Black arts again prove effective

I guess it’s still too early to make confident predictions about precise numbers of seats, but the Sydney Morning Herald is suggesting that the Blair New Labour government has been returned with a greatly reduced majority of around 68 seats (down from 160 in 2001), while the Tories look to have picked up at least 40 of the 50 seats that Oz black arts gurus Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor targetted for intensive application of their trademark subterranean campaign strategies.

Given that previous expectations (and even national polling in the week prior to the election) showed the Tories suffering a much larger defeat, this can only be regarded as vindication of Crosby and Textor’s judgment and the effectiveness of their strategies. As I’ve observed previously, they had a major argument with previous Tory guru Lord Saatchi about just how many seats should be targetted. Crosby and Textor argued successfully for campaign effort and spending to be focused heavily on the 50 most winnable marginal seats, even though that would mean that the Conservatives could not win government in the absence of some extraordinary development.

No doubt many left-leaning commentators will prefer to blame the significant anti-Labour swing on Blair’s prominent involvement in the Iraq Coalition of the Willing, but it would be unwise to discount the role of the sort of campaign strategies in which Crosby and Textor specialise.

I came to terms with the effectiveness of those sorts of strategies in the early 1990s when I was actively involved in Territory politics and Textor was a “young gun” apparatchik who had a major hand in guiding the local CLP to a smashing win in 1994 after Labor had enjoyed a significant lead in the polls only a few months before. The roles of both Crosby and Textor in John Howard’s four federal election victories since then have only confirmed my reluctant conclusion that carefully targetted “scientific” negative campaigning is extremely effective, and that this duo has developed an expertise that no-one on the Labor/Labour side currently matches.

Like it or not, the enduring success of Crosby/Textor raises some uncomfortable questions that social-democratic parties have no choice but to address if they aspire to (continuing in the case of New Labour) electoral success. The key one is: How is it possible effectively to combat these strategies, especially tactics involving the harnessing of arguably odious emotional reactions of swinging voters on issues like race, crime and poverty? Traditionally these have been issues involving a high downside risk of alienating as many voters as they attract, but Crosby/Textor’s scientific targetting techniques appear in large measure to have eliminated or at least substantially reduced that downside.

The fact that the Tories picked up marginal seats where the undifferentiated national polls suggested they wouldn’t, indicates strongly that the result flows in considerable part from the Crosby/Textor strategy. But one interesting aspect of the results is highlighted in this Guardian story:

The Tories in particular suffered a strong gender gap in the exit poll. While 36% of male voters were prepared to back Michael Howard, only 27% of women said they were prepared to do so. This gave Labour an election-winning 12-point lead among women, 39% of whom voted for Tony Blair compared with 37% of men.

In other words, the Tories got within a single percentage point of Labour with male voters, but a 12 point lead among women ensured a strong victory (if with a sharply reduced majority). Why the large gender gap? Did Crosby/Textor’s negative strategies work better with men than women, or did women react much more adversely to Blair’s enthusiastic championing of the Iraq military involvement? Or is there some other reason not apparent from here on the other side of the world?

PS – Mark Bahnisch, Tim Dunlop and Nic White have more detailed running coverage.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Nic White
2021 years ago
Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Ken, yes it looks like some of the poll numbers last week were dodgy – but it’s very hard to poll accurately in a voluntary electoral system and also in the UK where there is a lot of regional variation (the Tories again won only 1 seat in Scotland), and many three way marginals.

So far it looks like the Tories won 36 seats and lost 3. There are only 26 seats yet to declare. This includes the 18 constituencies in Northern Ireland where counting begins later – and where the UK parties don’t run candidates.

Labour’s majority at the moment is 61 and a figure between 60-70 is at the lower end of projections.

But it’s worth noting a few things:

(a) Labour lost 12 seats to the Lib Dems, with a few very close near misses. Some of the swings were very high – ranging from 15 to 30%. Many of the constituencies in question had a very educated and presumably liberal antiwar vote, but there were also constituencies in far less advantaged inner urban areas which went Lib Dem. Nevertheless, these losses and near losses, and exit poll results show that Iraq did damage Blair badly.

