||Issue No. 250||21 December 2004|
Beyond The Law
Interview: The King of Comedy
Unions: Ten Simple Rules
Politics: Rampant Indivdualism
International: Global Struggle
Economics: Cashing in the Year
History: Grass Roots
Review: Cultural Realities
The Locker Room
The Price Of Tea In China
Cry For Me, Argentina
Ho Bloody Ho
Right Is Wrong
Business As Usual
All In The Family
Swing Left Wishful Thinking
Letters to the Editor
Swing Left Wishful Thinking
I enjoyed Tom Bramble's article on the contradictions in Howard's economic miracle, however I think he is overly optimistic regarding his claims of a major shift towards the left politically.
As much as I would love to see it happen, I don't think it is happening. You can drive a truck through some of the examples he uses. For instance his claim of people preferring greater services rather than tax cuts. This has been a polling phenomenon for the last decade, but it has never been translated into electoral reality. This may be because no major party has ever actually campaigned on it, but I don't think that is the sole answer.
It is a similar argument to the constant prediction of the rise of environmental issues as a decisive election issue. This happens every 3 years (especially with the so called 'rise' of the greens), but it is not true. This election we saw the major parties put forward significantly divergent environmental policies. There is no evidence that the ALP's 'progressive' stance on water and forestry issues won votes. If anything we lost two seats in Tasmania, lost a lot of votes in regional Victoria and NSW in return for a slight increase on the North Shore. Does this mean we should not pursue these policies? No not necessarily, but they can't be the be all and end all of campaigning.
His claims of the "...rise of the Greens (now polling 20-30 per cent in inner city Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne) is similarly inaccurate. The whole third force movement is a furphy. In no seat did the greens get close to 30 percent. In the seat they were most favoured to win, Melbourne, they got 19%. They got around 20% in Sydney, Grayndler and Cunningham where they had the resources of a sitting member). In Brisbane they got around 9%. They also failed to meet their predictions of the Senate vote (only winning 2 additional spots instead of the 6 claimed by brown).
Their actual performance is mediocre at best. They basically cannibalised votes from the democrats. The combined democrat/green vote was 8.43% (Greens 7.19%) which was far less than 2001 (10.37), just above 1998 (7.27) and roughly the same as 1996 (8.5%). They are not the third force, just a rehash of the democrats.
As for the popularity of Michael Moore and John Pilger, they are preaching to the converted. They are enormously popular with the left, but how effective are they in persuading normally apathetic or conservative citizens?
The anti-war rallies were incredible. But can anyone claim that they were a big feature of the campaign?
We had John Howard firmly committed to our involvement in Iraq and closely identified with Bush. We had Latham who had abused Bush and stated that he would bring the troops home. Yet this did not translate in the campaign. Look at Andrew Wilkie's failure in Bennelong.
So I think Howard is facing huge economic questions over the next three years, but I don't quite see a huge resurgence in the left. That is up to us and other comrades to try and change.
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