Ok, just recently I was wondering about how The Greens were placing memes on social media pointing out how much more ideological sound they were, when compared to Labor. While I understand that they feel themselves locked in a battle for the hearts and minds of the inner-city, latte-sipping, chardonnay swilling pseudo-socialist voter. Oh, all right, forget the hearts and minds stuff. It’s a battle for seats.
Now, I don’t want to take sides here. And not just because I sipped my chardonnay in between paragraphs. I used to think of The Greens as a sensible party. What I mean by that is that Liberal and Labor are locked in a struggle for power. While the Liberals have almost no moral compass (Ok, I know, I know. There is the odd exception who refuses to abandon his or her principles, such as Malcolm Turnbull who promised he’d never lead a party who wasn’t prepared to do something about climate change and ever since he become PM, he’s refused to show any leadership), Labor has always had a struggle between the pragmatists and the idealists. The pragmatists argue that it’s only by winning government that we can accomplish anything so ditching some of our principles may be worth it because we can achieve the really important parts of our policy, while the idealists argue that the pragmatists have no idea about what’s really important because they just agreed to sell out most of the… hey, why is the NSW right moving a gag motion and telling me to shut up in the interests of unity?
The Greens, on the other hand, used to understand that they’d never be in government so it was all about achieving the odd victory here and there. You know the sort of thing, we stopped the Franklin being dammed, even if it meant Bob Brown being damned. And, as someone who’ll never actually be ruler of the universe, I see trying to achieve the odd thing here and there, as sensible. Once one starts to think that power is anything more than mounting a tiger, then one is doomed. After all, the hard thing about riding a tiger isn’t mounting it, it’s the way you realise that hanging on is everything because once you stop riding it, you’re dead!
So when I started seeing memes pointing out that they were so much better than Labor on a number of issues, I had to start wondering if they’d joined the main game. Vote for us, because we’re not them. Now, I’m not trying to launch into an anti-Green diatribe here, but it did worry me because it was exactly the sort of political argument that the Liberals have indulged in.
And, as a latte-sipper who’s not quite inner-city enough to simply applaud anyone who complains about the imperfections of the world, I must say, I was wondering if they’d lost their way a bit. I don’t blame them for trying to win. Good luck to them in Batman, I say.
It’s just that it seemed to me that by attacking Labor – and by Labor attacking them – that the left is cannibalising itself. As I’ve said many, many times in the last two years, Adani isn’t going ahead. The Greens can ask Labor to condemn it, but Labor knows that’s not necessary and that fence-sitting stops them from being attacked by the Coalition for being anti-jobs. Pragmatic, I know, but that’s what parties who expect to win government are like.
Ok, no political party is perfect. But, as someone who isn’t part of any political party, I can’t help but think about the result I want to see. And, for me, the result isn’t the result of the election but what happens after. You know the sort of thing. I was glad that the Franklin wasn’t dammed. Or damned. But that was because everyone who wasn’t some Murdoch misled moron combined for a result.
So, having said all that, I had to wonder about Amanda Vanstone’s column in the paper today where she suggested that voting for independents didn’t achieve anything. She went on to say that minor parties weren’t much better.
I couldn’t help but wonder. Doesn’t she know that her party didn’t stand a candidate in Batman to help ensure that Labor would lose? Doesn’t she realise that they deliberately chose a strategy where there was no downside for the Liberals and that only Labor could be embarrassed? And yet, she advised people not to vote for anyone except a major party. And given there’s no Liberal candidate in Batman, that may be taken by some Liberal supporters in the electorate as an endorsement of Labor.
Strange bedfellows, indeed! She might as well have suggested writing “No Dams” on your ballot paper!