As I’ve said previously, explaining election losses after the fact is too easy, since changing any factor that caused a loss of significant numbers of votes would (other things equal) turn the loss to a win.
Still, one thing that’s struck me about several recent elections lost by the left is that they combined a generally coherent platform with a fudge on a central issue. Examples are Corbyn on Brexit, Shorten on Adani and Clinton on the TPPA.
I don’t want to make too much of this. The decision to fudge in each case reflected the reality that going either way would cost at least some votes, and might not get enough new ones to make up.
Still, Shorten didn’t gain anything by hedging on Adani, and lost quite a bit. If he had announced the end of new thermal coal, he wouldn’t have lost any more seats, and might have gained some
I think also that Corbyn would have done better with a promise of an immediate referendum on Johnson’s deal and a commitment to campaign for Remain. And once Clinton decided against TPP she should have gone the whole hog, rather than appointing another globalist like Tim Kaine as running mate.
fn1. This policy would actually help miners working in existing mines, in the Hunter Valley for example. Whether Labor’s abysmal campaign crew could get such a message across is another question.
26 thoughts on “Fudge”
There was also Julia Gillard’s fudging on same sex marriage which, as we all know, attracted so many social conservatives to vote ALP. Or not…
The fudging, which seems to have gripped all sides of politics, continues in the face of an advancing firewall. Currently the fire that started east of Lithgow (Gospers Mt) has now moved southwards and is threatening regions west of Sydney eg Bilpin and Mt Wilson.
More westerlies and high temps will advance this front onto Western Sydney.
It’s all bit like WW2, where the French were supremely confident in their ability to protect their country only to have that confidence crushed by the better prepared and superior German advance.
This fire will continue until serious rain, which is not due until April/May. The damage of the 2019/20 fire season has been catastrophic, not just to infrastructure but to our cherished bush.
JGs reaction to SSM was odd and IMHO lost her much credibility.
John, you can definitely fudge on a massive issue IF you have the right-wing press behind you. Then it is a brilliant option. Get Brexit Done was the biggest fudge of all times. It worked a treat. Nobody really picked it apart. Corbyn was demonised because he thought that furriners (like Palestinians) were as worthy as White Britons. That poison was fed in the the bloodstream of said White Britons over a four year period.
Like Labour in the UK, Labor in Australia has a legacy constituency (the white working class) which is becoming more conservative and, importantly, nativist. Labor must decide whether to keep chasing their votes or keep pushing its message to cosmopolitan types in the cities. I don’t see the point chasing working class votes in Queensland marginals. The nativists there will never trust Labour. Even if Labour does negate the “coal” issue they will just vote Liberal after another nationalist / racist scare campaign on something like “boats”. Labour should instead build on the 48 percent of voters it did win – not piss them off.
PS. The more I think about it, the more obvious it seems that, rather than Brexit bringing back “control” (whatever that means), Brexit will either shatter the british economy (No deal) or make the UK a colonial dependency of the EU (soft brexit) in which it is a taker of EU dictates with no say in what happens and certainly no veto. The UK will trade on the EU’s terms or not at all. Thus, after Brexit, the EU behemoth will likely have much more control over the UK than it did before. The situation would be hysterical if it wasn’t so sad. I bet the EU were pretty happy to see Boris win. Vassalage beckons.
“I think also that Corbyn would have done better with a promise of an immediate referendum on Johnson’s deal and a commitment to remain”
This would seem unlikely, since Johnson’s slogan “Get Brexit Done” resonated particularly well in the seats the Tories won from Labour.
“If he had announced the end of new thermal coal, he wouldn’t have lost any more seats, and might have gained some”
Extremely unlikely. A lesson of the 2019 election was that simple messages work and complex policies are just begging to get turned into a scare campaign against you (think franking credits).
I think fudges can work but they require a leader with great powers of slipperyness to carry them off (e.g. a Bill Clinton or Tony Blair).
BBC radio said if only womens votes were counted the result would have been another hung parliament . The election was won because some men moved to vote Conservative in a few traditional Labor seats. I will take this as evidence that both rampant capitalism and Fascism are gendered and may not be conceivable without patriarchy. So overall ,a small group of militant men wanting a macho brexit won out over women (who are 52% of Britain I think) and also over everyone else who was backing the NHS and worried about austerity.
