Seeds of Labor’s election disaster planted years ago

Seeds of Labor’s election disaster planted years ago, by Nick Cater.

Labor would have won by a landslide if the lard-headed nincom­poops had paid attention.

Instead, they had “sent a message” to the Labor Party, Anthony Albanese told the ABC’s 7.30 host Leigh Sales last week. The message­ was that “we haven’t sold the message well enough”.

That Labor’s new leader should even bother talking about marketing the message, and not the message­ itself, shows that the implications of the party’s rejection have yet to sink in.

Labor will face the next election having spent 51 of the previous 75 years in opposition. The 13 years of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating are looking like an aberration. So long as it remains estranged from the workers it once represented, it is incapable of governing in its own right. …

The corruption of the mass party of the left:

The lure of identity politics is the key to Labor’s downfall. The first signs appear in a 1979 review that called on the party to do more to increase its appeal to women, ethnic communities and young voters. Yet, as the 2002 review acknow­ledges, affirmative action had the perverse effect of alienating Labor’s blue-collar base.

Female candidates were lawyers, teachers and academics. Few if any could boast low socio-econo­mic credentials. …

The Coalition comfortably held the seat of Menzies when the mighty wind of climate anger that was supposed to smite the Liberals in Victoria failed to lay low its strongholds. …

The 7 per cent swing against Labor in Chifley­ was in keeping with most seats in western Sydney, where the Coalition has strengthened its grip at every election since the early 1990s with two exceptions.

It lost ground in 2007, when Kevin Rudd fooled voters into thinking he was on the side of the battlers. And it slipped again in 2016, when the Malcolm Turnbull Experiment, as we now call it, worked in the blue-ribbon heartland but failed miserably in the blue-collar suburbs. …

No idea:

Chris Bowen responded to claims that Labor was not selecting enough working-class candid­ates in 2013 by arguing that Chifley would not be an engine driver if he were alive today. He claimed that thanks to Gough Whitlam’s abolition of university fees, Hawke and Keating’s re-intro­duction of fees, and Rudd and Gillard’s expansion of universities, “young Ben Chifley may well (have) become a lawyer, doctor, engineer or economist”.

[Michael Thompson, in his book Labor’s Forgotten People,] believes otherwise, concluding that Labor’s days as a mass party are gone.

The ultimate threat to Labor would be the rise of a leader in John Howard’s tradition, who talked­ over the head of the mainstream media and appealed directl­y to socially conservative Australians, who included large swaths of traditional Labor voters.

At the time of writing, Thompson could see no Liberal parliamentarian on the horizon with Howard’s instincts. After Scott Morrison’s emphatic victory and near-faultless campaign, he might be tempted to change his mind.