David Williamson had his own little screed in The Age yesterday on Gillard and Global Warming, “Time for Gillard to set the Bulldog on the bully boy”. Let me go to the conclusion first so you can see the where he was heading before I go back over just how out of his depth this famed Australian playwright is. This is his first option for the Labor Party as he sees it:
Tough it out with Gillard and hope the Bulldog in her starts to emerge, that the independents stick with her, and that there are no byelections, so that the government’s two great and worthwhile nation-changing initiatives, the carbon tax and the National Broadband Network, will be too far advanced to repeal.
I guess there really are people who think like that. There are, after all, around a quarter of the population who would still vote for Labor federally. Williamson just happens to be one of them, clear evidence that being able to write a play is not evidence of having much of a clue about how the world actually works.
Who’d a thought, he writes, that female that the Prime Minister is, that she would be vulnerable to such ungallantries as actually being savaged for stupid policies. Is the following a sexist comment? This is how his article begins:
WHEN he was elected Leader of the Opposition, some of our political commentators thought Tony Abbott could not afford to unleash his ultra-aggressive style on a female opponent because it would turn the electorate off. How wrong they were.
But really, it is, as Williamson seems to appreciate, about policy, writing “we know that, logically, policy should be the most important factor in deciding fitness to govern.” It never seems to occur to Williamson that there are others out here who find the policies being pursued by Labor suspect in the extreme. So when he writes
forget whether she lied or didn’t lie about the carbon tax
the fact is we are not going to forget, and it is pretty obtuse to ask us to. Since Williamson believes that “one can make a strong moral case for the tax” – certainly a moral case that will appeal to people who are millionaires many times over – it must be a wonder to him that no one actually succeeds in doing it. And while “many economists believe the actual impact on living standards will be minimal”, there are other economists who believe quite the reverse. That the front page story on The Age yesterday was how people in droves are unable to pay their utility bills, one can see why a suicidal attempt to lead the world into a carbon tax future has only limited appeal, especially in that traditional “Labor heartland” which includes Gillard’s own electorate.
In the end, he thinks the problem is with the messenger and not the message. If this is what your best friends are saying about you to your face, what is being said by your enemies behind your back:
Gillard’s no-win situation is compounded by her leadership style. To sell this electorally difficult policy one needs a leader of the same slit-eyed aggression and boundless confidence as Abbott…. An attempt to be Ms Nice and smile and simper in the face of rude public aggression just doesn’t wash. Her ‘shy girl’ admission was honest but disastrous for her politically. It’s not that she’s a woman – it’s just that she’s a woman who has no ability to project conviction and strength to the electorate. Her habit of talking to voters as if she’s a school teacher talking to a particularly dim-witted class of infants, alienates.
There really are people in this country who think that the NBN and the carbon tax are disasters and will do an extraordinary amount of harm and not an ounce of good. They will make people’s lives worse and not better. They will add to our troubles and not reduce them. There really are such people. The question for David Williamson and the rest of the arts and media pack is to tell us what we ought to do if we are not to say in public as often as we can and as loudly as we can and as stridently as we can that the Prime Minister’s policies are idiotic and destructive, should that be what we believe.