The Australian “right” – to the extent that such a term means anything in these days of strange new political alliances, a largely non-performing and factionalised Liberal Party with at most a third or so of members who could be described even loosely as conservative, a National Party that is beyond a joke and which has all but eschewed its own former conservative ideology, and a shared woke globalist ideology that spans the ruling elites of all the major parties – is a mess.
There are many little mistakes made on the right of Australian politics. And one big one. And here I speak largely of (and to) those on the right who are outside the LNP tent, or who are tentatively in it, but strictly on sufferance and without the remotest enthusiasm.
The little mistakes are legion.
They include putting up with disunity, indeed perpetuating it; backing wrong horses – think Cory Bernardi – not presenting coherent, easily grasped philosophies to voters and potential supporters; not turning political principles into appealing, concrete policies that resonate with voters’ day-to-day concerns; and refusing to accept Trumpian populism, aka national conservatism, as the smart way ahead. You know – preserving Australian jobs, not selling off the farm, putting Australia first, respecting tradition and family values, pushing back against politically correct madness. Dare one say it – making Australia great again. The Americans have cottoned onto this. We have not.
The big mistake is fatal.
It is to mistake the battle for political office between the traditional parties for the real battle, the battle of ideas, remembering that culture is upstream from politics, and, as a result, to place all the strategic and tactical effort in party political games and elections. Backing the Liberal Party at all costs. Winning elections.
Having placed all the chips on this battle, certain consequential mistakes follow. Primarily, thinking that the main game is getting “conservative” parties into office and getting left-of centre parties or coalitions out of office. Hence those who mistakenly choose this course support the Coalition reflexively and to attack the ALP reflexively, without any reference to the bigger canvas. In summary, the Big Mistake is to keep backing the Liberal Party, absent strategic thinking about what ultimately matters.
The goal becomes winning office, at all costs and with all other things parked while we pursue the main game. Except that it isn’t the main game. This is the essential folly of the right. Getting strategies and policies in place to effect genuine change in society, to reverse engineer the take-over by the progressive left of the key institutions of society, simply never gets prime attention. Having clueless, non-ideological twenty something apparatchiks from marketing and public relations running the main parties seals the fate of the conservative hopefuls. Apparatchiks for whom “political management” is all. Messaging. This is all they know. The short term will ALWAYS out-do the long-term, and these young guns are mostly only there to get their career going anyway. Through the usual, seedy factional channels.
When you hear someone say, “I only vote for the Coalition because the other mob are worse”, which you will hear every other day, then you have lost the real battle. Every time, you hear – “but this election is more important than all the others. We CANNOT have Bill Shorten”.
This is the Liberal Party’s get-out-of-gaol-free card. They have been living off this since 1944. In other words, their entire life. Yes, it is difficult when you have a compulsory preferential voting system. You end up having to decide whether the Coalition comes in front of Labor, whoever you put first or last. Those bits are the easy part. Are you forced to vote informal?
This form of argument and its attendant voting behaviour is simply a race to the bottom. We all lose. Big time.
Or they say, “I vote Liberal in the House of Representatives and for a real right wing party in the Senate” to “keep the Libs honest”. Well, clearly that hasn’t worked. We have a rag tag mob of log-rollers in the Senate who have their own policy peccadillos but scant philosophical sense or big picture focus. Or they are merely chancers looking for their fifteen minutes of glory. Think Clive Palmer and his acolytes.
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