Saturday, December 08, 2007

It gets worse - journalism that is

You can't blame journalists for the headings that sub-editors choose but "A Ruddslide that never happened" is how The Australian heads an article by Brad Norington.

The article makes the observation that as the count has continued more of the doubtful seats have gone to the coalition, and that the ALP holds a lot of seats by very slender margins. This is used to start a claim that the ALP didn't win a thumping victory. If one thought that newspaper was into running agendas you'd think it was an attempt to de-legitimise the ALP's "mandate".

Last time I looked (thirty seconds ago) the AEC website had the ALP on 52.86% 2PP with a swing of 5.60%, as oft repeated the third largest swing ever. It is no surprise that following a change of Government that the new Government has a lot of close marginals, because usually those seats have seen strong local defence campaigns by well known incumbents with the generous parliamentary resources of incumbency. Let's face it the coalition ran the mother of all "defend the marginals" campaign this election.

So let's not get confused. The win was huge and awesome. No one in the ALP had dreamed they could pull it off till about March, and even the move to Rudd was interpretted as desperation Mark 2 not a winning plan. And finally the former Prime Minister's so called political genius and direct connection with the Australian people has been revealed for the chimera it was. He won 96 because the coalition lost in 93 (i.e. the public were waiting with baseball bats). He really lost in 98 but won due to the effect of Govt held marginals. He won in 2001 because, as John Howard is quoted in the recent biography, the ALP misunderstood 1998 and he won in 2004 because the ALP campaign dissolved in the yawning gaps between Mark Latham and his campaign team (reminiscent of the ALP in 96 and the coalition in 2007).

And come the next election there will be a swag of local ALP members with all their resources, and who will have been doing their Kevin homework in their electorates.

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