(b) New Labour tried to do the crime/immigration thing to a lesser degree, and arguably at one stage were trying to get to the right of the Tories on crime. Therefore it’s difficult in the absence of detailed survey results to come to see how much of the increased Tory vote was related to these issues. It’s just as reasonable to see it as a natural correction of the electoral pendulum where many constituencies whose demographics incline them to the Tories returned home after two Labour landslides.

(c) The Lib Dems pioneered targetting of marginals in the early 90s. Just as the Tories have copied Australian and Republican techniques, so have Labour copied Democrat ones. I remain to be convinced that Crosby and Textor had that much of an impact.

(d) As a reality check for the Tories, their current figure of 195 (with perhaps a few more to come) MPs is still less than Labour’s low point of 209 MPs after the SDP split and under Michael Foot’s leadership in 1983. On the figures as at 8.24am, Labour have 158 more members in the Commons than the Tories. It’s hardly the comeback they would have wanted. Reaction within the Tory party to Crosby’s strategies will tell us a lot.

(e) Looking at the swings in the nationwide vote, the Tories only gained 1.5% for a total of 33.2% – far below their 20th century average of 44%. Labour lost 4.3% of its vote, and the Lib Dems improved their position by 4.3%. That wouldn’t be a straight transfer but the Tories certainly failed to capitalise on a long term government with a PM who’d well and truly lost his sheen.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Mark

All valid points, but poor though the Tories’ result was in terms of 20th century average, it was still a lot less bad than most had been expecting a few months ago, or even a week ago. I’m not suggesting that’s all the doing of Crosby/Textor by any means, simply that it would be unwise to discount their influence and determinedly assert that it was solely an artefact of the Iraq issue (or even natural Tory constituencies reverting to type).

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

I’m not arguing that it was solely an artefact of the Iraq issue, and the Tories may have gained some late momentum. Most of the signs seemed to point otherwise, including leaks from within the Tory camp. I suspect the polls last week were wrong.

I did say in a recent post that it remained to be seen how effective the Tory marginal strategy was. No doubt part of this is due to the campaigning techniques used, but I really think we have to await further evidence before we make any confident assertions about the degree to which different issues and strategies shaped the result.

David Tiley
2021 years ago

Put your hands over your eyes if you don’t want to read something completely irrelevant – Andrew Landeryou has a blog running at http://andrewlanderyou.blogspot.com/ . This is pretty parochial, but Ken may be interested in the spectacle of someone involved with the courts, and running a highly excited blog at the same time.

Now, back to the affairs of great nations..

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Btw, Ken, I think the question of what social democratic parties do in response to dogwhistling (presuming they don’t just play along) is a good one. I wish I knew the answer.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Mark

Yes, that’s mainly what concerns/worries me about the phenomenon. I agree we need to wait until the results are in and some careful analysis done. But, as with Australian federal elections, it looks like Crosby/Textor are both better than Labor at picking and refining the dogwhistling messages and better at conveying them to the dogs while making sure most of the cats don’t hear or get alarmed. How do you combat that without adopting the same tactics and therefore throwing the social-democratic baby (puppy?) out with the bathwater? I don’t know the answer either.

Stan
Stan
2021 years ago

Dog biscuits.

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
2021 years ago

My take was (and remains) exactly the opposite of yours. The miserable Tory vote, only marginally higher than last time, will discredit Crosby, I think.

Bear in mind that, on the issues in question, the Lib Dems, who did well are more liberal than is Labour.

Given that we have the party votes, I don’t think it’s a question of political preference how to attribute the swing. Votes gained by the Tories (about 3 percentage points) can be attributed to some combination of Crosby and the general malaise of the government. Votes gained by the Lib Dems (about the same) are anti-Crosby, so the campaign yielded the Tories next to nothing, while hardening the opposition of two thirds of the population

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
2021 years ago

Maybe when snide labels like ‘dogwhistling’ disappear from the lexicon of the ‘we-know-better’ class, social democrats might do better. I wonder if those who delight in the term’s use have any idea just how conceited they sound.

