With Qld being the next stop for the electoral campaign circus, that fanciful beast The Liberal National Party is off to the same start we’ve all seen so many times before north of the Rio Tweed – which just goes to show that regardless of the money pissed up the wall on trying to rebrand a political outfit, politics is essentially a scratch’n’sniff process as far as the electorate is concerned. To quote one of the greatest philosophers of the late 20th Century, “It’s all the same – only the names will cha -aa -aa -ange”.
In previous elections, the LNP script operating under the working title of “The Coalition – Our Reality is Your Punchline” went something like this:
In the lead up to the election, the Coalition locked themselves in a cupboard for 6 months and outsourced their job to the Curious Snail. As a result of the QLD population not being exposed to their usually unphotogenic mugshots appearing on the TV every night, saying the type of silly things that Oppositions tend to say, their polling improved dramatically.
Queenslanders started pondering whether, in theory at least, they would hypothetically vote for the Powerful Lack of Alternatives – not as some actual political party mind you, but more as a hazy, nebulous concept.
As the Courier Mail’s election speculation went into overdrive – the Curious Snail being the inadvertent Chief Political Advisor to The Coalition – and started asking the question “Where’s Lawrence?”, Springborg felt compelled to start saying things.
“All good and well” I hear you say, “That’s what Oppositions do” – which is a fine point to make let me just say.
However, the things that lept out of The Borg’s mouth werent particularly sensible things – more akin to throwing grenades than sharp one liners, but where the grenades ended up ricocheting off the nearest objects (often Curious Snail journo’s and random Liberal Party candidates) and ended up landing in that rather large chasm that separated the Liberal and National parties, before detonating and blowing up whatever rickety bridge was happening to span it at the time.
The more Springborg spoke about the things he believed in and the things he would do – the more urban Liberal voters became horrified at the prospect of having to live under a political regime whose views belonged in a museum.
So Labor ended up waltzing home in election after election, picking up urban seats like Clayfield and Indooroopilly along the way – seats that the ALP should never have won in a pink fit.
It wasn’t any one particular thing that Springborg said which caused Liberal voters to send their votes, however grudgingly, to somewhere other than Liberal candidates – Springborg simply managed to alienate Liberal voters a few percent at a time, one sentence at a time, one stunt at a time.
Landclearing, social policy, dams, education, health – you name it and there was a Springborg line that appealed to his base – the voters he didn’t need – and which alienated the urban conservatives and Liberals, the voters every government needs.
After being kicked around by the QLD population, the Labor Party, the Courier Mail, local television and radio, the business community and the net for the last few elections, one would think that Springborg would have learned that most valuable of psephological lessons – you cannot form government without winning votes in the places where it matters, which in QLD terms can be summed up in one word: “Brisbane”.
So what does The Borg do? He pulls out the old election script, dusts it off, substitutes LNP for “The Coalition” and starts repeating the same mistakes he made last time, and the time before , and which his party made the time before that.
Which get’s us to the title “How to Lose an Election in 27 Easy Steps”. 27 is just an arbitrary number – in reality there will probably be hundreds of little steps that will happen. We’ve already seen the first few steps repeated – the hiding out in a cupboard, the outsourcing of the role of Opposition to the Curious Snail, the media asking “Where’s Lawrence” and him responding by saying things, not particularly sensible things – in fact, things that are more akin to throwing grenades than sharp one liners, but where the grenades end up ricocheting off the nearest objects (usually Curious Snail journo’s) and end up landing in that rather large chasm that separates the Liberal and National party constituencies, before detonating and blowing up whatever rickety bridge is happening to span that chasm at the time.
Barnyard was playing to his constituents a few days ago by comparing environmentalists and greenies to Nazis.No harm done, that’s Barnyards base. But Springborg couldnt help himself, completely forgetting about the inner urban Liberal voters that:
(a) he needs, for without them he can’t win an election.
(b) don’t believe that environmentalism is a dirty word and are actually quite fond of things Green, and
(c) are willing to pay for the costs of any Emissions Trading Scheme because they’re quite affluent and believe that it is a Good Thing….
….Springborg quickly resorted to type by pandering to his base which he doesn’t need (since they all vote for him anyway), but in the process reinforced a big negative to a few percent of the population that he cannot afford to alienate. He let it be known that despite the name change from The Coalition to the LNP, Springborg and his National Party are just the same as they were last time, and the time before that, and the time before that – in fact, the leader of the LNP is just the same as the Nats have always been since the 1950’s.
This quip might only have annoyed a few percent – but that’s what Springborg does, political suicide by a few percent at a time.
He’s Australia’s foremost expert at it.