Hi, I’m Kevin and I’m here to make your kids a nerd like me.
Posted by Possum Comitatus on November 14, 2007
The ALP campaign ‘launch’ was today and it’s hard not to miss the policy thrust and vote angle.
Nerds unite – education for all!
450K extra training places including 65K apprenticeships, a computer at school for every child between years 9 and 12, doubling University scholarships to 88K by 2012, doubling post-grad scholarships to 10K and throwing in 1000 beefed up research fellowships.
It’s a beefy education package, and interesting as a play for the vote.
The narrative of the campaign launch is a clever pincer movement trying to turn Howards historical advantage of successfully porking the electorate against him (by making it a negative in terms of it adding to inflation and increasing mortgage payments as a consequence) while simultaneously positioning Rudd as future oriented compared to Howard, and cashing in on the “it’s time” theme.
It’s all very Rovish when you think about it.
We have interest rates (an historical Coalition strength in terms of issue positioning) starting to work against Howard by not only rising in the campaign itself, but coming off the back of a series of rises that basically makes the Coalition campaign theme of the last election look all a little dodgy to the punters.
That ‘dodgyness’ has been exacerbated by the “Howards a clever politician” line that’s been run for 8 months, and now we have Rudd saying that Howard is going to cause your mortgage payments to rise even further because of his pork barrelling in the election.
But “look at me” says Rudd, “I’m not going to risk that, instead I’m going to give your kids a better future” instead of handing out pork willy nilly and making your mortgage payments go up.
So the ALP have essentially covered the full temporal spectrum of the issue neutralisation of interest rates – so to speak.
The “Howards a clever politician” spiel reinforced what people have suspected about Howards political behaviour and framed him and his politics in that negative light. That framing then fed into the recent past with the ALP emphasising the “Keeping interest rates low” claim of the last election. The interest rate rise in the campaign itself has then reinforced the negatives of Howard and interest rates into the present, and now, to top it off, Rudd is pushing with his responsible spending mantra that Howard, in comparison, is going to increase rates again in the future as a result of his porkbarrelling.
It’s all quite audacious really.
Then with the other side of the play, Rudd goes hard on the education issue which plays up the difference between the Rudd vision of skills for the future and Howards vision of the 3 R’s being all you need (which I still cant believe that Howard actually said at the Coalition campaign launch – Textor must be isolated for that nonsense to be allowed to come out of Howards mouth)
Throw in prodigious use of the word “digital”, talk about renewable energy and infrastructure and the juxtaposition becomes powerful.
It’s a pretty tightly crafted trap, and pretty ballsy to boot.
And a guy like Kevin Rudd that looks a bit nerdish can probably get away with it better than most. When he talks about the benefits of education and being an “economic conservative”, the punters believe him because he looks the part. It links Rudd the person to Labor policy and lets the latter feed off the popularity of the former.
Although those Labor types at the launch were a bunch of happy clappers weren’t they?
I know it’s the way with these things, but sometimes there’s probably a limit where the ‘spontaneous’ outbreak of applause becomes a little gagworthy
Just further thinking about this, what sort of response can the Libs make to “giving kids computers at school and providing more education places”?
It’s a hard policy program to argue against, and the fact that it’s only 25% of the pork that the Coalition went with makes it hard for them.
I’ve just seen Shrek on TV avoiding the education policy and talking about Unions, the potential for recessions in the US and Europe, and unions.
The Coalition might be snookered on this for a few days.
For a real hoot, the Newcastle Herald reckons it has a poll on Paterson with a 0.1% margin of error. To get that, considering Paterson has an enrolled voter population of 90 504, their sample size would have to be a tad over 85 000.
If you want, you can play around with the sample size required here.
Honestly – these guys need to put it back in their pants.