Completely Biased

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Time For An Autopsy

My pants are awash in a sea of ballsweat.

How poetic.

I went out this morning, copped 38°C in the face, and realised that yes, I still live in Australia. Just over half of the voting population may be fuckwits, but I'm still proud that I can get a tan just by walking outside for 10 seconds in the middle of spring (or do we have chlorofluorocarbons to thank for this?), drive around with thongs on, and fear bushfires at the end of every single goddamn year. I will live by the values set out in the Fosters ad, even if it is a blatant ripoff of a Canadian ad for Molson Beer:
i don't have a kangaroo for a pet
i don't wrestle with crocodiles
and i don't wear a cork hat
i fight wars, but never start wars
i would rather make peace
i can wear my country's flag with pride

i am a rock
i am the ocean
i am the island continent
my brothers are the smiths
the wilsons
the santerellis
the de costis
the wongs
and the jagamarras

(unless i suspect them all of being terrorists)
i play football without a helmet
i like beetroot on my hamburger
i ride in the front seat of a taxi
i believe this is a prawn, not a shrimp
i believe the world is round
and down under is on top
i believe australia is the best address on earth
and australians brew the best beer on earth

(even if absolutely nobody drinks fosters)

Don't you just feel all patriotic/embarrassed now?

I'm surprised that so many people seem to know where the wall is. Like, other than the graffiti, there isn't any real distinguishing marks, but I've gotten 6 emails from people telling me it's in Redfern. Either word of mouth on the Internet has done its thing, or it's the most recognisable wall off a main street in Australia. And a big hello to the swarm of flying monkeys too. You've tripled my traffic.

You Can't Spell Analysis Without Anal
Piers Akerman continues his 'analysis' (no shit, that's what the front page of the Daily Telegraph called it) of the end of the election. My 'analysis' of Piers Akerman (who never makes mistakes) is that he's a smug, gloating, hateful little fuckhead whose only purpose in life is to divide his audience to sell more newspapers, and should take a look in the mirror before he calls someone self-indulgent. Even if I was right-wing, I'd still be calling him a fuckhead.

If I Ran The ALP...
I think Latham should stay on as leader. He's a kickarse politician, isn't the most bland person on the planet, and was a good, viable alternative Prime Minister. Michael Costello can go fuck himself - the entire party is to blame for the ALP's downfall, not just Latham (so listen to Crean). While he could've been more relaxed during the campaign and unleashed the mongrel a bit more, I wouldn't say he on his own did a shithouse job.

Julia Gillard should challenge for deputy leadership. She has charisma, does well in front of the cameras, and just plain fucking rocks. Plus she's good at bagging out Tony Abbott.

Crean... Maybe make him a Senator (to replace Faulkner?), or something to keep him out of the public eye. He's like Quasimodo - means well and is a good politician (well Quaisimodo was never a politician but you know what I mean), but he just scares the crap out of people. He's stepped down from doing treasury.

Kim Beazley and Kevin Rudd should have more media exposure. Fat Kim is recognisable to oldies, and Rudd - when he speaks, you listen.

The ALP should try marketing themselves as a brand. Target places that don't usually get political advertising. Make the ALP cool. Introduce a half-decent clothing line. Magazine ads. Billboards. Make people need it. Make the general masses salivate in desperation as they await approval of their applications.

"Dude, you mean you're not in the ALP?! No wonder your girlfriend won't have sex with you!"

Try and make politics cool. Not just for the realm of old farts and shitheads. Young Labor/Liberal is so not the answer for this.

There's a greater chance younger people will go left-wing, so market yourselves to them. ALP XTREME! Or not. Feature ongoing ads on the TV over the next three years, aiming to build resentment at Howard and promote the ALP. Sponsor events maybe? "The Falls Festival, brought to you by Triple J, the VAC, MusicMax, Hurley International, and the ALP." Or does the AEC prohibit stuff like this?

Disendorse Jacinta Collins. Even if she eventually wins that Senate seat. End of story.

And listen to Graham Edwards. You want the best of the best in the frontbench, not people who have got there via their associations.

Keep tinkering with Medicare Gold and whatnot; spend the next three years ironing out the bugs and try again in 2007.

This election has made it obvious that people care most about numero uno. So play on that. Explain exactly how you, as an individual, will be reamed under three years of an uncontrolled Liberal government.

