My guess is that Labor will win the Federal election, despite the partisan press’s predictable frenzy of praise for Scomo and almost laughably constant mud-slinging at the ALP, and despite a distinct lack of enthusiasm amongst voters for Labor leader Bill Shorten.
The Murdochracy’s campaign – though every bit as ferocious as usual in the service of the interests of big business – seems hollow and unconvincing to me this time around. Just like Scomo himself, who is surely the least persuasive prime minister I have ever seen – and that’s including Abbott. At least Tone could make me laugh sometimes. I find Scomo too ploddingly pedestrian to provoke even a rueful grin.
And it’s not even all about Scomo and the efforts of those Liberal Party propaganda sheets that masquerade as daily newspapers to make him seem credible. Voters know well enough by now that the leader you think you are voting for might very well be shunted off shortly after the election in favour of some knife-wielding non-entity who has worked the numbers or won the support of the big dollars that really run the country.
The Coalition has put itself on the nose so horrendously that I struggle to see how it could possibly be re-elected. Robo-debt, fake tax cuts, a fake budget surplus, billions of dollars funnelled to mates and pals, slavish obedience to big business masters at the expense of all else, a crazy energy policy and just plain scabby meanness to everybody who isn’t rich already has, in my opinion at least, set the Coalition up to fail.
And that’s not even thinking about the horrendous Nationals, who will take years to recover from the odour left by Barnaby’s shenanigans and may never escape from the perception – now seemingly widespread – that they are not so much a political party as a club of complacent pals setting themselves up for life on the public tab and on the heavenly corporate post-political hereafter.
Given all this, I don’t think it matters that most voters are probably as convinced as I am that a Labor government is unlikely to be a huge improvement – though I feel certain (perhaps naively) that it couldn’t be worse. It seems to me that Labor has decided that it can only win elections by letting the Coalition become so stinky that the ALP stumbles in by default. It’s a poor way to go about things, but I believe that this time it will probably work.
I don’t think the NSW election is much of a guide. I believe Labor lost in NSW mostly because voters aren’t yet ready to forget or forgive the disgraceful years of Obeid-Tripodi control. I don’t understand why NSW Labor hasn’t fought harder to shake off that odium, but the lack of apparent effort in that regard led me and perhaps many others to wonder if much has actually changed. The cipher-like machine-men Labor kept putting up as state leaders seemed almost an admission that the party was still not worth taking a risk on.
The NSW Libs are shockers, when it comes to their record. Privatising hospitals and selling them to flaky offshore investors, selling off the Land Titles Office (OMG we are going to regret that one), permitting the ruin of the Darling River, wasting untold sums on questionable infrastructure jobs, insisting on government contracts containing growing proportions of offshore content, buying foreign trains that don’t fit local tunnels or platforms, slashing and burning the public estate in favour of lucky private buyers – it’s a seriously bad effort in my view. The immediate post-election abolition of the Office of Environment and Heritage tells us exactly what is going to happen next. Just wait until the federal poll is over . . .
Gladys Berejiklian had the great good fortune to be opposed by a non-entity Labor Party that looked to me like it didn’t really want to win and wasn’t prepared to put enough effort into persuading voters that it isn’t just lazily queueing for its next turn at the trough of cash and patronage. Labor’s platform, as I saw it, was simply to loll around and suggest – only if asked directly – that it might not be as bad as the Tories. No guarantees, mind . . .
But at the federal level the situation isn’t so favourable for the Coalition. Shorten is unlikeable, for sure. But he’s not dragging the same weight of historical baggage as the NSW branch of the ALP, and nor is he quite so drably unappealing as either Foley or Daley seemed to me.
On the other hand, you only have to run through the names of the Coalition front-benchers to see what a problem the government will have getting back in. Wholly owned by big business lobbyists, patently in favour of policies that directly hurt people on lower incomes and endlessly dissembling and dishonest.
Sure, the Murdoch media empire and its shambling followers in other stables will do their best to polish the turd, but I don’t think enough voters will fall for it this time.
But I could be wrong.