Get Brexit Done is the exact opposite of a fudge. Boris didn’t offer ambiguous policy in the hope that it would all go away. it was clear policy. It was also wildly dishonest and the consequences may be catastrophic for people who believed the Brexit propaganda, but it was not a fudge.
I think the key issue here for the left is our failure to lob similarly divisive issues into the opposing camp (note: the opposing camp is the LNP, not the Greens or Labor). Brexit is a masterstroke for a party whose primary objective is distraction and chaos while they do absolutely nothing except preserve an increasingly outrageous status quo.
In Australia, if both parties chose to frame the debate as being about climate, Labor would win at a canter. But making it about Coal lays bare some of the key divisions on the left – essentially between the middle- and working-class left.
Maybe it’s difficult to return fire without a complicit media*, but the left need to find issues that will as neatly divide the right as Brexit, free trade and coal have divided the left.
* An adequate – or adequately cynical – social media campaign may also do the job.
Alan – point taken.
Sequaugur – The problem is that the right (the Libs in this case) only has two principles: obtaining power and helping their rich mates. They will invest in any ideology that helps them obtain those goals. That makes them very cohesive and nimble. They don’t have an ideology that really ties them down.
Sadly, I’ve come to the view that the march of capitalism is towards increased inequality and nothing will change that. The rich are too powerful and they co-opt vested interests that hang to the system like barnacles. Taxes go down; they don’t go back up again. Public instrumentalities are privatised; they are not de-privatised, etc etc. Each step is a step down that cannot be reversed. The Labor Party is definitely becoming one of those barnacles. It tried to be a little progressive at the last election and got slapped down. From now on it will just be Lib-lite. I say that as someone who has voted Labor for 30 years. Much as I dislike the Greens it is the only party capable of stirring the pot.
Are we overcomplicating things? All recent elections have been won by the party that was prepared to tell the electorate that they could have their cake and eat it too (in Britain, in those exact words). The electorate is not necessarily fooled – it knows, at some level, it’s being lied to – but it would rather that than face reality.
Fredo – “The problem is that the right (the Libs in this case) only has two principles: obtaining power and helping their rich mates.”
It’s probably this perspective that has blinded the left to why they keep losing elections. It’s easy to demonise the right as greedy capitalists, but that misses the appeal of aspirational policies. The ‘quiet Australians’, or “Howard Battlers” as they used to be known (Workington Man in the UK), don’t like the socialist agenda of far-left leaders like Corbyn. Shorten not so far-left, but his tax and spend agenda was the same.
If you really want to understand the election defeats, you need to better understand the real principles of the right. Morrison’s slightly embarrassing ‘fair go for those who have a go’ schtick is a little cheesy – but actually pretty neatly sums up the principles of the right. The vast bulk of Aussies (and Brits) agree with the sentiment.
“More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”
Chris Borthwick says: “The electorate is not necessarily fooled – it knows, at some level, it’s being lied to – but it would rather that than face reality.”
Yes, combined with the effect (desired outcome) of the affect (feelings) or reactance. “Reactance can cause the person to adopt or strengthen a view or attitude that is contrary to what was intended, and also increases resistance to persuasion.”…
“…or provide a threatening message toward the activity. In turn a “boomerang effect” occurs, in which people choose forbidden alternatives.”
I’m fairly sure Corbyn was a Brexiteer – it would be far easier to implement his policies free from EU rules. The issue is his own party appeared more divided between Brexit and Remain than the Conservatives.
If the UK had preferential style voting, then perhaps Corbyn could have been pro-Brexit and he would have lost Remain votes to the Greens, Lib Dems etc. Then some of them would flow back to Labor. The issue is splitting the left wing vote in any particular seat increases the chances of a Conservative victory. So, really they were a bit stuck on where to position themselves.
