Monday, January 22, 2007

house of cards

I enjoy reading Christopher Pearson's column in the Weekend Australian because it shows the floundering desperation of the Right when it comes to trying to justify a Howard re-election. This time round, Pearson is clutching at straws under the headline "Defeat will do Labor good". He's trying to reassure middle-of-the-road Conservatives that it's the Liberals who most qualify for underdog status and therefore deserve re-election. He argues that if you cut and run from the Federal Liberals, they will implode, so if you're a swinger because you believe in healthy opposition, you must vote Liberal. He says voters don't have to worry about Labor imploding, describing it as "far from finished and well-placed for an overdue reconfiguration of its relationship with the union movement". Demonstrating the extent to which John Howard has shaped the Liberal Party into the John Howard Party, even a Conservative like Pearson cannot imagine the post-Howard Liberal Party being similarly able to remould itself in Opposition. Weak as!
On the subject of industrial relations, Pearson declares that unions merely persuade workers they "can't negotitate in their own best interests" but then admits that "there are still plenty of employment categories...where the possible exploitation of young, low-skilled or casual staff means they'll always be highly unionised". So it seems Pearson is dimly aware of the utility of union representation after all. Maybe unions aren't that evil after all, eh? (Or perhaps they are just evil-lite?)
But Pearson's piece de resistance is a quote from Beazley: "Both Kevin [Rudd] and Howard, in personal demeanour and presentation, stick to the centre. Neither of them [is] histrionic when it comes to making a political argument".
Pearson manages to shoehorn this quote into the argument that Beazley has thereby painted Howard as "a man of the centre"". I had to laugh at Pearson's long bow here. Which part of "personal demeanour and presentation" doesn't he understand? Saying someone is nerdish in presentation has nothing to do with their policy style, which might still be extreme in content. Anyway, I'm looking forward to what Pearson will come up with next week.

Ps. The news bulletins keep telling us that Howard's finally reshuffling today, but unfortunately for the Liberal Party, it doesn't matter how you shuffle a pack of jokers, you're still going to end up with a pack of jokers.