Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

The joke is on us

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-11-10

What a weird week of electioneering!  The Coalition slags its own economic policies, and tragic sarcasm is taken as gospel, while truth is taken as venom.

First: the Coalition tacitly admits that it’s sole economic tactic, inflationary debt-driven growth, has been disastrous by dropping the "Go For Growth" slogan.  Strangely, the ALP continues to praise the Howard-Costello paradigm, and make promises about interest rates and inflation that are out of government control for the next few years: any action in the next federal term on productivity and skills, any attempt to resurrect the wisdom of Barry Jones’ 1980s prescience on the need information economy, will take a decade to take effect…  Jones was right, politicians of all sides have known it, but have been wacheting themselves auf ever since rather than taking the tough actions required.

As I’ve said elsewhere (here and here), the 2007-2010 federal term is a poisoned chalice.

The failure of competent economic management by the Liberals might also have been acknowledged to me today.  Going into my local shopping centre, a table of Costello supporters (I’m in Higgins) held out a flyer, to which I responded "Not voting for him because I read The Economist".  The tone of the "Oh" from the Liberal Party worker was not one of surprise (an "I don’t understand" reaction), but one of acceptance (an "anyone who reads The Economist closely understands Howard/Costello has flushed us down the toilet" reaction).

Second: Peter Garrett’s comments about the ALP "changing everything" once they get elected was taken seriously by the Howard/Costello team for use as a scare tactic, and seriously by progressive optimists.  Sadly, Garrett was joking.

Progressives who are realists probably realize that Garrett’s joke was unfortunately tragic-sarcastic, and that Mark Latham’s comments about a Rudd ALP government being even more gutless and right wing than his "I’m just a marginally greener version of Howard" electioneering strategy is spot on.


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