Monday, October 17, 2005

Ever Get the Feeling That You've...

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Tim said...

Terence, my observation is that the Labor party in Australia fits that bill exactly (except that rather than being the incumbent who tries to cling to government they are the opposition who are desperately seeking it). They don't have any 'platforms' as far as I can tell, no core policies that they push. Only sniping from the sidelines, being 'anti-everything' (like National in NZ, until Brash changed the course of the debate).

But instead of criticising Howard from a socially liberal or economically left point of view (which would be most natural), they have adopted a tactic of trying to out-Liberal (big L) the Liberals. For instance, as petrol prices have been rising they've suggested blanket tax cuts all round would be a great way to help ease the 'pain at the pump'. And when Australia invaded Iraq they expressed moderate support (even though most Australians were anti). (I listened to Peter Garrett (midnight oil singer, now Labor MP) speak at uni, he got grilled about the war and toed the party line although you could see him breaking up inside...)

Its pretty painful to watch, really pathetic. Even their voters have less respect for them than they have for Howard. Quite a few people would vote Labor but consider Howard the better man for at least having principles and being consistent.

Terence said...

Hey Tim,

Yeah when I lived in Australia I thought the politics (for me as a lefty) were totally depressing. The only concilation being the Greens who were very good in Aus and the Democrats who, before they self distructed, were pretty cool too.

In one small instance I think that the Labour Party's task in NZ has been easier though; and that is that in the 1980s and 1990s NZ went much further to the right then Australia so it was easier for Clark to carve out a clear position to the left of National). In Australia (with a higher top marginal tax rate, free halth care etc. it isn't perhaps so easy).

That still doesn't exclude the ALP though - they are awful. Believe it or not Vladimir Lennin once produced a pamphlet about the ALP (they were considered that significant internaionally.) In his pamphlet he concluded that they would end up as just another tool of the establishment. Now I'm no fan of Lenin but living in Sydney, hearing the nonesense that used to trickle from Bob Carr's mouth - I was inclinded to agree with him there.