Perhaps the people best situated to explain why the ALP lost the election are the people who worked on the Liberal and Nationals’ campaign strategy, for they would have been acutely aware of the fault lines they wished to exploit, in terms of shifting votes from Labor (or other) to LNP territory. It is pretty clear that asking the ALP leadership (an oxymoron?) to elucidate what brought them down is not going to shed a lot of light on the matter.
akarog has mentioned the mega-fire in NSW.
“Fire crews lost control of a backburn on the “mega-fire” yesterday afternoon and 20 structures around Mount Irvine, Mount Wilson and Mount Tomah were destroyed as a result.
RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the crews in the area were attempting to protect communities around the Bells Line of Road, but “unfortunately things don’t always go to plan”.
Assessment teams are yet to determine the exact amount of damage done in those areas.
RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said “nothing is working out” for crews battling the “mega-blaze” which has been burning for months
“In these drought conditions, whatever we try doesn’t seem to be working,” he said.” – ABC News.
I have thought for some time that back-burning was a seriously risky and indeed downright foolish strategy in these new mega-fire bush-fire and high hot wind conditions. The RFS and governments really need to re-think the whole back-burning strategy and ethos when extreme and catastrophic conditions and fires are already under way.
Of course, back-burning is different from hazard reduction in the off-season. However, we now seem to have new annual cycle of conditions where hazard reduction is almost never safely possible at least near settled places and back-burning is almost never advisable under extreme or worse conditions. Nature is indeed performing a new kind of blitzkrieg on us and all the old strategies are failing. This requires a major rethink. A government that was serious about these issues would now declare a national emergency and get cracking on solutions.
Ikon, it’s worth mentioning that head honcho of the RFS, Shane Fitzsimmons, lost his father to a bushfire.
The circumstances should give us pause for thought.
“A bushfire claimed the life of his father, George Fitzsimmons, during a hazard-reduction burn in 2000.
The commissioner’s emotions were clearly on display last Friday, when he struggled to control his feelings during a media conference in which he was praising the efforts of firefighters.
His 52-year-old father lost his life in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park when the hazard reduction burn became uncontrolled, killing four National Parks and Wildlife Service officers and injuring three more.” – SMH.
In theory, a hazard reduction burn should almost never become uncontrolled. If it does, those lighting it and associated personnel and other people in the general area should almost never be in a position to be caught by a deliberately lit burn going uncontrolled. The new, unprecedented climate change conditions we face mean we need to rethink reduction burns and back burns. The criteria which need to be met probably should be made more stringent.
I would be intrigued to know the track record of hazard reduction burns and back burns. What percentage go out of control and increase harm rather than reduce it? Scientific studies are required. Given events in the last couple of decades, I wonder if the RFS and all its staff have the expertise necessary to warrant the fire lighting they do.
Watching vox-pop interviews in the lead up to the UK election, mainly done in the north of England, I got the impression that hostility towards immigrants was going to play a significant role in the outcome.
Perhaps instead of fudging on Brexit, Corbyn had engaged in some serious “dog whistling” about immigrants he would have been on a winner. This would have been a more emphatic signal than Johnson going around saying “let’s get Brexit done”, which really only hints at doing something about immigrants. The only problem with this though, is that left-of-centre political parties usually do not have the stomach for this type of behaviour. Although having said that, our own ALP seems to have no problem with” off-shore processing.”
Brexit was/is purely about maintaining/decreasing low taxation of the resident UK rich. Everything else was/is just spin directed toward that end… long pushed by Murdoch et al, and swallowed by the gullible such as those working class voters in northern England. For instance, in the UK, EU immigrant workers were/are outnumbered by immigrant workers from elsewhere, ie., India, Pakistan, Nigeria, The Caribbean… &etc. Such non-EU immigrants, unaffected by Brexit, shall still arrive in droves in order to maintain suppression of any improvement in employment, wages, and working conditions in northern England.
But, bringing it home, when will Australian voters get a Migrexit referendum / royal commission / choice?
Whichever main Australian political party adopts such a policy, defying big business donor / fake treasury dictates, and commits to upholding the outcome will be in government a very long time.
Mike, again making fact based sense, sums up the issue:
No fudging on Svante’s view of the world.
One of the worst negative hit piece you quoted.