Nicholas Gruen
2021 years ago

I’m not sure what I think. Its not very original but I’ll go down the middle on this one. I think John Q is quite a bit too sanguine. However I think the success of dog whistling is a little overrated. It is very successful from Government, but so too is triangulation.

So the takeout for me (until someone persuades me that I’m wrong which may not be that hard) is. (As I wrote these I ended up just writing away, so the first few points could be defended as ‘takeouts’. The rest are random musings.

1. Governments lose elections. Oppositions don’t win them. (See I told you this wasn’t going to be too original).
2. Dog whistling

James Lane
James Lane
2021 years ago

Ken,

In respect of Crosby/Textor, I think you miss the point. Competent market researchers will come up with similar recommendations for election strategy. The key to their effectiveness is selling these ideas to the political party (the same is generally true in consumer market research).

If Crosby/Textor are particularly effective, it has less to do with their methodologies and interpretation, than the ability to convince their political clients that their recommendations are effective strategies.

Tiny Tyrant
2021 years ago

Yeah, burn the ‘we-know-better’ class. They’re so conceited. Damned PC lexicon.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Nicholas, on liberals, it was very much to the credit of the Lib Dems that they denounced the Tory campaign very strongly when – as they were often competing for the same votes – this was probably not to their electoral advantage.

Mark U
Mark U
2021 years ago

This is the first time that Labor has been re-elected for a third term. And their majority is still pretty healthy at around 100 seats (not counting the Liberal Democrats. With Iraq and Blair off the radar in the next election, I would not be very cheerful if I was a Conservative.

saint
saint
2021 years ago

“Maybe when snide labels like ‘dogwhistling’ disappear from the lexicon of the ‘we-know-better’ class, social democrats might do better. I wonder if those who delight in the term’s use have any idea just how conceited they sound.”

Oh Al get over yourself a bit. ‘Dog-whistle’ politics, ‘dog-whistle’ journalism etc has been around for years and years. It means putting out a message that, like a high-pitched dog-whistle, is only fully audible to those at whom it is directly aimed. The intention is to make your target audience (supporters,r eaders) sit up and take notice while avoiding offending those to whom the message will not appeal. Even George W Bush’s last speech writer conceded to using dogwhistling on various consituents like evangelical Christians through the careful choice of words.

So someone – an Aussie I think – nicknamed it ‘dog-whistling’ and it caught on. But the referent of ‘dog-whistling’ is to the way the message is packaged not to what it says about the recipients. No more than a colourful – and in someways accurate – Aussie idiom in the same ilk as calling your dentist a ‘fang-carpenter’.

mark
2021 years ago

Al, what saint said. Also, this isn’t a left-right thing (gee, how often do I say that?); the reason “dog-whistling” has been used here and elsewhere to refer almost exclusively to disgusting right-wing tactics is because it hasn’t (yet) been used by the left. That could be because:
a) no lefty politicians have been in a position where it’s possible
b) there’s no equivalent constituency that could be relied upon to prick up their ears and say the equivalent of “they say racists are welcome!” (or whatever). This could mean either that the extreme right is more numerous than the extreme left, or that the left is inherently more virtuous (cough, yeah right).
There’s nothing to stop Blair’s successor dropping hints “hey, guys, we like Commies” and thus exciting some mythical disaffected pool of extremist left-wing voters, and if he were to do so that would be “dog-whistling” also.

By the by — and correct me if I’m wrong here — it seems to me you’re objecting not to the phrase “dog-whistling”, but to the implication that the Conservatives’ campaign was not entirely above-board because they resorted to thinly-disguised bastardry. If I’m wrong, perhaps you could suggest alternative phrases that still convey our disgust with the Conservative campaign… “It’s not racist to impose limits on immigration… are you thinking what we’re thinking?”. Perhaps we should refer to Conservative campaigns exclusively as “pandering to the scumbag vote”, so that it’s all out in the open and there’s no subtext to which one could take offence.

saint
saint
2021 years ago

Oh, something Andrew Bartlett picked up and posted in a comment at Mark’s:

Dog-whistling, conservative style:
http://www.richardallan.org.uk/?p=366

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
2021 years ago

I think it’s clear that the dog-whistle aspect of the Crosby campaign failed completely. Everybody on both sides could hear exactly what the Tories were saying.

