[LINK] {OT} Walk against War - sunday in sydney

Grant Bayley gbayley@ausmac.net
Mon, 17 Feb 2003 16:24:58 +1100 (EST)


On Mon, 17 Feb 2003, Chris Maltby wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 17, 2003 at 12:22:09PM +1100, Grant Bayley wrote:
> <snip>
> > Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't this the same impression
> > One Nation tried to give when it was in its ascendancy, and was
> > laughed at when support for their "representative" views failed
> > to materialise en masse at election time, instead being silenced
> > by a majority that wasn't as vocal or as inclined to march on
> > the streets with placards?  Don't you guys have any doubts that
> > the same will eventually occur here?  None at all?
>
> I'm not sure quite how to parse that first sentence, but I'll
> happily correct you for being wrong in comparing the current
> anti-war movement with One Nation at its first flush. First, the
> orders of magnitude are way out if you believe opinion polls - the
> opposition to war is in a clear national majority while support
> for One Nation reached more than 10% nationwide (but higher in
> certain hotspots).

Well that's sort of my point.  No, I don't believe opinion polls.

The One Nation point is as follows.  When something abhorrent to the
leftist mind surfaces, such as One Nation, it draws comfort from the fact
that at even at 10%, spread fairly thinly over the electorate with some
hotspots as you mentioned, the potential reach of the organisation is
contained fairly effectively by the mechanics of upper and lower house
voting.  The party would need a majority of votes in a majority of seats
to have any real political impact.  And when the support fails to
materialise, it is contained even more swiftly.

Yet when a cause arises on the scene that might have more legs than
globalisation, or anti-refugee detention, or anti-anything else that has
either failed to gather much support on its own or flat out fallen on its
face, the leftists jump on it, eager to unite and pool their resources.
And in no time, there's hundreds of posters plastered everywhere containing
pictures of sad looking women (Iraqi, no doubt), self-evidently helpless
children, simplistic slogans that any doublespeak linguist would be proud
of, and a call to action "if war breaks out".  In all, a call to rally and
show the imperialist capitalist warmongering running-dogs of "Howard" a
thing or two.  Why bother with fighting for your cause at elections if you
can pretend to be a leader with sloganeering, and posters, or a name
that's identical to the Prime Minister's.  No need to make the tough
decisions on national issues, no need to deal with annoying foreign
diplomats, and no need to actually commit anything beyond a Sunday
or two to the cause "if war breaks out".  And with 2.02% of the population
behind you - wow - you can't lose with such a "clear national majority".
Or wait, lets say it as 400,000 out of 13,800,000 (the number of
Australians above voting age, according to the ABS).  Oh.  That's still
only 2.89%.  Still a "clear national majority", I suppose.

Which decade of mathematics did you miss in school, or what definition of
majority are you using?

Or should I wait for the next rally at which you'll get > 50% of the
Australian population?

> Second, One Nation was a media phenomenon and tacitly encouraged
> by Howard via his "I support free speech" angle. A lot of the story
> was driven by the interest in what Howard might (or might not) say
> or do rather than what Pauline was saying or doing. The anti-war
> movement, OTOH, is truly grass-roots. Third, One Nation's leadership
> was a significant problem when the spotlight came on them as the
> protest element faded. The credibility of anti-war opinion leaders
> is somewhat more robust.

Well, the point isn't really about One Nation or what it stood for.

It's about the fallacy of them having the numbers to apply pressure on the
Government being just as fallacious as yours.  They, at least, had the
will to take it to the next level, run for office, and roll the dice with
the electorate, even if they eventually lost.  Do you, or any of your
"robustly credible" anti-war opinion leaders like John Pilger have the
will to run for the election?

Or as Sun Tzu might have put it, are your objectives greater than your means?

Grant