Monday, November 26, 2007

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

So, we've had an election. A time when each of us has fifteen minutes of fame and democracy (fifteen minutes being the minimum time needed to fill in the senate ballot paper if you do it properly)

And what choices did we have?

The Devil We Know
John Howard: easily demonised but, by his own standards, a basically decent and honourable fellow. Unfortunately, his standards and values are not my standards and values. Particularly, wrt anti-terrorism, indigenous reconciliation, climate change, and mandatory detention. And we've had him for twelve years.

The Mysterious Deep Blue Sea
Kevin Rudd: possessed of a keen intellect and a swathe of solutions. His priorities are, on the whole, my priorities. But, who is he, really? And how experienced is he at running a country (ingeneous criticism: no one could ever be said to have more experience at running a country the the incumbent. By this logic nobody would ever get voted out of government. So, 'how good is he' might be a better way of putting it)

The Choice
Apart from a large dollop of pork at the outset (I need to find out where that $34bn 'tax break' came from so conveniently and why no one else commented on it) Howard followed the standard mantra of 'economy, economy, economy!'. Rudd kept a small profile and basically followed suit (with a few muted counter-spells of 'infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure!')

Neither of these were the real issues. I would like to think climate change policies and draconian counter-terrosist laws were what people were concerned about, and maybe they were. However, the real decider was an Industrial Relations bill that was born of a majority in both houses, and was viewed by everyone as distinctly draconian and one-sided.

As tales mounted of worker after worker being diddled out of basic rights like holidays and unfair dismissal appeals it became clear, to all but the liberals, that the thing was a lemon. Even when the libs embarked on a massive, government sponsored, spin campaign to prop it up, they got egg on their faces when one of their shining stars was outed as not paying wages to his own son.

The Outcome
The campaign was long, boring, and ultimately futile: the rock steady polls showed that people had made their minds up twelve months ago, when Rudd became opposition leader and was seen to be the viable contender they had been waiting for.

So, we had a choice between staying with the old devil in a leaky boat, or jumping ship into a vast blue uncharted ocean.

And, when push came to shove, Australia chose to jump.

So, may I just say this: hope we can swim...


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