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The Forum > Article Comments > NSW election result opens way for a radically centrist approach > Comments

NSW election result opens way for a radically centrist approach : Comments

By Vern Hughes, published 2/5/2011

The destruction of the NSW Labor machine and the failure of the Greens shows that Australia will never embrace radical left solutions.

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Firstly the Centre is always *relative* - so calling yourself 'Centrist' doesn't necessarily mean anything much. Menzies supported a mixed economy. Back then this was the relative 'Centre'. Today it is a fight getting ALP leaders to reconsider this.

re:Left parties alienating voters: the author mentions the stall in the growth of the Greens and the decline of the Democrats. But it was exactly when Meg Lees attempted to be 'centrist' that the Democrats' support base collapsed. And meanwhile it has been exactly the Greens' status as 'the' left-wing party that saw its support base grow, stabilising at about 10%. (after about two decades of gradual growth)

Finally: There is a base of voters Labor has long alienated by abandoning class politics. There are many working class voters - and alienated Lumpenproletariat elements - who do not identify with liberalism on issues such as refugees. This has provided a conservative wedge; aided and abbetted by fear and hate mongering by right-wing media elements.

But there is no reason to suppose this base might not return to Labor should Labor consistently appeal to their material interests. And this is not to say the cultural struggle for social liberalism is not winnable amongst the mass of working people over the long term. (as changing attitude to multiculturalism and sexuality have shown)

The 'Third Way' has some redeeming elements: social inclusion, protection of the vulnerable, cosmopolitanism. But in taking 'the path of least resistance' it forgets the dignity and worth of the broad mass of labour; as well as problems of economic power; and many use it to rationalise what is effectively labour conscription.

Redistribution for social and economic justice, provision of a robust welfare state, a strategic mixed economy - all remain relevant social democratic causes. Historically this is the social democratic mainstream. But a take on the 'Third Way' that 'sways with the wind' - adapting to the relative Centre without contesting its meaning - is not the answer.
Posted by Tristan Ewins, Monday, 2 May 2011 12:12:11 PM
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Voters by-passed the Greens....
Vern,
Could this be one of the reasons for the by-pass ?

If a Conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a Green doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a Conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.

If a Green is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a Conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.

If a Green is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a Conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.

A Green wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a Conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.

Greens demand that those they don't like be shut down.

If a Conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.

A Green non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.

If a Conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.

A Green demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a Conservative reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.

A Green will delete it because he's "offended"
Posted by individual, Monday, 2 May 2011 12:21:23 PM
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individual .. thanks, very good, have forwarded to many friends.

Nailed it!
Posted by Amicus, Monday, 2 May 2011 4:03:14 PM
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cheers,
i can't take credit for this , it was sent to me by email. Whoever wrote it deserves a medal.
Posted by individual, Monday, 2 May 2011 5:23:37 PM
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I'd say the vacuum in politics *is* because everyone's been sitting in the centre for the last few decades.

Nobody can even tell the different between Labor and Liberal anymore.
People just got sick of the recent Labor government.

But they don't by any means think they're going to get any significant policy change from the Liberals.

Moving from centre left to centre right, we are already oscillating in Centreland perpetaully.
The last thing we need is *more* centre.

That doesn't mean rehasing 19th century ideology, just standing for *something*.
Posted by Shockadelic, Monday, 2 May 2011 7:26:49 PM
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The role of politics & public policy is to solve problems and avoid misrule. This is achieved by Politianís achieving an equitable compromise between mutually conflicting interests. This means that the policies can be moderate or extreme, conventional or unconventional, as long as they achieve an optimum
outcome. Governments lose elections because electors have judged their performance at solving problems inadequate, or the opposition incapable of doing a better job.

The Greens did not win any seats in the lower house because there is not enough high density housing in the inner urban areas as yet. The fact that residents who live in high density housing tend to vote outside the mainstream, for the Greens demonstrates how flawed this urban planning policy is.
Posted by tet, Monday, 2 May 2011 8:25:02 PM
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