Can a viable political force representing traditional conservative values, arise and survive on the right of the centre while the Liberal Party of Australia still theoretically occupies that space in the public consciousness?
I don’t believe so, hence this post which argues that the greatest danger for new conservative political representation comes not from strangers, but from familiar faces.
I’ll be using the example of Corey Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives, however any other vaguely conservative party, existing or yet to be born, would be applicable. The identity of the alternative is irrelevant. The central premise is that we who desire a change, must make that change happen. If we yearn for a phoenix, first we need ashes; ashes we need to create ourselves as voters.
My semi-regular refrain “The Liberal Party is DEAD” probably reads as flippant and tedious prattle. Beneath it, however, lie two beliefs:
(a) That the Liberal Party of Australia no longer has anything to offer those who believe in conservatism.
(b) That ignored yet tolerated due to sentimentality, or even slightly wounded, the Liberal Party will claw, scratch and spit at anything within reach until its very last spasm. It seeks only to continue existing, to consume the oxygen in its vicinity and deny the same to others.
I believe that such behavior (b) will make it difficult for a viable, conservative alternative to arise and thrive. Therefore the Liberal Party of Australia must be destroyed. Totally.
I have stated previously my hesitations about The Australian Conservatives. Here and now is not the place or time to expand upon those without digressing from the central premise of the post. So let’s just say that hypothetically, I will switch my vote – which I value now, more than ever – to Bernardi’s party if they choose to stand candidates for the House of Representatives. It is certainly not going to the Liberals.
With the Liberal Party still swaggering around the ‘Right’ playground, however, the Australian Conservatives will have competition with an established, well-resourced organisation that still pretends to be conservative for the sake of differentiating themselves from the Labor ferals over the fence in the ‘Left’ playground.
The Liberals will brand themselves as reasonable, everyday, ‘family’ conservatives, and the newcomers as radicals and reactionaries. To we, the already-convinced, this will appear ridiculous, but in the consciousness of the general public, which receives much of their information via the feral-left media, it wouldn’t be a difficult branding task. ‘You know us. You’ve trusted us for decades. Who are these newcomers? Can you trust them? We don’t.’
Bernardi’s crew will flourish better and get away with growing pains and the inevitable mistakes in an empty playground.
Therefore, if we want something else, our first task must be to ’empty’ that political playground. Herd the Festering Zombies into the groundsman’s shed and metaphorically set fire to it. Douse the ashes liberally with acid, then lay an enormous concrete slab over the location. Now the playground is free for the Australian Conservatives to roam, play bullrush, fall over and skin their knees, and generally grow.
But how do we do that? I’m hesitant to suggest the memoryvault tactic, simply because that will lead to a digression and the perennial ‘at least they’re not Labor’ statements. What we need to decide in this thread is if it is necessary to make ashes, or if we think the old turkey and the new phoenix will play together just fine.
Certainly I would agree that reducing, rather than totally destroying the Liberals, is a more practical goal in the short term. The long history that underpins their brand will be enough for many voters to nostalgically cling to, particularly in the absence of a credible alternative that can establish a strong public presence.
If we are talking about realism though, do we think the Australian Conservatives (or another alternative) are going to be able to gain a significant enough initial foothold to be able to call the shots with the remainder of the Libs, assuming we have aimed for only ‘a little off the back and sides’ rather than ‘clippers, no comb?’
If the Liberals lose a substantial number of seats, are they willing to, or capable of, realising why? Or will they simply default to the ‘not left enough’ mentality? If the latter, the remnants will certainly shine the spotlight on the Australian Conservatives as ‘extremists’ and the ‘far right,’ because it will be easier to do so than target Labor or the Year Zeros (I refuse to call them ‘The Greens’). If I was a Liberal strategist, that’s what I would do.
I am not saying don’t vote for the Australian Conservatives or an alternative party, but focus first on destroying their competition. Yes, it is a simplistic strategy, but the idea is to stimulate discussion about how we can make change happen, to our benefit, rather than simply wait and hope and cross our fingers that ‘the universe will provide.’ Which, you have to admit, is about the extent of conservative political strategy in this country.
If we allow the gangrenous, spongy corpse of the Liberal Party to remain, it will spit and dribble and urinate acid on whatever is close to it. No-one benefits from the undead.
Napalm the playground. Allow something to rise from the ashes.