Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A walk in the light Greens?

Now I'm more a Labor man myself, taken to an extreme this evening when I rocked up to Ashtanga Yoga in Fitzroy with my Eureka bluey on, but, despite the phenomenal vitriol that's been flying from Green supporters since their so-so effort in Victoria, I see the value in taking a peek at their future options.

Dark or light? That's a relevant question when you polled strongly in blue-blooded Liberal seats where money talks and tradies walk...in through the rear entrance. The Doctors' Wives club take a keen interest in the Greens that doesn't extend to Labor, mostly due to a strong aversion to unions.

Problem is, the Doctors' Wives haven't raised their Gucci monacles and examined the Greens' own IR policy in much detail, and when they do they may sniffle back to Petrou. But then again they may not, and the Greens' high primary votes in the inner city may keep climbing. What might they do to achieve this?

Get over hating Labor, and have a thicker skin: if you want to dish it out, and make the wheeling and dealing that goes on at every election into a front and centre issue, then expect Labor to play hardball.

Any dickhead knows that when they're putting ideology first Labor will preference Greens before any conservatives and Greens will do likewise for Labor. Unless you make it your policy across the board to 'let the people decide their own preferences', random aberrations that have the potential to empower the Liberals (lest it be forgotten the sworn enemies of all remotely left wing people in this country) are nakedly transparent for what they are.

The Greens rightly caned Labor over its Fundy First deal last time around, we copped it and changed approach, so you cop it too and don't sleep with the dogs then try to crawl out of it with weasel words about letting people decide. You were covered in fleas.

OK, OK, I accept we will have a difference of opinion over this, and I also concede Labor played close to the wind. Move on; at least we haven't yet sent a foreign policy wonk over to sleep with your leader and convert him. And I reckon he'd find Ruddy rather cute, in a Harry Potter ofTweed Heads sort of way.

The big one is to aim high and develop and cost your policies as if you might actually win power. In this regard you would be distinguished from the Democrats, whose ambition never moved far beyond removing middle class expenses from the GST over a few glasses of Sherry. I believe most Greens actually do hold bigger picture ambitions, or at the least aim to form a coalition with Labor then pull policy in their direction.

However I do not see how the policies add up, fiscally. A big-spending honeymoon followed by years of darkness is not really the revolution progressive politics needs. Every major policy area is full of promises involving the spending of public money, but these are not subject to the same budget scrutiny that's applied to Labor and Liberals. Rein it back a little, differentiate yourselves from the Socialists. A bankrupt nation isn't going to be a green nation in the long run.

In other words, have you ditched the 'it's ok we'll just raise corporate taxes 30%' approach that so often underpins the striving of the far left?

And where, exactly, do you stand on the PETA wing of the animal rights movement? Are you more conservation and wilderness focused or do you share a pot with the people who stick fishing hooks into sandwiches? I think it's the former, but it's this sort of detail that will bring your policies in to the light green.

Or relegate them forever.

Speaking of conservation and furry animals (they're nearly always furry in PETA ads), one problem for the Greens is nomenclature and the perception that you are a one issue party. I noticed this on the hustings, I also noticed it in discussions with old school Labor types trying to understand their fellow lefty opponents- many people assume for example that where Green votes are highest this is because of conservation issues. As opposed to gay rights, probably the biggest winner in the lower parts of Northcote where the Greens polled well.

The Greens have to work extra hard to get over this, much the way Labor has to work that bit harder to convince people with no connection to unions that it will serve their economic interests as well.

All can be tackled, with will and the right people. And a bit of honest self-analysis.

It's not being talked about like the big upheavals in Labor or the Liberal-National tussles, but philosophically the Greens have some big decisions to make if they are to grow in influence and become an influential player in Australian politics.

Taking some responsibility for their lack of numbers and looking hard at policy would be a good starting point. In my humble submission. With peace, comrades.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed in your stereotypical imaginary portrayal of "doctors wives". This is a putdown of intelligent older women by largely male politicians and press. As a guy whose vowels and demeanour proclaim him to be a card carrying member of the middle class, I'm sure you have met many older female relatives and family friends who lean towards green vote on many matters (and no, they're not all scared by IR) and I have never met one with "gucci spectacles", at least, not a Green voter. As a member of a species (barristers) that are often stereotyped this way and that, I'd imagine you'd do better.

Did you see the Labor "New City" website? VERY disappointing. Hardly a brain cell functioning. And no more coherent vision for the future than you claim the Greens have, unless you count "let the developers have their heads, dig it up, chop it down and build the nukes" as a vision, which I don't.

Cast Iron Balcony

Legal Eagle said...

I'm not sure I agree with your stereotype either.

I think sometimes people vote Green to make a point, thinking privately that they will never get into power anyway. In their heads, a vote for the Greens is a vote for caring for the environment. So by this logic, in voting Green, they are doing a "good thing" for society. They don't really look at the Green policies in detail or think about the implications more deeply. If they did, they might well be scared off.

another said...

There are a number of issues I am having with Labour. Most importantly they seem to be morphing into the Liberal Party. Their value base seems to be overlapping. Both parties have also become rather cosy in a 2 party system. The Democrats were never really a threat, just the pesky fly in the Senate.