The uni’s, landlords, aged care and agriculture will thank you personally svante for;
– crashing our cash flow leading to less research
– putting pressure on my investment!
– Svante, mr smith requires his bottom wiped and mrs jones needs tube feeding – oh! You wont do that.
– oh. My produce is not picked and cant get workers. Svante to the rescue.
This is what is in need of fixing;
“Once again though, the motivation appears to be more on pandering to electoral and party room prejudice than being sourced in sound economics or environmental grounds.”
Oh dear, it’s KT2 spruiking for the neoliberal global dream again.
– the unis have been trashed, continue getting trashier
– landlords are just another type rentier booster profiting hugely from this immigration Ponzi scheme,
– it’ll cost you and yours more than your investment can make unless you are in that rentier class
– pay mr smith’s bottom wipers and mrs jones feeders fairly and properly,
– pay farm workers fairly and properly.
That piece by Verrender is 2.5 years old, and things haven’t got any better in that time. Things have got far worse in fact, eg., this – “The scaling back of 457 visas —..” – it simply didn’t happen. Those 457s morphed into several new categories and those visa numbers have actually mushroomed every year.
in the quote you’ve given Verrender actually gets it very wrong. It isn’t down to party room prejudice and the electorate. It’s down to bipartisan lib/lab big biz donors dictating policy, a treasury dept that hasn’t a clue nor care, and it certainly isn’t the wishes of the electorate who are consistently polled at 70% against continuing sky-high immigration. Yep, follow the money now, eat drink and be merry until the inevitable Ponzi reckoning arrives. Or, radical idea, let the electorate have a say instead of the 0.01% and their useful idiots.
Svante:- greed and fear and conspiracy. I get your point but dont have your fear or strident attitude re “people in australia without ‘our’ passport.
“Oh dear, it’s KT2 spruiking for the neoliberal global dream again.
– the unis have been trashed, continue getting trashier”
* Landlord – ‘god those tenants are reducing my rentiers!”
* i dont understand your next 3 relative to above;
“– landlords are just another type rentier booster profiting hugely from this immigration Ponzi scheme,”
“– it’ll cost you and yours more than your investment can make unless you are in that rentier class
“– pay mr smith’s bottom wipers and mrs jones feeders fairly and properly,
“– pay farm workers fairly and properly.”
Svante you seem to be demonizing all people here not born here, when planning ahead would alieviate many of your concerns. As I said the problem is not ‘them’ …
… it is us: “the motivation appears to be more on pandering to electoral and party room prejudice than being sourced in sound economics or environmental grounds.”
“That piece by Verrender is 2.5 years old, and things haven’t got any better in that time. Things have got far worse in fact, eg., this – “The scaling back of 457 visas —..” – it simply didn’t happen. Those 457s morphed into several new categories and those visa numbers have actually mushroomed every year.”
457’s … They go up and down and seem manageable without change to legislation:
“in the quote you’ve given Verrender actually gets it very wrong. It isn’t down to party room prejudice and the electorate.” Nooooooo!
I am missing something – ah! the conspiracy theory;
“It’s down to bipartisan lib/lab big biz donors dictating policy, a treasury dept that hasn’t a clue nor care, ”
No, nothing to see here… “and it certainly isn’t the wishes of the electorate who are consistently polled at 70% against continuing sky-high immigration”
… sky high emo! see 457 graphs above And when polling with a question like “… blah sky high immigration” and only an outback courier mail list used youll get a sky high response. And a belief…
“36.4% believe the number of immigrants accepted into Australia is too high or much too high.”
“Yep, follow the money now, eat drink and be merry until the inevitable Ponzi reckoning arrives.”
How evangelical. Really Svante, with planning and facts not beliefs the Ponzi and the day will be manageable. Shrill voices bordering on xenophobia and one sided sigh-tations wont help imo.
“Or, radical idea, let the electorate have a say instead of the 0.01% and their useful idiots.” … and do you think our host and commenters here are in the thrall of the 0.01%? Or is this a conspiracy?
I haven’t mentiined the opens borders double gdp debate – yet.
Just to get you started… bushfire threatens livestock – bulldoze the fence. Financial bushfire… locke em uo and toss ’em out.
