The campaigners at News Ltd aren’t unaware that their general smears about the Greens are of limited effect in deterring Greens voters – voters who obviously simply don’t believe them. That’s no reason not to run those smears – it’s important to make sure that potential Greens voters are deterred from learning anything about the party beyond the half-truths and outright lies that make them sound like “extremists” – but it’s obviously not going to be enough to see them “destroyed at the ballot box”.
So there’s the second approach: make unrealistic, strawman claims about them that their voters might like to believe – the regular “moral superiority” sledge, in particular – and then when they fail (with their limited parliamentary representation) to achieve all those impossible “goals”, portrary it as some kind of a failure. So, for example:
Greens backtrack on carbon tax, saying they’ll accept a compromise price
THE GREENS have backed away from their hardline position on a high starting price for the carbon tax, conceding they won’t get the price they want in negotiations with Labor.
THEY’VE FAILED! They’re “backtracking”! “Conceding”!
And they’re INCONSISTENT!
The Greens’ stance is at odds with its decision to vote down Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme in 2009 because it was too weak
Well, no, it was because it was worse than nothing, giving public money to the biggest polluters at the Liberals’ insistence, but anyway, don’t let reality interfere with your cunning little bit of Greens-bashing.
When Greens deputy Leader Christine Milne said last week a carbon price of more than $40 a tonne would be needed to shift Australia’s reliance on coal-fired power to cleaner energy, the Gillard government responded that the starting price would be `well south” of that.
So she didn’t say that the Greens would accept nothing less than $40/tonne – just that it was the necessary price to achieve the sought-for aim of an effective shift away from coal. That doesn’t mean that they’d prefer no deal to $40. That doesn’t mean that they’re unwilling to negotiate.
So where’s this failure? As Brown points out:
“I’ve always said this is not going to be a Greens package,” he said in Canberra.
“I’ve had talks with big fossil fuel-involved corporations and they think about $40 is about the price that’s required if you’re going to get a transition from coal to gas and onwards towards renewables. But we’re looking at a package here of measures to get us in that direction. It isn’t just a price that counts,” Senator Brown said.
“All I can tell you is that whatever price comes out of this process is going to be the more active, the better because we’re there. It won’t be a Greens price, but it will be greener because we’re there.”
Let’s hope that Greens voters got that far into the article. Well, if they were reading The Australian in the first place.
It’s no surprise that the biggest Greens haters at News Ltd are trying to portray this as a betrayal of principle:
This compromise may possibly hurt the Greens, who may be blamed by conservative voters for giving us an unpopular tax, and blamed by the Left for agreeing to make it ineffectual, too – while Labor voters may conclude there’s no product differentiation now to tempt them into voting Green instead. The fate of the Democrats after compromising on John Howard’s GST is a warning.
Fortunately, Greens voters are smart enough to see the difference. The Democrats promised no GST, and their then voters (like me) believed them. And after they betrayed us, and voted for the GST Howard would otherwise not have been able to pass, we never voted for them again. In contrast, I suspect most Greens voters are happy for the party to be achieving whatever it can with the power it has won in Canberra – and any effective carbon tax at all is entirely due to their influence. So we’re hardly likely to give up on them.
The thing that would make us give up on them is seriously selling out. The relentless hatred of them by the Murdoch press reassures us that they haven’t. The minute News Ltd starts writing positive stories about the Greens, that’s when we’ll start worrying.