Well, we’ve got some early entries in the Anti-Greens Smear Campaign 2010 today, starting with Neil Mitchell’s detailed article describing the flaws of the various candidates for office this year. Oh, did I say detailed? I meant for the ALP and Labor. The Greens got this:
Finally, there’s Senator Bob Brown, who may be taken seriously as people turn green in desperation. He should not be taken seriously. His policies are constructed in fairyland by incompetent elves. They would shut down Australia…
The unlikely but frightening prospect underlying all this is that if the two mainstream leaders continue to fail the country, Bob Brown could find himself invited to form a coalition government such as the UK model.
Suddenly New Zealand would become an attractive place to live.
Those ellipses did not include any discussion of anything the Greens have actually done or proposed. And why should they?
Why analyse any Greens policies when you can just dismiss them with vacuous hyperbole? I wonder which Greens policy the incompetent elves in fairyland were most high on pixie dust when they devised. Maybe it was better funding of public transport and the building of new urban public transport infrastructure. WACKY! Maybe it was better funding of public health, including mental and dental health. LOOPY! Perhaps the government no longer discriminating against gay people in the area of marriage. CRRAAZY! Could it be a functioning carbon reduction scheme that doesn’t reward the biggest polluters? MADNESS! Or perhaps treating asylum seekers like human beings rather than locking them up in remote Australia like criminals? BIZARRO! Could it be harm minimisation being the focus of drug policy, rather than the non-working lock-em-all-up-and-hope-the-problem-solves-itself scheme? NUTSO!
Whichever it was, Neil was right to completely fail to describe it in any way and rely on his audience’s utter ignorance of Greens policies and carefully-nurtured hatred of anything that could be described as “progressive”.
And Miranda. Oh, Miranda. Ms Devine thought it would be effective to go with childhood boogeymen. She attempted to portray Bob Brown as a “Green-eyed monster” lusting for power:
As people become increasingly disillusioned with the government (down to a 35 per cent primary vote) and wary of the opposition (on 41 per cent), there is now a real prospect of serious power in the hands of the unaccountable, job-killing ideologues of the green movement.
Miranda’s a hard-rightwing nut who thinks that any kind of regulation or taxation will “kill jobs” and that the best way to ensure the prosperity of the poor is to gouge them to make the rich richer, and somehow this will eventually trickle magically down in a shower of gold. So her “they’ll kill jobs” line is based on nothing more than that their focus is public services rather than tax cuts for the rich.
But I don’t get the “unaccountable” bit. Unlike the two major parties, the Greens are very clear about what they stand for. Their voters can hold them to account by voting against them if they don’t do what they’ll say they’ll do. That’s a stark contrast to the ALP and the Liberal parties, that try to be all things to all voters and ultimately stand for nothing.
Miranda then goes on a bashing exercise of anything any environmental group has done, despite them not actually being the Australian Greens, the party in question. And then she tries to tie it back despite, like Neil, not actually describing a single Greens policy:
Out front, all we see is the clever pitching of the political wing of the green movement as safe, sensible and decent. Brown and his colleague Christine Milne present a plausible set of clean hands as the political process turns ugly en route to an election.
It’s the lamest smear I’ve ever seen, which is a bit weird since there are plenty of Greens policies the conservatives usually love bashing. Harm minimisation on drugs is one, gay marriage is another. Both are of course the most sensible, realistic approaches to those issues, but they’re each sure to scare at least some people away. Much more so than vague attempts to tar the Greens by association.
If Miranda and Neil really want to participate in the official Anti-Greens Smear Campaign 2010, they’ll have to do better than today’s effort.