Sockpuppet Diaries

by on 13 March, 2013

Impressions of elections past and present are a mixed bag

Impressions of elections past and present are a mixed bag, writes Tim Humphries.

Labor people remember fondly the 'It's Time' election and Liberal voters fondly remember the 'Dismissal'. I'm tempted to think Mark Latham was correct in reflecting on the 2007 election as the Seinfeld Election 

An interesting aside in this Cirque du Soleil game of politics is the trotting out of 'Infrastructure' as a vote winner. New connection roads and highspeed rail remain the ethereal non-core electoral drug of choice.  

Weirdly enough that particular project is actually progressing! Truth be told I won't believe it until I ride the train from my old digs right into the Brisbane, CBD and see pigs fly out of cannons at the opening ceremony.

To think people talked about that project right back when the horse and cart was still an acceptable mode of transportation. The truth remains there is a disconnect that exists between political meta-narrative and practical reality.

Any current politicians reading this should take careful note of what I'm about to say. The Australian people love the idea of big vision and big ideas for the long term. However they also like seeing a thing called 'deliverables' that communicates how it impacts them.

Deliverables need to be achieved through a budget that is atleast somewhat stable in its composition. Fitting within this is the neat process of politicians standing to a podium, delivering the orthodoxy of a message and then actually delivering through orthopraxy. Julia Gillard has failed on both fronts.

Bill Clinton said 'campaign in poetry, govern in prose'. The future of Australia will depend on the ability of leaders who can campaign on orthodoxy and deliver through orthopraxy.

What this country needs isn't mealy-mouthed promises and childish game playing around revealing all just before the election. This country needs throaty pronouncements, chest beating, soap box ranting and more importantly a vision that is easily accessible for those making the decision. 

The sort of word picture stuff you see in historical film archives. A time and place when curly Air Force style moustaches were all the rage.

The problem with modern politics is the microcosmic compressed reality of polling data, followed by panic, followed by polling data, followed by unceremonious removal of a leader. If we're honest with ourselves the horse race mentality isn't sustainable.

Hopefully election 2013 instead of delivering sockpuppet tomfoolery will instead deliver serious reform that can be communicated not just as possible, but deliverable. 

Timothy W. Humphries is Assistant Managing Editor of Menzies House. Tim is currently working on developing a television comedy.

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