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
2021 years ago

Yeah, right. The fact that none of us (except the incisive lefties, of course!) can see this whole system working is only more proof of its incredible power.

To paraphrase Saint – The tactics employed by John Howard meant putting out a message that brought the disenfranchised back into the fold. The intention was to make the target audience feel that their concerns were being addressed without making the majority of people uncomfortable (see ‘Aims of Democracy’). Note: These tactics put the worst excesses of Ms Hanson’s policies to bed far more effectively than any sanctimonious vilification legislation or earnest thundering from the Fairfax/ABC axis of opinion.

My highly informed opinion on the British election?

A slightly disappointing result from the Tories. They really need to get back on song with a consistent message of less government, lower taxes and less EU. Howard should probably stand aside.

A high water mark for the LDs. All downhill from here.

Labor. Blair will probably go. His party is increasingly fractious, and with the assault on his integrity by the left-wing press, his position is becoming untenable. Brown just doesn’t have the charisma – expect a remorseless decline.

Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill
2021 years ago

I think Crosby-Textor have been mildly successful but not particularly impressive in the UK. The Tories vote didn’t pick up too much. And between 1/2 and two-thirds of the seats they gained were due to first-past-the-post where Labor voters deserted to Lib Dems. Also the Tories won several seats where their vote flat-lined but Labor’s dropped 5-10% due to reduced turn-out.

I think the “dog-whistling” strategy probably only got them some incremental gains, mainly returning to the Conservatives some of their old bulwarks in the South-West. Where they were quite successful was in regaining some of their old stronghold in North London, e.g. the old dens of Michael Portillio and David Mellor. In this area the Conservative vote did considerably go up, but this area should be a Conservative stomping ground for its constituents generally have quite a healthy income and it can be assumed that the Tory ethos of self-sustainability would be appealing to such voters. I think you would find a decade ago that some of these seats would have been seen as unwinninable by even the biggest Labor optimist. The fact that areas like Fulham and Wimbledon had voted for Labor in the last two elections tells you just how poorly the Conservatives had performed. Also I wouldn’t be surprised if it was tax and not immigration that was a big factor in these seats turning-over. The tax issue (the Libs Dems promising to lift the top-rate to 50%) might also explain why the Lib Dems weren’t as competitive in Tory marginals as they were in Labor marginals.

So I think in this area, the South-West, and some modest gains in the Midlands, the Tories were able to gain some of their base vote back. I think this is also a weakness in Blair’s appealing to all-people, which while a success in a broader sense, allows an Opposition with a
targeted campaign to pick off some of Blair’s massive majority, and of course for the Lib Dems to target some of Labor’s left. And also I shouldn’t forget that in some seats, local issues like the ban on hunting were quite influentual in regional areas.

So Labor’s high-water mark might be over, I think the biggest problem for Labor (and the Iraq swing was quite damaging, but probably won’t be there in 4 years time) is a feeling that the government has run out of puff, that it has stopped delivering on its promised improvements. However, I don’t know if the Tories (unless they go for someone on the left of their party) will be able to capitalise on this as they are perceived as opposed to public-sector investment in the NHS etc. which has been electoral gold for Blair. I think for the Tories to win, the more likely scenario is a slight increase in their vote but for an even larger non-attendence by Labor voters, and I think this won’t be for some time. The only other possibility would be if the British economy tanks, but at the moment Labor has all the advantages of incumbency and are perceived as better economic managers. I think this complacency is what I think Blair-Brown et al have to guard against the most.

But there is still an enormous gap for the Conservatives to breech, if you look at the seats the Tories needed to gain to win government (the 130th, 140th, 150th seats on their hit list), they have made minute gains or have gone backwards and they need a swing of something like 15% to pick up what would be seen as Middle Britain.

Having said all that, even though I thought Michael Howard was pretty ineffectual, I was surprised that he resigned. For considering the miserable straits of his party, a 40+ seat gain could be interpreted as a modest success. I don’t know how much of this is attributed to Textor-Crosby, maybe they succeeded in getting the Conservatives to run a more tighter-focused campaign. Maybe its difficult for even the wiliest of campaigners when you’ve got a dud product. For from what I heard in the election when they ask people to position the two competing parties Labor is on average placed nearly smack in the middle of any measuring stick while the Conservatives are perceived to be way out to the right.

