# 11/09/2021 - Why Labor Will (And Deserves To) Lose The Next Federal Election

After losing the unlosable election in 2019, the Australian Labor Party went away and did some mirror-gazing, soul-searching and review-holding. But the party's latest plan to helicopter Kristina Keneally (a Pittwater local) into the Western Sydney seat of Fowler is just further proof that they have learnt entirely the wrong lessons from the experience. While Australia's clownish Fourth Estate had spent the entire campaign penning reams of fatuous analysis indicating that Labor was a shoo-in, in the aftermath they unashamedly claimed to know exactly what had gone wrong for Shorten and co: Their agenda was too big!


Image by Nathan Saad.

The ALP have clearly come to the same patronising conclusion - namely that the people of this country are too stupid to understand policy - but allow me to offer an alternative reading: rather than overestimating the intelligence of working-class people, Labor and the left-leaning media consistently underestimate it. It's not that the "deplorables" couldn't comprehend the policy platforms on offer, but rather that they saw Shorten, Plibersek, Keneally and the other Labor talking heads for the disingenuous political elites that they are. Of course, this diagnosis is an existential one for an ambitious political class, so it is no wonder it was never entertained. It is also why the same disdainful verdict was arrived at by those on the wrong side of Brexit in the UK and Trump's election in the US.

So the ALP promptly replaced one weird uncharismatic leader with another and began selling out on all of their values. Gone is the negative-gearing reform that would have helped cool the Boomer-driven housing racket in major cities. Gone is the franking credits policy that would have funded health and education spending. Gone are plans to repeal the Coalition's disgracefully unfair personal income tax changes. For fear of becoming a big target, Labor has gone sub-atomic, but I am not convinced that you can successfully run as the "safe pair of hands" in a country where you have only won majority government once in almost 30 years.

The bind that Labor finds itself in is one that "the left" is struggling with globally. To have any electoral success, they will need to decide who their base is beyond disgruntled Coalition voters. They can choose to represent the workers and losers (I don't mean that pejoratively) in our society or they can appeal to the loudest, stupidest and most performative people on Twitter. The last ten years have shown that they can't do both. Unfortunately, the ALP have tended to side with the latter cohort, who are nearly exclusively university-educated professionals with no skin in the game - the kinds of folks who love the self-righteous feeling of retweeting clips of Tony Burke totally owning Craig Kelly in question time, but certainly won't be door-knocking for you come campaign time. Unsurprisingly, one of the most decisive factors in the last election was the ALP's inept ground game. The idea that you could build any solidarity around these grotesque, sneering vampires is laughable and yet this latest Keneally move seems to suggest that it remains the plan. Keneally, for the uninitiated, has been electoral poison since she first popped up in NSW state politics but is very good at delivering talking points with tweetable passion.

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One recent example of the idiocy and hypocrisy of said vampires was the backlash Guy Sebastian faced when he posted a video about COVID-19 vaccination. In the video, Sebastian apologised for an unsolicited post on his Instagram the day before that urged people to get vaccinated. He is vaccinated and believes in vaccination but didn't feel, as an entertainer, that it was his role to "tell people what to do when it comes to their personal health choices". Well within hours, social media (and the mainstream media) was alight with smug condemnation. Most hilarious was this unintentionally ironic offering from one of the biggest hacks in Australian music Ben Lee:

Just as an aside, one of the more galling aspects of liberals is their predilection for condemning the alleged conspiracies of the other side. They relentlessly mock the vaccine-hesitant and those who subscribe to the Lab-Leak theory (as if governments and big pharmaceutical companies are known for their probity) and yet in my experience, they are just as conspiratorial, finding "right-wing bias" in every second media article and credulously believing every word from partisan actors (*cough* Steele dossier *cough*). In relation to the Guy Sebastian video, I saw fantastical allegations about the Hillsong church intervening and baseless theories about senior executives at his record label forcing him to make the statement.

The other thing the Sebastian fiasco revealed, was just how little these lizards actually care (or perhaps know) about working people. Western Sydney, for example, is often glorified but rarely patronised by the professional left, and this is perhaps why they have a lot of trouble applying their childish and absolutist rubric of good and evil to the views of its constituents. Sydney's West is home to countless migrant families (GOOD! 😃 ), but some of them hold conservative religious social views (BAD! 😦 ). The uncomfortable truth is that many working-class people across Australia agreed with Israel Folau, laughed at Chris Lilley's TV shows and are concerned about immigration (yes even migrants) and the left desperately needs them on the team to win elections. It is an admittedly difficult tightrope to walk but the current approach of condescension and grand-standing is patently selfish and self-defeating.

Whenever the next election is held, COVID-19 will play a decisive role but while the Coalition deserves to be decimated for their criminally inept handling of the pandemic, I suspect they won't be. I am also confident that any attempt by Labor to undermine plans to open up would see their vote amongst young people tank. Lockdowns and restrictions have been vitally important so far in the pandemic, but once everybody who wants a vaccine has had the opportunity to get one, some form of normality must resume. The health system is going to struggle and some people will tragically die, but locking people in their homes indefinitely is not an acceptable solution.

It is hard not to read the current situation along generational lines when lockdowns and restrictions disproportionately burden young people (who are missing out on years of school and university that they will never get back) and benefit older people (who are at significantly higher risk of serious illness). The notion that young people would feel any sense of comradery with the most selfish and entitled generation this country has ever produced - one that has bequeathed them a climate disaster, trillions of dollars in government debt and a housing markets that benefits them and nobody else - is frankly absurd. Scared people with backyards are the only demographic that has ever mattered in this country, but if Labor wants to win the next election they will need to proselytise some disgruntled apartment-dwellers.

If we ever want to see the back of our corrupt and shameless Coalition government, then a superior alternative must be proffered but modern Labor values are incoherent, paternalistic and immoral. Their most recent defeat in 2019 saw them double-down on the grossest elements of their platform and excise every policy that stood to make a tangible difference in people's lives. I don't actually know who will win the next election - it has been a wild few years and these things often come down to results in specific seats (e.g. I have no read on what the hell is happening in Western Australia) - but I certainly wouldn't be putting my money on Albo.

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