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

Grant Bayley gbayley@ausmac.net
Mon, 17 Feb 2003 19:05:17 +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?
> > On Mon, 17 Feb 2003, Chris Maltby wrote:
> >> 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 no more than 10% nationwide (but higher in
> >> certain hotspots).
> On Mon, Feb 17, 2003 at 04:24:58PM +1100, Grant Bayley wrote:
> > Well that's sort of my point.  No, I don't believe opinion polls.
> Well, then, that would sort of explain the rest of your diatribe.

Not really.  Opinion polls of the sort we're referring to do not make
Governments.  Voters turning up at elections do, voting for a person that
they hope will carry their message to the lower or upper house of
Parliament.  What you and your colleagues here are advocating is not
far short of "having a vote" on whether to commit forces to disarm Iraq.
The problem is that the question could be proposed in any number of ways,
all of which will have a different outcome, and not necessarily the one
you'd want, John Howard wants, or I'd want.  Worse yet, it's as mindless
as having to get a vote on everything that the Government is charged with
being responsible for.

It could ask whether people were for or against disarming Iraq by force
with UN approval.  It could ask people whether they were for or
against disarming Iraq by other means (for example, the German plan of
troops+inspectors).  It could ask, somewhat more emotively "whether they
want war at all".  It could ask people whether they support the current
position of the Government in relation to Iraq.  It could be
something else.

As mentioned above, the only certainty would be that you'd get totally
different results for all such questions.  And it'd be useless even to
gauge whether the existing steps that have been taken (forward deployment
of troops) were agreeable to the people, because the situation is
changing so frequently that one day, it might seem overly aggressive to
have sent troops, whereas the following day it might seem a prudent move,
or something gray in between.

> Mr Howard, howver, has shown a great deal of regard of opinion
> polls up till now...
> As for the question of standing for election, you may not have
> noticed that the Greens (and Democrats) have been standing for
> these kinds of platforms for a long time. It's not just a few
> reds-under-the-bed Grant; unless you mean that the One Nation
> "phenomemon" was just a few half-crazed red-neck gun nuts...
> [We're really off topic now]

Call them whatever you like.  I'm not involved with them.  They were an
example for the purposes of comparing numbers.

Oh, and yes, I've heard of those "Greens" and "Democrats".