Thursday, April 28, 2016

Leftism as institutionalism

Prof Quiggin sings a sweet song of leftism as institutionalism:

The (presumably) forthcoming double dissolution will raise many issues. But most of them can be summed up as the defence of Australian institutions that have been under attack by radical extremists. I’m referring to such institutions as the ABC, CSIRO, the weekend, public education, the union movement, the fair go and our natural environment.
If I had had the time, I would have been banging on about my conceptualisation of the new institutionalism for months at my own blog. Labor are the new conservatives - and for leftists, that's a good thing. You can call it the Long March or whatever, but many if not most societal institutions these days reinforces progressive values.

Apart from anything else, it means Labor is the natural party of government, as no matter whether the Libs are led by a dry or a wet, they can't get anything done due to institutional inertia. Wingnuts would specifically blame the Senate for that, but the Liberals have long since forgotten how to develop policy or develop competent politicians to successfully argue the case for "reform", and have transitioned fully into reactionary grumps.

And now the boy's crying, so I have to get back to him.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The banality of small-time government

Apologies for another long break between blog entries. My business and my family have taken priority, and every time I thought to blog, I felt guilty. Things are turning around with the business, so here I am.

The other reason I haven't rushed to the authorial controls is that exactly nothing new has happened since I last blogged. As I said back then, Malcolm Turnbull has pretty much no room to move, constrained as he is by the right's Faustian bargains to not move to the centre, and the Senate's unwillingness to let him go further right. Thus all that remains, in the absence of vision, is the banality of small-time evils, as detailed by Josh Bornstein. The media is reduced to publicising Turnbull's thought balloons and reporting dutifully as this or that interest group shoots them down in screaming balls of flame. And, as Henry Blofeld has been wont to say, nothing is done.

This has led to the slow but inexorable frittering away of Turnbull's poll numbers, not only 2PP but his personal satisfaction ratings.
Turnbull's popularity plunge in Newspoll grows ever more spectacular.  A new worst -10 (38:48) rating this past week means he has now lost 48 netsat points in four and a half months.  Paul Keating alone is still ahead of him on that timescale (with 55 points lost in that time) but 55 points is the most Keating ever lost.  If Turnbull loses another eight points soon he will set an all-time record for the most netsat points lost in less than eight months, if not longer.
Like Rudd, he failed to take advantage of polls when they favoured him to go to a quick double dissolution, because the government carried a significant number of marginal seat holders who didn't want to be sacrificed for the good of the party. His netsats were the only reason he was installed in the first place, to sell the same old policies with a fresh set of teeth. Without them, he has nothing.

So, this leaves us with the underwhelming prospect of Bill Shorten playing Palaszczuk to Turnbull's Newman later this year. This fills me with ennui. However, I realise I'm not the sort of person at the moment to whom the difference between governments is personally discernable but I do empathise with those for whom it is, so I will still vote for him on behalf of those disadvantaged, disabled and disenfranchised who will benefit from a change of government. And, as always, Scott Morrison lurks.