Julia is now ‘being Julia’ – complete with a big announcement – by her – that she’s going to be the new ‘real’ Julia prompting the opposition and media into the obvious riposte ‘then who was the old Julia?’. Might it have been a bit wiser to have been the real Julia for a few days and then, if the media hadn’t duly loaded it onto their memeographs to have send the spinmesiters out after the press to hand out memeograph cartridges preloaded with the desired meme?
No, Julia doesn’t have to be the real Julia particularly – though obviously it helps not to violate Brady Bunch rule #3 “Just be yourself Marcia.” She needs to be articulating both the Govt’s achievements – which are considerable – and its promise.
She’s a tad hamstrung in that by her circumstances. The greatest achievement – of having saved over 150,000 odd jobs – is an achievement of her old boss Kevin, though the Government has every right to take credit for it. And she’s hamstrung in it because for a year or so now, the government’s internal spinmeisters have told the government that school halls (and so, by implication, the stimulus) are not what you want to talk about – they’re where the Opposition is making headway.
As Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz put it last week, the choice was between waste from hasty stimulus spending (it was either that or nothing) and the waste of people sitting on the dole when they could be doing something useful, like let’s see . . . building school halls. Since the stimulus was the Government’s pre-eminent achievement, something that put it in Stiglitz’s book at the very top of the class when it came to fighting the GFC, not having taken on the Opposition’s criticism on waste left the government in a very bad place coming into an election.
Now, the spinmeisters are at least half right. It would be better not to start from here. You’d rather not have your strongest points like the stimulus so muddied by the one liners of the Opposition at this late stage. But this is where the Government is. And it’s a better place to be starting from than any desire to unfurl the ‘real Julia’.
Blogger Grog’s Gambit proposed some ads to focus on Labor’s economic achievement during the GFC. For instance screens rolling up lists like this:
During the Global Financial Crisis these countries went into recession:
The United States of America
The countries that didn’t:
But, as my old boss John Button once said to me after the 1985 election where the ALP did surprisingly badly despite its stellar performance in the previous term. “one emotion the electorate doesn’t possess is gratitude”. So you have to have something to offer them – based on your record. So based on the ads Grog proposes running I’d be concluding them with something like this.
“Tony Abbott’s policies would only have saved a fraction of our very small debt, but we’ve got another 150,000 people. In jobs. Paying tax. Paying off that debt. Who do you want in charge the next time something goes wrong? Do you want an Australian Government that will put it’s own job on the line to save yours?”