Also even if we were to award a gong to the most successful campaigner it would have to go the Lib Dem’s strategists with well-orchestrated leaks (the A-G report), Labor defections and more shenanigans that kept the Iraq war as the main issue in the media during the last week of the election, which converted several safe Labor seats to Lib Dem territory.

saint
saint
2021 years ago

Nice try Mr Bundy. But you changed tack from your original assertion. And came up with the required answer. Ha! I know how to dog whistle too. Remember I used to read your blog.

Andrew Bartlett
2021 years ago

It’s totally to the side of the main campaign, but the shift to the more nationalist extremes on both sides in the Northern Ireland results seems significant and rather worrying for the prospects of stable peace there in the short-term.

I don’t profess to know any of the local factors beyond the crude sectarian divide, but Ulster Unionist Leader Dave Trimble losing his seat (along with a couple of others) to Ian Paisley’s mob would seem to be quite significant.

I’ll try not to let my innate Irish bias show, but it’s hard to see how Ian Paisley going from strength to strength at the expense of more moderate Unionists (pretty hard to be less moderate) can be a good thing.

On the other side, Sinn Fein also picked up one seat from SDLP – a bit similar to the Unionists as a move away from the middle, although not of as much significance I think.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Ken, here’s something from the Guardian today:

“Even Mr Blair’s closest supporters such as Lord Falconer admitted that Iraq had been the single biggest factor in the Labour reverses, with immigration only coming second.”

Labour’s final majority is 65.

And from the Tories:

“Behind the smiles, however, was a dawning realisation that the Tories still have an enormous task ahead of them if they are to be serious contenders. Hard-headed Tories pointed out a series of factors showing formidable obstacles:

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
2021 years ago

Saint, I don’t get it.

I’m trying to point out that for someone who believes that Howard/Crosby/Textor’s electoral campaigns were nothing more than a legitimate appeal to the people’s democratic will, use of the term ‘dogwhistling’ sounds like so much elitist claptrap. In one fell swoop it implies that middle-ground Coalition voters are too dumb to understand what’s being put over them, and at the same time calls the many, many people that thought Hanson had something to offer, virulent rednecks. Gee, I wonder why KB(Sr)’s ‘cream of the working class’ has been deserting the ALP in droves.

There are many good arguments in favor of immigration. That does not preclude downsides, particularly in a poorly run program. Your choice to bandy about terms like ‘dogwhistling’ tells people that your position is axiomatic and inflexible.

I thought the Tory campaign slogan on the issue was clumsy and off-target. The focus should have been more on getting the system working again.

Much of the concern held by some Britons is based on illegal immigration – a problem which has undermined faith in the legitimate program. This is exacerbated by ethnic tensions in Britain. Use of language that implies that this is all the fault of ignorant, cropped-hair, lager-sucking BNP supporters is counter-productive.

I’m just giving you a helpful hint. Promoting the positive aspects of immigration will go a lot further to winning support from working class gits like me than calling us dogwhistled dupes.

observa
observa
2021 years ago

“It’s not racist to impose limits on immigration”

You can have racial limits on immigration just as Australia has in the past. Other reasons are of course cultural, economic and environmental which is why most developed countries impose limits these days. It’s a bit of an academic question I suppose, where countries are so unattractive to immigrants that they have zero or negative migration, as to what they should be accused of in the moral pecking order of the chattering classes, but then their ears are not able to pick up such high pitched screams. Apparently that is not a general problem for Anglo electorates with ears attuned to dogwhistles ;)

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

The Left is incapable of understanding or effectively opposing campaigns like this for one simple reason: the Left is incapable of acknowledging the truth they contain.