Lets let this ride for 72hrs eh? Thanks for sharing tho Svante.
KT2 you are so out of touch with this issue on an actual factual basis it’d be risible if not so sad to see. Go to the well scrutinised and lambasted Budget papers for one thing first. Go to Home Affairs and check out the various immigration/migration policy changes / visa categories / statistics over time regularly published there, or just keep on dreaming. Your choice.
“And when polling with a question like “… blah sky high immigration” and only an outback courier mail list used youll get a sky high response. And a belief…”
And you go to a report on this issue by SBS immigration boosters, and Western Sydney Uni? What 6000? What questions? When? What context? You might as well go to the dept. for/of Harry Triguboff down there at ANU and his main demographer-though-not-actually handmaid spruiker’s risible, copious output from there! I’ve already given my various sources, probably several times each, including the several extensive TAPRI reports over time. Go on, pick them apart piece by piece. Demolish them in an intelligent, critically disinterested, factual evidence based way. On this planet you won’t, just as others no doubt better able have not tried.
Mate, your charts end in 2015. It’s laughable. Catch up! Find out why! Your Verrender’s piece was from early 2017. Verrender said 457’s were scaled back. I didn’t disagree, they were – to virtually be non-existant – as they were replaced due to much embarrassing increasing exposure of the rorts/crimes involved, so much exposure that the government could not ignore it any longer.. So, whaddayathink? A trick. Who’d a thought? A sleight of hand by government to disguise the fact they were massively increasing the numbers of new similar purposed temp visas issued. What Verrender would have known something of at the time, but didn’t mention, and what you simply should certainly be well aware of now before bringing it up, is that numerous other visa types with ever expanding dubious category characteristics in built, plus the further designed-in loopholes, were created thus replacing the disappeared 457s. 457s simply morphed into many other similar somethings even worse that have been since issued in greater mushrooming numbers than 457s ever were year on year. The Budget papers in one simple table buried deep within this year gave the game away ie., claimed largish immigration cuts to immigration intake but hidden – not too well either as impossible for such large numbers – in the budget papers issued by Treasury massively expanded temp numbers. So immigration cuts spruiked loudly on the one hand, but temp projected numbers increased by double that number at the least and growing! And temp don’t necessarily mean temp! – extensions, roll-overs, bridgings, appeals, a long long list. Many visas that don’t carry working rights, nor for spouses, except they do. Catch up! These days as you’d expect from a population/immigration Ponzi scam temp hardly ever means temp! And a cut means an increase. And a deletion means an expansion…
“Svante you seem to be demonizing all people here not born here, when planning ahead would alieviate many of your concerns. As I said the problem is not ‘them’”
Not so. It seems you wilfully misconstrue, for whatever motive. What planning? The planning such as it is is to create the problems without end. The problem is not ‘them’” it is us. The problem is not ‘them’” it is it. It is immigration as it is, not immigrants – “immigration” and “immigrants”: two different words for quite different things if not wilfully misconstrued in context.
“I am missing something…” –
Very much so. Catch up!
1) KT2, you seem need to look up the meaning of “rentier” and “booster”. The Ponzi immigration/population scam is in part designed to increase real estate prices continuing increasing. Developers, bankers, the 0.01%, some speculators short term, benefit, and are able regularly to extract the benefits and lock them away safely into other long term productive investment, and, of course, avail themselves splendidly of the numerous tax dodges and tax havens. Some smaller rentiers/boosters in the game may call themselves investors thinking it is truly the case. All up, their increasing profits and wealth come at the cost to others that’s inherently built into the system, ie., at little or nil cost to themselves.
2) see 1). Wait for the coming crash then see how you and yours have done.. And await the linked crash of all things.
3) & 4) Huh? What have you against paying an Australian worker an Australian fairly based wage and paying them properly? Treat them properly and pay them properly instead of pocketing a greedy unfair share and Australian resident workers will be there – cheaper desperate immigrants unnecessary. Do you too share Gina’s dream for Australian workers? Is that still – global equality, global parity, only fair you know – around $2 per week or has it gone down? Sweet dream isn’t it? Such a poet for our times!