I hope the Labor Party is watching what’s happening to it at the moment very carefully, and learning a few lessons for next time.
Lessons like – there is a cost to completely burning your base.
Gillard’s aping of the Coalition on welfare bashing, refugee bashing, gay bashing, Greens bashing – has left it rather free of friends. (And for little gain – those who hate those things are always going to vote for the Coalition anyway.) So when she’s being beaten up by the Murdoch press, largely unfairly, the natural counter to that – those writers who didn’t detest her the moment she entered politics – is absent. Who’s writing the pro-Gillard pieces to counter the “she’s finished” guff by hacks who always hated her and scent blood in the water while the government endures some bad poll numbers while it figures out the carbon tax details? The attacks are running almost uncontested, because Gillard has so badly, so unnecessarily, so deliberately burnt the people who would otherwise have countered the most hateful rubbish by her opponents.
Gillard probably figured there was nothing to lose by attacking things the left holds dear – what are they going to do, vote for the Coalition? But what she’s missed is that having allies is vitally important in politics – particularly if you want the national conversation to be fair to you. And at the moment, she’s burning through friends far faster than she can afford to.
You can see the price she’s paying by opening any of this week’s newspapers.