A case of ideologically-induced blindness that will lead to failure.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Nicholas, if you’re still reading, you might find this interesting:

http://larvatusprodeo.redrag.net/2005/05/07/why-i-would-have-voted-liberal-democrat/

Graham Young
2021 years ago

Ken,

The Crosy Textor strategy was a failure and the tactics a success. They can take responsibility for the Tory wins in targetted marginals as a result of their tactics, but then the idea of targetting marginals is not particularly deep. They can take responsibility for the Lib/Dem wins as a result of their strategy, because that is where the protest vote went.

Running their style of campaign with a viable third-party in the race is a lot more difficult than running it in a two-horse race as we have in Australia.

I suspect the Tories could have run just about as good a campaign on their own.

Graham Young
2021 years ago

Ken,

The Crosy Textor strategy was a failure and the tactics a success. They can take responsibility for the Tory wins in targetted marginals as a result of their tactics, but then the idea of targetting marginals is not particularly deep. They can take responsibility for the Lib/Dem wins as a result of their strategy, because that is where the protest vote went.

Running their style of campaign with a viable third-party in the race is a lot more difficult than running it in a two-horse race as we have in Australia.

I suspect the Tories could have run just about as good a campaign on their own.

saint
saint
2021 years ago

Um Al.

I just pointed out what dogwhistling meant, that it’s referent was to the way a message is packaged. It was you who implied that using the term implied a ‘we-know-better’ attitude amongst social democrats (of which I am not BTW so I didn’t even take your comments personally) If truth be told, can be seen from another angle as you setting yourself up as a judge of who knows better and who doesn’t. But again, I often find those arguments tiresome and counter productive,
so here’s the deal:

I wanted to point out what dogwhistling is but I felt a bit cheeky today. So I based my explanaton on explanation provided in respectible mainstream publication which I think are considered conservative (eg The Economist) which emphasized the ‘no offense part’ (usually missing in other articles etc where dogwhistling is discussed), because I know you have raised this ‘better-than-thou’ bit before and because I also remembered an interesting post on your blog about the Howard strategy being along the lines of ‘give them what they want’ all nice and respectable (said with an Al Bundy accent which I came to associate with your blog persona and which is probably nothing like you in person).

Now I really did want to tell you to lighten. But I also wondered if in pointing out the definition, I could ‘whistle’ to you to see if you would point to the Howard srategy as well, dogwhistling. I doubt that anyone else here would have been aware of it unless they knew your blog and also could see the connection with that blog post in the way I saw it. You may have not been aware that I was whistling to you. But I was.

That was all.

I apologize if that offends. But you see, I did pay attention to what you wrote. Personally I am in two minds about dogwhistling, push polling etc especially because, as people wise up to them, promoters, campaigners etc have to come up with increasingly different and varied ways to sell their message and sometimes there is an inherent dishonesty about the packaging itself, separate too whatever message it is trying to present.

Um I think the rest of your comment refers to immigration and hence is in reply to someone else, as I’ve not said anything about immigration.

saint
saint
2021 years ago

Yikes something went a bit screwy with that post. Apologies for missing and misplaced words.

Pub time I think.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

Exactly what Graham Young said.

Crosby Textor got the most number of seats out of the Tory vote with their targeting strategy, but the bigger picture was that the Tories have hardly increased their vote since 1997.

Winning back previously safe seats you lost in a landslide is relatively easy, as Labor found here in 1998. This is just about getting people to vote for you who would would normally vote for you, but wgo for some reason vored for the other side in the last election. (Or the the last two elections, in the Tories’ case.)

The hard part is going further and increasing your vote to a high enough level so that you can actually win government. This is much more difficult, because it means convincing people to vote for you who wouldn’t normally vote for you, or who might be 50/50 at best. As Labor here found in 2001 and 2004, this is much easier said than done.

The Tories have gotten 1/3 of the vote for 3 elections in a row. That isn’t going to win them anything. What’s more, the Crosby Texor tactics, if anything, pushed the voters to the left, with Labor losing votes and the Liberal Democrats winning them. A three party system gave the voters the ability to vote against Labor but not for the Conservatives, and Crosby Textor, at most, gave them the reasons to do so.

Crosby Textor is the iceing on the cake. The trouble is, for the Conservatives, there is no cake.

observa
observa
2021 years ago

Some latest research on Howard’s victory here http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,15225363-29277,00.html