Thoughts on the future of the Greens after the Melbourne by-election
The result in yesterday’s Melbourne by-election confirms that if the Greens are ever to be electorally successful, they will need to become every bit the calculating, strategic and ruthless political party they have criticised Labor for being.
In other words, after years of promising progressive voters that politics can be ‘different’, they must now face the reality that there already was a progressive party on the left, doing everything it could to fight for progressive issues, but inevitably compromising in negotiations that delivered real, if not always perfect outcomes.
Now, the choice for the Greens is to abandon this naive criticism and get real themselves, or maintain their purity and fade away.
But even if they do begin to take a more ruthless, machinist approach and manage to take several seats from Labor (a big ‘if’), they will not have ‘changed politics’, but simply changed the colour of the main progressive party.
I don’t think that will happen.
Greg Barber’s rambling speech about ‘doing it for Bob Brown’ last night indicates that the Greens’ leadership is confused by this loss.
There is every sign that they will actually regress to an even more fanatical preference for purism over purpose, and shrink into irrelevancy from this high water mark.
The tired looking placards I saw at polling places yesterday read ‘This time I’m voting Greens’. A once effective slogan, but no more.
Many voters will today be saying to themselves, ‘I’ve voted Greens a few times now, but what has changed?’
Chris Bliss on why comedy is the original and still the best viral communication genre. Key features of comedy: ‘economy of language’ and ‘the alchemy of laughter turns our walls into windows and seduces us into looking at an idea from a new point of view’.
An audience, an audience, my kingdom for an audience
“The Canberra press gallery has reported for decades - at a comfortable distance - on industries under which various evolutionary banana skins have been slipped.
We covered the Australian automotive industry as it grappled with global trade liberalisation, and the consequent removal of its protections in the form of tariffs.
We have engaged in dispassionate conjecture about the sorts of retraining forestry workers could undertake (whittling clothes pegs out of naturally-fallen sassafras? Artisan cheese-making?) as wholesale logging staged its slow-motion collapse in the face of the sustainability argument.
And now, it’s happening to us. It turns out we’ve been operating in a protectionist paradise too - we just never thought about it that way.
Just think of the monopolistic advantages we enjoyed. The possession of the means to convey information to a large audience - be it vast clanking printing presses or the bristling array of dishes, cables, satellites, OB vans and countless other machines that go “Bing” on which television networks rely to make broadcasting look so deceptively easy - generated all sorts of market advantages. They cost a bomb, but it was worth it. Technology and infrastructure were our tariff walls.”
- Annabel Crabb, in a piece written after her Eisenhower Fellowship in the US.