Listening tour? Can you hear this?

Single Digit Popularity.jpg

Newspoll has provided more fodder for lazy bloggers like myself with today’s preferred PM figures. It seems that the honeymoon is over for the Nightwatchman as his surge to double figures has faulted and he dropped back to a 9% PPM rating.
I think it’s clear that Brendan Nelson’s listening tour has backfired, his Mum’s advice that people would like him better once they got to know him appears to have been one of those little white lies that are so prevalent in parenting. The Editor has had the intestinal fortitude to take a close look at the listening tour over at GrodsCorp, so I won’t go over the minutia here as well.

What is more interesting to me is why did the Nightwatchman need to go on this odyssey of ordinariness in the first place? The listening tour is a pretty standard part of political posturing, Peter Beattie made an art form out of it in Queensland, but it’s generally just an exercise in putting a community gloss over your existing policy frameworks. The Liberal party’s problem is that they don’t have a policy framework to begin with, so instead of being able to point out how real people’s concerns will be solved by voting for him, all Brendan can do is lead a chorus of whinging an moaning about how tough we’re all doing it. The NSW Liberals have proved since ’95 that pissing and moaning from opposition won’t get you elected but that seems to be the Nightwatchman’s only strategy.

So why don’t the Liberals have a decent policy framework? It goes back to arguments that I’ve made earlier, the conservatives in Australia have no natural constituency, they are a rag-tag coalition drawn together by their shared hatred of the principles espoused by the Labor party and progressive politics in general. The State branches are in disarray and the Young Liberals collectively promote vote winning ideas like climate change denial and remembering the good old days when John Howard was PM.

Brendan Nelson needs to stop listening to anyone who’ll speak to him, admittedly an already small group, and start coming out with some real policies and opinions of his own, then stand by them and see how people respond.

7 thoughts on “Listening tour? Can you hear this?

  1. Welcome back!

    We all pick on Mr 9% as being the Nightwatchman, but we should be giving him the credit of acknowledging that he in fact is a nightwatchman in the perhaps the shallowest batting line-up in history (I would have said that the current West Indies team has the worst batting line-up; however, they just knocked over Sri Lanka and you have to be pretty good to beat those black Bradmans in 4 days).

    There is no point releasing broad policy platforms this early on in opposition. It’s a lot of hard work for not much media coverage. If anything was proved by the continuos electoral success of the Rodant, it was that the voting public has a very short memory. This is further driven home to the libs when then they think back about where they were in the polls 12 months out from the election.

    The timing of the release of the policies depends upon what you predict for the next election. If the Coalition feel that they can get the 2% swing required to reclaim government in 2010, then they really need to leave their policies in the closet until they elect a new leader 12 months out from the election. Then the candidate can run on a slogan of new leadership and reform (strength) within the party. If they think they will lose 2010, then why waste their strong policies before then? This will only allow the Government to counter any proposal in the next term with the argument that ‘you took it to the last election and you lost – the public has already rejected your policies so shut up’.

    That said; the coalition would not want to completely write off the next election. They don’t want a further 5% swing as that will blow them out of the water until at least 2016.

    In any event the Coalition will likely not release any major political shifts for another 12 months. By then we will know whether the economy is going to be as bad as everyone thinks. If it is not that bad, then the opposition doesn’t have a hope in hell and Turnbull will have to wait a bit longer before his coronation. Alternatively, the change will be sparked when there is certainty of a change in an east coast state government.

  2. Lee, with the rats scurrying down the hawser and factions,they will have to Google to come up with a policy, or maybe that is the new policy.

  3. You get the feeling that any outward search that the coalition does is limited to Chritopher Pyne googling his own name.

  4. If you stalk him, he may mistake it for listening. Why not take the opportunity to give him some advice? ‘Play straight, keep your head down and try and make it through to stumps – no one is expecting you to score any runs’.

  5. Why not take the opportunity to ask him a few curly questions like, “Where’s you ear-ring?” and “Have you ever voted Liberal in your life now?”

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