Run an ongoing media campaign against Howard - not election type saturation, but say every 3 months or so put out a negative ad. Keep it at the back of people's minds.

I can imagine them now.

Black and white video dramatisation showing Egyptian slaves getting whipped by guards while pushing giant rocks to make pyramids. Voiceover: "John Howard wants to take away worker's rights and give employers more control. Are you happy to live in a world like this?"

Or radio ads:
"You're fired."
"But why?! You can't do that! I have rights!"
Cheery voice: "Not anymore you don't, Jimmy! Small business workers can now be given the sack for no reason whatsoever. So you better do everything (this plays on people's fears of sexual harrassment even though it has nothing to do with this) your boss tells you to! The Liberal Party: Governing for all of us."

Maybe a slow-mo montage of Howard, Costello, Vandstone, Ruddock, Young Liberals and others to the tune of Frenzal Rhomb's White World.

And so on and so forth.

What Went Wrong?
So now to poke around the election campaign.

While the newspapers in hindsight are saying it was completely obvious that it was a total disaster, this is as stupid as Nostrodamus being found to have magically predicted something after the event happened. The campaign went well (if it was an utter disaster you would've realised it at the time; polls would've been much different): the fact that absolutely nobody could pick a clear winner is evidence of this. Howard was scared. You saw it every day.

So with the benefit of hindsight, what could have been done differently?

Latham should've bagged the other side at every opportunity, like Howard did. Virtually his entire campaign launch speech was bagging Labor ("maybe if I repeat 'interest rates' enough times it'll become true!"), while Labor decided to go with the positive, which was drowned out.

The L plater ad could've been countered easily - stick this sign up on every billboard within 100m of the ad.

Keep Iraq, lies, refugees, and all that at the forefront of the election. Labor spent most of it countering Howard's claims instead of making them. As a result, election issues more or less entirely stayed on the economy, with everything else taking a back seat. Shouldn't have let it happen!

More negative campaigning was needed by Labor. It was a nice thing keeping it positive, but negative imagery is remembered more. Howard had no limits on how he'd go - how can you win if you refused to match him?

More ads!

Photo of Iraqi kid in World Vision style: "This is [insert name here]. She's 5. She can't go to school. She can't ride a bike outside. She can't go swimming. She can't walk down the street with her. She can't go to the toy store. She can't interact with the rest of Australia. Why? Because Howard has her and 80 other children locked up in the middle of nowhere, behind razor wire, possibly for the rest of her life. And she didn't even do anything wrong. We helped put her there by voting in the Liberals in 2001. Let's not make the same mistake twice."

Interest rates. Gah. There was one whole ad attacking it. NOT ENOUGH. His credibility could have been completely shot if this was treated right, but nowhere near enough attention was paid.

The debate was good - only problems were the rules Howard set to limit the damage caused, but Labor had no control over that so there wasn't really anything they could've done.

Victorian Senate preference deals with Family First. UGH. That was stupid. No other word for it. That was a monumental fuckup. Talk about shooting yourself + all of Australia in the foot. No deals should have been done with FF whatsoever.

The Greens preference deal I had no problem with, and I doubt it caused many people to scream, and run for their life to the safety of the Libs. I mean what the fuck, Howard does a preference deal with Family First and it has no impact on people's voting, but everyone's scared of a Labor/Greens alliance? Bullshit.

As far as Tasmanian forests goes... there really needed to be more time after the policy. An extra week or something. I partially blame News Ltd for this too - Labor's policy to actually do something gets booed (at first, but then never followed up on - hi CFMEU (which'd have a link here if their site wasn't down)), but Howard's policy of doing sweet fuck all is just brilliant! I seriously think they wouldn't have lost those two seats if there was extra time to examine the policies. Oh well. Enjoy your forests while you can, Tasmania!

And so ends my random thoughts on this outcome.

I'm wondering what will happen if Kerry wins now. Howard has spent so much time and effort doing the Monica Lewinsky thing to Bush, that I'm wondering how it'll affect international relations if Kerry wins. Maybe he'll tear up the FTA?

On a not really related note: FF = owned.

Lastly, I just watched The 7:30 Report's interview with Costello over election promises. I want to hurt him.