who supported JG

  12. yes me to ducky , still in shock bowe will be happy to and his lot over there and pvo

  13. @newscomauHQ: Governor-General Quentin Bryce is seeking legal advice tonight before confirming Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister |
    Who from? Garfield Barwick? George Brandis?

  14. that’s what I ve always thought of wilkie
    where jane hs been canfessing and doing very well e are told ‘he
    has gone an put up his poster already,
    I dislike him more than rudd or abbott

  15. Leone, I agree with you re the Greens – I wouldn’t vote green so long as my bum points to the ground. I’ll be looking for an Independent or a nutter.

  16. The Greens’ irresponsible knifing of the CPRS played a very big part in the eventual demise of the Labor government.

  17. Abbott laughing all the way to the lodge….

    It will take a generation to overcome the trauma these gutless ruddista mongrels in caucus have done to the female ALP vote , the leadership aspirations of women everywhere and ALP supporters generally..

    observe how gracefully JG will bow out, urging her backers to support Rudd and ensure Abbott doesn’t win..

    Oakes now saying nice things about JG’s legacy – its a bit late you Turd!

    scheduled funding announcement from my agency now screwed without a Minister (Emerson)

    will krudd front up for QT tomorrow..? watch krudd look small and pathetic battling Abbott compared to JG…

    The yanks woke up to the murdoch and media manipulation and re-elected Obama in spite of all the bad polls..what will it say about the collective Aus intelligence if they elect Abbott….

    Will put LNP last on ballot as usual, but top vote up for grabs. That’s it, I’m done with being too interested in politics or believing the politicians are interested in the people they represent,,,they all suck except JG.

  18. I still remember “Diamond ” Jim McClelland, when Kerr knifed Whitlam, and Fraser won the forced election in a rout, said something like

    “Gough was too good for the Australian people. Australians are more comfortable with a dictator and a barbarian. Now they have got both.”

    And it looks as if the same is true of Gillard.

    What sickens me as much as anything, and there are so many things on so many fronts, is those pissant reporters we have.

    Sure most were Murdoch lackeys or followers. And Murdoch is the big winner with both Rudd and Abbott in his pocket. He can even afford to be nice to what’s left of Labor and Rudd. But those reporter bastards, hundreds of them will write stories on this drama for months, maybe years. And hope to make fortunes from it. They’ve sold their country out.

    Joe Ludwig’s one minister I never gave much credit to, as the son of a key power-broker. But he has gone up in my esteem by resigning, along with the more transparent Gillard supporters.

  19. Can we have a new thread please?

    Every time I refresh this one, I get Julia smiling at me, and I just feel angrier.

  20. Gillard would have won the 2013 election. Rudd can’t. I’ll vote for whoever is standing for the Lesbian Goldfish Party.

  21. The only good thought that I can think about this is that after this election which Rudd will lose he will surely leave politics. Surely?

  22. Don’t you just love these journalists now finding all the good things to say about Julia Gillard? They spent three years in the chorus of dissing her and the only one, so far, who seems happy about her losing is ms. Sales.

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