.............................................. ...............................................

Ideology and Populism after the Penrith By Election.

The malaise at the heart of Australian electoral politics is this: not only the active rejection of the Labor Party as indicated by the Penrith by election, but the realisation that the option is a pack of dogs also. There's a treadmill sense about it without a policy difference between them worth a snippet of excitement.
Howard's industrial policies be dammed, go ask Ark Tribe about that one. Two more diggers killed in Afghanistan -- killing business as usual....
At the same time, the coalitionist perspective embedded in the Greens is asserting itself as they seek to embrace the middle ground.

Nonetheless, in the Penrith  by election, the Greens percentile was half the ALP vote -- up 7% to 12.6% compared to the ALP's 24.4%. But the main voting shift was to the Liberals.

But that's around where the Greens support level is in the polls nationally. The main point is that even with the Labor vote being halved, the Greens only picked up a 7% swing -- as the intentional preference was to vote #1 for the Liberals.

I think that suggests something that may be much broader: that while the alternative vote may go up at the elections before us (eg: federal, Qld, Vic, etc) where the ALP may lose, there will be no major abandonment of the major parties only staccato gains for the Greens (and perhaps left of them?).

Whether Labor holds onto or loses office federally or in whatever state, is collateral to that. While NSW Labor stinks absolutely, NSW is its fiefdom -- and the state by state shift to the Coalition have very little to do with them being 'better' -- in any way at all -- than the ALP. They're just  there -- the other end of the same dog; the one engineered into optional placement by the media. In these circumstances, a populist surge has a niche but it's hard to envisage a remake of One Nation's platform because much of that is now owned by Labor and the Coalition..

This political log jam can suggest a watershed moment --says he before the onset of hindsight. While we may be facing down a Coalition ascendancy, it is very hard to believe that any victory of anyone of the Coalition players -- whether it be Tony Abbot or a local franchisee -- can ever be embraced with same  fervour  as  Jeff Kennett was in 1992  or  John Howard in 1996.

Outside the mining industry -- partisan sectors of the populace aren't very vocal. I'm sure there are registered zealots on both sides, but it is a measure of the political  malaise that Labor's progressive base is currently very quiet, and,  probably, very  silently embarrassed.

In this context, I think the Dutch Socialist Party's approach to the 1994 elections has merit.
In 1993, in order to achieve the parliamentary breakthrough, the party leadership made its most daring decision ever. Instead of telling the electorate to vote SP for a better society – worthy ideals for a distant future – the party chose a more rational and better thought out position: that of radical and effective opposition. “Vote against, vote SP” became the provocative slogan. The message being: if you don't agree with current politics, vote for us. Then we can voice your dissent in Parliament. You don't need a majority for that, even one person would do. The new strategy is symbolized by a tomato. Full of healthy vitamins, but also a feared weapon against bad political theatre -- Brief History of the SP.
This is rank populism of course. But when you review our political options, even Hugo Chavez is a dedicated and skilled populist
In the 21st century, the large numbers of voters living in extreme poverty in Latin America has remained a bastion of support for new populist candidates. By early 2008 governments with varying forms of populism and with some form of left leaning social democratic or democratic socialist platform had come to dominate virtually all Latin American nations with the exceptions of Colombia, El Salvador and Mexico.This political shift includes both more developed nations such as Brazil with its ruling Workers' Party, Argentina's Front for Victoryand Chile with its Socialist Party, and smaller income countries like BolĂ­via with its Movement towards Socialism and Paraguay with the Patriotic Alliance for Change. Populist candidates have been defeated in middle-income countries such as Mexico, in part by comparing them to Venezuela's controversial Hugo Chavez, whose socialist policies have been used to scare the middle class. Nevertheless, populist candidates have been more successful in poorer Latin American countries such as Bolivia (under Morales), Ecuador (under Correa) and Nicaragua (under Ortega). By the use of broad grassroots movements populist groups have managed to gain power from better organized, funded and entrenched groups such as the Bolivian Nationalist Democratic Action and the Paraguayan Colorado Party*
My point is that the option of any fortunate rise -- at least in the electoral arena -- won't be driven by  ideology and that there may be an opening -- a niche -- for a foray from the left.

Of course what Australia needs is a popular coalition on the left -- but we ain't gonna to get that. Sorry. Not allowed apparently. Too many differences among the tribes...

So its' a case of making do.

How you engineer such a 'popularity' I don't know. But I do think the 'Dutch Turn' has merit just as the 'populism' of Chavez --as well  his true grit and courage -- established a platform to  begin engineering socialist transformations.

The challenge is to format a perspective that advances the notion that 'dissent' -- regardless of how popular it may be -- has to be an ongoing  and extra parliamentary activity.

In that regard, I think the Dutch SP has failed miserably since 1994...

0 Com:

Post a Comment