Sep 11, 2013

Don’t blame Abbott — the Left loves to lose

Progressives need to be aware that this is a long game, and while the conservatives have won the battle, it's progressives who always win the war.

Jane Caro

Novelist, author and social commentator

One result of the weekend’s election is that lots of lefties seem to be very angry with Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott, the Liberal Party and those who voted for them — in that order. I am not.

It seems to me that Abbott and the Liberals did what they are supposed to do — they fought for their ideas and they won. I don’t happen to like many of their ideas (except the paid parental leave scheme, where, once again, I differ with many of those I more often agree with), but so what? This is a democracy, and I have only one vote.

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19 thoughts on “Don’t blame Abbott — the Left loves to lose

  1. Altakoi

    As someone licking my wounds, I feel there is an element of truth in your charge of self-pity. I would have considered it a fair fight without the entire Murdoch empire being on the side of the LNP, or the LNP having actually had a policy to debate. But you are right, the fact Tony Abbott got within cooee of the lodge is testament to a massive failure of the sitting Government.

  2. Shoot the piano player

    I wish this weren’t true, but you’re absolutely right (apart from the PPL scheme). It really does come down to the faceless men and the ALP as a whole, who picked a nutter in the first place, and then everything unwound from there. The thing with sociopaths (and I suspect KR has elements of this in his personality) is they are hard to identify, and extremely hard to get rid of.

  3. Bernie Green

    I can’t see Rudd as being content to while away the time on the backbench while people he will inevitably see as being less capable and less intelligent call the shots. He’ll get bored.

    I can see what you are saying, they threw their lot in with Rudd and they have nobody but themselves to blame. Labor is so deeply divided that you can’t even speak of it as one party at times. I’m not sure that the people speaking up now for him to step down have ever supported him.

    I didn’t see this as an election about ideas so much as an election about power. I’m not sure what ideals Abbott wasn’t prepared to embrace, dispose of, or sell out in order to gain power really for it’s own sake so much as for what he could do with it, and Labor wasn’t that far behind in that particular quest.

    In the end presented with two power hungry groups neither of which seemed very principled Australia, to my regret, voted for the one which at least seemed to present some internal cohesion.

  4. Michael Jones

    Yes it’s just a pity that climate change puts a hard stop on how gradually/smugly progressives can ‘win’. If we don’t win soon, the world is in big, big trouble, and by the time the Team Incremental Reform awakes from their self indulgent slumber, it will be far, far too late to do anything but figure out how to bury all the bodies.

  5. the duke

    you have to be blind, deaf and dumb to not understand that the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd Governments were sub par in their performances.

    given the spike in confidence illustrated via the NAB Business sentiment survey released this week, and the performance of the ASX this week, the government was given a firm thumbs down.

    lefties also overlook that the ALP was basically a 1 term Government. Atleast i slept easy knowing that I didn’t jump on to the KevinO7 bandwagon.

  6. Thomas McLoughlin

    “Let’s put multiculturalism behind us” quoting Rupert Murdoch tweet to his minions in Australia which duly publishes pictures of Rudd in Nazi uniform and lauds the daughters in uniform white.

    leni Riefenstahl would have been proud.

    Yet Jane here can’t bring herself to comment on the right wing press as possibly a factor?

    Wake TFU already. You’ve been soaking in this muck so long you’re desensitised to a poison that’s killing journalism and democracy.

  7. Frank Birchall

    Don’t agree Jane — certainly there’s more than a kernel of truth in your unsupported assertions, but — as Tom McLoughlin says above — you just ignored the pervasive influence of the right-wing press and radio shock jocks. Moreover, the RW media has this influence in part because many readers/listeners would rather have the media do their thinking for them. I don’t share the PC view that the electorate in general is too smart and sensible to be fooled.

  8. Will

    Another vacuous broadside at the “Left” (presumably meant to be Crikey readers?) without identifying anyone anywhere who responsible for offending conduct.

    Has there been any attempt to deny the legitimacy of the Abbott Government? No. At best mild push back against the explosion of triumphalism and the crudity of MSM’s narratives.

    Has there been any mainstream sulking? Perhaps some based on cynicism about how Abbott received so little scrutiny from News, Fairfax, or the ABC and how they managed to be regard as the better party on economics despite an inferior platform on economics and contradictory messaging. We are right to blame the ALP for gifting this election to the Coalition, and if Ms Caro thinks this is heterodox thinking she isn’t reading the temperature on the left at all.

  9. Guy Byrne

    Well said Jane!

    Now was it Mungo McCallum that wrote that labour should recognise that the natural order for Oz politics is for labour to be in opposition .. develop good policy reform and take government every ten years or so and drag the country foreward?

    I can live with that … but do share your anger about how quickly labour self destructed.


  10. Aphra

    The first problem with this is the presumption that the ALP is of ‘the left’. It hasn’t been ‘left’ for a very long time, in my opinion.

    Nearly everyone I know ( not a hippy amongst them) voted against Labor two reasons, one in particular – its disgraceful treatment of refugees and asylum seekers which shocked and shamed us. One, only, amongst my acquaintance voted Liberal, and that’s because she’s looking forward to $75,000 paid parental leave! I imagine that she wasn’t on her Pat Malone; in fact, I know that she wasn’t. The second reason was Labor’s punitive measures against single mums (inter alia) which, after her appalling comment that she could live on fresh air alone or whatever it was, Jenny Macklin’s 10% buffer was wiped out, reducing her to preferences. There was general approval in the community, fostered by the press, of Labor’s cutting payments to those work-shy single parents, but what an outcry when Labor indicated that it proposed to tax the private use portion of so-called ‘business cars’. No more four-wheeled off-road BMWs, Volvo’s and Mercedes in my neck of the woods, then.

    Then there was the Murdoch press. ‘Nuff said.

    Caro’s statement that ‘ far too many on the Left secretly love to lose’ is unacceptable. Only a solid, middle class, securely placed person could possibly claim that the ALP today represents anything remotely approaching the ‘left’. She should tell the needy and the sick, the homeless , the under-educated, and those battered by society for whatever reason that they, or those in whom they reposed their hopes, secretly loved to lose. Insufferable!

    I have noted that there’s very little comment, anywhere, about our historic, ingrained Australian racism which the then Opposition tapped into much more cleverly, adroitly and successfully than did Labor. Those who don’t believe that it played a significant role in the Coalition’s success are fooling themselves.

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