Simone posted her scorecard yesterday. Here’s mine. I hope it brings a little perspective to what can be an overly manipulative procedure. I probably should have included a column for Jesus. Click the image to see a bigger version.
The latest roundof election ads are out – the ALP has gone negative. They’re telling us that despite poll results the other guy – Lawrence Springborg – is not ready to lead us.
Labor seems concerned. Government media releases (still being sent via Government distribution lists despite “caretaker mode” being in full swing) are consistently refering to the LNP as the Nationals.
Springborg on the other hand is trying to claim the “change” mantra. I just saw an ad that pretty much ran with the “time for a change” motto.
LNP: B+: change + positivity + pointing at debt as an indicator of bad economic management are winners as we’ve seen in other elections (for example the US Presidential Election and last Townsville City Council election).
ALP: C+: Uninspired rhetoric – except perhaps the ad where Anna Bligh acknowledges that a deficit is needed to fight recession. Brave. Also somewhat reckless in the face of poll results and the LNP’s relentless use of debt as a campaign issue.
In other news – we are running a campaign on our website that emails candidates with respondents feelings on the Flinders Street Mall within a form letter. Clever hey. But Labor had the email addresses for Mandy Johnstone and Lindy Nelson-Carr wrong on their campaign page. They don’t even know how to spell Johnstone’s surname. Fail. D-.
The campaign proper has been underway for two weeks now. Here’s part one of my take on the candidates for Townsville’s three seats:
Mandy Johnstone – Labor’s factional darling somehow got the nod to replace Mike Reynolds, the seat’s former member. It says a lot about Mandy Johnstone’s campaign that her campaign website features a prominent photo of Anna Bligh and a tiny photo of Mandy Johnstone.
She seems nice enough – but is yet to make any impression on the campaign, except for an announcement of $10 million in funding for the Jezzine Barracks development.
Murray Hurst – The LNP picked a former Cowboys Coach with some experience as a Thuringowa City Councillor to run for the seat – at the time they had no idea who they’d be running against. Hurst has visibility, has a connection to the city’s most popular icon, and has some experience in government – what he doesn’t have is the ability to make any promises on anything before “he gets into government”. Oh, and he annoyingly drops a football metaphor or reference to his coaching experience into political discourse at the drop of a hat.
Jenny Stirling – we all know how I feel about the environment – and in particular the Greens. Jenny Stirling is largely to blame. Every time she speaks I want to punch myself in the face. If I was to act out that compulsion I would be black and blue – she talks everywhere. Anywhere her views can be expressed – be it the Bulletin’s feedback forms, Magnetictimes.com, letters to the editor, her own website, the media… she’s everywhere, commenting on every issue. And running at every election. While I’ve been here she’s run for council, for Mayor, for Federal Government, for the State Government, and now is running again. That’s five elections in three years – and she’s lost them all. Unfortunately her vote is increasing – and she’s probably got the profile to give this election a real shake. She also knows a media opportunity when she sees one.
Debt should not be a campaign issue in a recession. The fact Queensland has a big debt is a problem – but the future Queensland Government needs to be building infrastructure to create jobs.
So campaigning on the fact that you’re not going to do anything to address rising unemployment is ridiculous.
This raises a question for me – what happens when a state can’t pay off its debt – it’s not like infrastructure assets can be repossessed. And you’d think with all these countries racking up trillions of dollars in debt it’s all a bit moot.
Anyway, the ad makes some good points about Labor’s pointless debt – borrowing without finishing jobs (Traveston Dam) and spending money on projects that don’t work (Desal plant in the south east).
Springborg has been shaping the debt narrative for some time. His favourite line is that we’re paying $10 million a day in interest as a state. As a campaign issue debt is a winner. But politically it shouldn’t be. Particularly in a recession.
It worked a treat in the Townsville City Council elections because for some reason people are comfortable with personal debt in order to invest in infrastructure (housing) but not government debt.
The ads also look nice. Black again. They get points because it will work, lose points for political content, and lose some points for style – it’s an attack ad.
Grade – B-
Labor MP for Thuringowa (and Minister for just about everything) Craig Wallace has a 17% margin. He’s in one of the safest seats in the state. He barely even needs to advertise.
So why jump the shark and be filmed holding a puppy?
His ad is positive though. It talks about “delivering” for North Queensland and highlights projects “he has delivered”.
The Labor Party is telling us we can’t trust Springborg because a couple of months ago he said the current economic climate was not like the Great Depression. That it was different.
The ad runs a bunch of clips from world leaders (Obama, Rudd, and Brown) telling us what a crisis this is, and comparing the situation with the Great Depression.
So, was Springborg wrong for saying it’s not? No.
Here’s the thing. A lot of the problems we’re currently facing are caused by a crisis of confidence. Obama’s address to congress last week was optimistic. Politicians should be talking up the economy. We all know what happened when Wayne Swan said the inflation genie was out of the bottle.
It’s perfectly reasonable for a politician to be optimistic, or positive. Particularly when they’re in opposition. That’s their job.
The other thing is – the representatives featured in the ad are all from the left – the same side as Labor. The fact that Springborg disagrees with these people should be expected – and possibly applauded.
Labor at a state level hasn’t really learned the power of a positive campaign – and the cost of a negative campaign – even after Obama’s victory, and Rudd’s, the electorate is sick of smear campaigns. We want to know what you offer – not what the other guys do.
The ads look nice though. Black is the new black for election advertising.
Queensland politicians are on the hustings. The election is 17 days away. Media outlets are beaming at the economic stimulus provided by campaign ads. Except the ABC. They don’t get revenue – they do get content though. Each party gets the occassional spot where they can address the electorate.
Today was Springborg’s turn. I like Springborg. He seems like a typically laconic country bloke. I met him at a function last week. He shook my hand.
His address today was poor. It sounded like he was reading an essay. And it contained a couple of logical fallacies.
Particularly when talking about education. After going on about how Labor had borrowed money and lumped future generations with debt he proceeded to say:
“The LNP will spend money on schools. On reducing class sizes – giving your child the opportunity to be top of the class.”
This statement patently ignores that the only way some children are going to be top of the class is if it’s a class of one. And I’m not sure home schooling is an LNP policy.