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.
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