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.