Now the Greens are upsetting the apple-cart. Where a small l liberal voter may have voted Labour in lower house and the Dems as a conscience vote in the upper, in the past - the Greens have been threatening lower house seats and this makes them a viable third party.

I am not a member of the Greens. But the full force of Labour's state election seemed to be based on Green bashing, well here in the seat of Melbourne it was. As a voter, I could smell fear emanating from Labour and it stunk. That is not how you win votes through respect.

The Greens are still a relatively new party in this country. The people are jaded with Lib/Lab - these parties need to lift their game with some workable environmental and social policies and the rising Green's votes is the publics way of telling them that.

PS: Rudd the "christian socialist" makes me think of "Hillsong Lite" - most unappealing.

Chris said...

To associate the New City morons with most thinking Labor Party members is to associate (as Andrew Bolt does to his discredit) Bob Brown and the greens with the Nazi Party.

But it raises an interesting question - why do Green supporters insist on showing a lack of nuance and intellectual curiosity in lumping all of Labor's bad decisions - and John Howards for that matter - on the heads of progressive ALP members and MPs.

At the recent State Election my local ALP MP told me of a story, where a young man told him he would be voting against him because of what his government had done - or not done - on civil unions. This ignored the fact that this MP has broken with the Brack's position on this issue and that Bracks did a little noticed backflip in the campaign.

Similarly manay - not all Greens - spend all their time railing against the ALP, especially against the Left and little about attacking the conservative sides. In reality they have started a civil war on the centre left of Australian politics, and they cannot complain when Labor people respond in kind.

As a progressive member of teh ALP I have been accussed of supporting all sorts of things I oppose. This offends me and I have now no sympathy for the Greens political party and the political hacks who engage in this pathetic activity.

And as for comparing Christian Socialism with Hillsong - thats just plain stupid and offensive to boot!

lucy tartan said...

What Helen said. That 'doctor's wives' crack is unworthy of you.

Anonymous said...

To associate the New City morons with most thinking Labor Party members is to associate (as Andrew Bolt does to his discredit) Bob Brown and the greens with the Nazi Party.


But that's a totally specious argument - and the kind of thing that's driving voters away from Labor in droves. The New City Morons are at the heart of the Labor Right- - Marn Ferguson, Laurie Ferguson, Craig Emerson etal, Bob Carr also has a crack at it etc.

To conflate that with the "Greens = Nazis" furphy where those two categories are two separate entities is like saying comparing the yolk and white of an egg is like comparing eggs with apples. Sorry for the convoluted sentence.

On the other hand, Julia Gillard.


Cast Iron Balcony

Armagnac Esq. said...

Haven't seen it. Will see it. Will let you know. If I happen to defend it in any way try to argue without making personal references to my demeanour at grogblogs. You have both my profession and "class" background well askew. It isn't the first time.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm sorry to assume that on the basis of being some kind of legal eagle / policy wonk, that places you as "middle class". It made you really angry, and I apologise. I can understand you thinking "But that's not me! I'm so much more complex than that!"

Absolutely! But please understand that that's how stereotyping makes people feel. If you dismiss the opinions or voting patterns of women over 50 as some kind of "doctor's wife" dismissive template, it makes them feel the same way. Believe it or not, they're actually fully human. Like you. And they feel that way being dismissed as "doctors wives".

To get the discussion back to, er, discussion, in Europe they have multiparty coalitions. We even have one here (Libs/Nats). So is the view that the green vote eternally wasted, necessarily right?



Cast Iron Balcony

Armagnac Esq. said...

"Is the view that the green vote eternally wasted, necessarily right?"

Not necessarily, no. I don't have issues with the green voter who doesn't preference the right over labor.

They'll need to take a walk in the light green before they get to serious coalition size however.

mrlefty said...

They'll need to take a walk in the light green before they get to serious coalition size however.

You reckon? You reckon the Nats spend much time worrying about the centre?

A Green/ALP Coalition makes as much sense as a National/Liberal one. (Or it will when we get a few more seats on the left.)

Anonymous said...

"The Greens rightly caned Labor over its Fundy First deal last time around, we copped it and changed approach..."

...by letting in the DLP.

"And where, exactly, do you stand on the PETA wing of the animal rights movement? Are you more conservation and wilderness focused or do you share a pot with the people who stick fishing hooks into sandwiches? I think it's the former, but it's this sort of detail that will bring your policies in to the light green."

That's one hell of a strawman you've gone in to battle against there. I hope you brought your union thugs along to back you up.

See, I can dig up strawmen too.

Don Quixote

Armagnac Esq. said...

" I think it's the former"

ie I didn't (a) create a stawman or (b) go into battle on that point.

I'd actually like to know, because I scoured the Greens site and came away none the wiser.

You can dig up stawmen. Or you can actually attempt an answer. Because I am genuinely interested in them, and the lack of answers or willingness to debate detail is telling.

Mr Lefty, you are NOT deep green. I've read your site for ages, you aren't close, and that isn't an insult.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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