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Tag Archives: #alp #insiders #review #albo #shorten #auspol2019

The Finite Game Of Scomo And Albo… Oh, And Nato. (which is obviously Richard Di Natale!)

There’s a book called « Finite And Infinite Games » which was written some time ago. Over the next few years, it’ll become more famous because Simon Sinek references it for his latest work, « The Infinite Game ».

Simply, finite games are the ones with a clearly defined winner, while infinite games keep going. A game of chess or football is a finite game; getting fit might be considered an infinite game.

When it comes to some activities, you may have some people playing a finite game, while others play the infinite game. You may be trying to raise enough money for a house deposit, while Andrew is trying to become the richest person in Australia. Your game stops once you have a certain amount of money, while Andrew needs to continue going even he does become the richest person because there’s always the risk that someone will become more successful than he is.

So if you consider politics in terms of finite and infinite games, you can see that there are all sorts of finite games that can be played. As an Opposition, Labor might like to play, « Let’s make Angus Taylor resign in disgrace! » Ok, in the current environment that’s not very likely because it doesn’t seem to matter what any minister does, they simply say something like: « It was a member of my staff! » or « I made a mistake and paid the money back! » or « That was against the rules but the rules were changed once we realised that most government MPs had broken them. » After that, there’s a bit of tsk, tsk and then they go on their merry way.

But the big finite game in politics is: « Let’s win the election. »’

Don’t get me wrong. Of course, this is an important game because not only do you get smaller offices, but there’s actually not a lot you can do in Opposition, even if you’re the Labor Party who seem to be getting asked about their policies more often than the actual government… However, it’s a problem when you become so obsessed with the finite game that you forget that some people are actually hoping for an Infinite game from their leaders.

The question for Labor and The Greens is which is more important at this point in history: the finite or the infinite game?

In days gone by, I would have said:

My admiration for The Greens was the fact that they were always playing the infinite game; they were actually trying to create a better future. My admiration for the Labor Party was the fact that they actually got into government and were much better than the Coalition. My admiration for the Liberals was their belief in individual liberty…in theory, at least. My admiration for the National Party was that that they had the sense to realise that they could attach themselves to the rump of the Liberal Party and join in the spoils of government even though only represented a very small percentage of the overall population. (No, I don’t mean country people. They haven’t done that for years; they represent the small percentage that are actually National Party members and you have to admire that in the same way that you admire the way cockroaches will survive nuclear war!) My admiration for One Nation is that Pauline represents the people who can’t string an intelligent sentence together. And she does this admirably by not even… sentence… forget the intelligent bit… we don’t need to… intelligent… I represent the men and people… that’s all right for city… but… look…

Anyway, I think you can see that I’m losing my admiration for just about all political parties and I’m wondering how we get even one of them to focus on the infinite game. How can we get even one to say, “Fuck this opinion poll shit and fuck what the focus groups say, this is what we believe and this is important and if we go down, then so be it…”

But I guess that’s not the way to fight a war. After all, didn’t the ANZACs decide not to charge because they’d lose? Didn’t all the diggers just come back because the Kokoda trail was full of hazards? No, they fought on. (See we can all invoke the silly war shit when it suits us.)

I better stop before I say: Lest we forget and have to leave the country like Yassmin.

On other matters, I have to say that I was gobsmacked by the story about China trying to get someone elected to Chisholm. All I can say is thank God we got Gladys who assured us that she was never a member of all those Communist Party groups and thank God that we have Scott who told the media that they take these allegations seriously, because I find it pretty hard to take anything coming out of Canberra seriously these days!


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“Insiders see problems with insiders’ eyes” – my review of the Labor review

In 2012, anti-corruption watchdog Tony Fitzgerald published an article titled The body politic is rotten. It is a must read from the man who exposed police corruption in Queensland and led to the end of the dictatorial reign of Joh.

One paragraph of it I found particularly relevant to my opinion of the Labor review into why it lost the 2019 election:

insiders see problems with insiders’ eyes, recognise only some of the problems and few of the causes and suggest insiders’ solutions with voters as mere bystanders. The usual, and sometimes intended, outcome is a flurry of superficial activity, appointment of a suitable group of other insiders to report, lengthy discussion of their report, considerable navel-gazing, a feel-good pronouncement and business as usual.

Then I read a comment by AIMN author George Theodoridis which resonated with me far more than anything I read in Labor’s review.

the people were waiting for some Whitlamesque inspiration, like Medibank for example, like free education, like less militarism, like less obsequy to the Americans, like the closing down of the offshore torture tents, like some statement against the savagery of zionism, like a decent policy on reduction and or elimination of the mountains of pollution that is suffocating the planet. That’s what was in their minds when the campaigns began. Instead, they heard mealy mouthed waffle about a thousand and one things none of which had much to do with them. Some house keeping chores would be done but the huge lumps of dung in the middle of the lounge room, the kitchen the bedrooms were not even mentioned.

It is often said that facts are hard to get across to a disengaged public, that elections are won on emotion.

If you want to talk about stirring emotions, those of us around for the time of Whitlam know what that truly feels like.

He made us feel proud of ourselves, not of our alliance to anyone else.  We stood up as Australians with an ancient history and unique culture.  We would engage with the world as equals, not vassals.

Universal health and education were, not only our right, but an investment in our future.

Labor’s review says they were unable to react/innovate to respond to twists and turns in the campaign.

We want inspiration, not political manoeuvering.

If anyone asks how you are going to pay for something we need to do, like raise Newstart (for pity’s sake, just do it), answer that, if we can afford to spend $20 billion a year on new weapons of mass destruction, we can afford to look after our most vulnerable citizens and assist them to be contributing members of our society.  Put emotion/empathy in your answer – not tables of figures.

Simply point out the actual dollar return of investments in health and education.  Stress the rapidly rising economic cost of inaction on climate change.

Get real about jobs and stop pretending they will come from new coal mines.  Have each local member/candidate draw up a list of sustainable job options for their area and what assistance they think might grow employment in their electorate.  Instead of issuing talking points for media appearances, have your members do some work in their electorates and report back.

Policy should be informed by what experts and stakeholders say rather than in response to what focus groups or shock jocks say.  I may be biased in this, but I think teachers would be able to better advise you on how to simplify your policy objective into a message that is understandable to the public (that is our job) than young marketing/advertising gurus offering image advice and competing slogans.  It’s not about selling it – it’s about simplifying it and making it relevant.

Polls mean nothing as shown by the last election.  Stop worrying about who is friggin’ leader and just do the job.  Personally, I would rather see some courage and conviction than ‘adaptability’ and some sort of Survivor leadership blame game.

But I think George hit the nail on the head – fear and hate is exhausting, we crave inspiration.


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