Campaigns of Slogans and Vague Statements With No Firm Policies

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The Liberal government formed in 2013 has been on a mission to implement the harshest neoliberal policies in the shortest possible time.  Their strategy has come directly from the US Republican and UK Conservative party approaches used successfully to destroy their societies since the 80s.  A fundamental aspect of the approach to the electorate has had standard features, these are:

  • Create the appearance of emergency, catastrophe and disaster both real and impending
    • In Australia this has been the ‘economic emergency’ that doesn’t exist. Every external commentator congratulates Australia on its very strong economy and masterful handling of the financial crisis by the Labor government that led us through it without major incident.[1]
  • Establish that only your party has the ability and intelligence to negate this catastrophe to give everybody a better life.
    • The Liberal party routinely claims that sound economic management is ‘in its DNA’ without providing any evidence to support the idea.  In fact, there is far more evidence to suggest precisely the reverse with multiple international bodies and economists soundly stating so on numerous occasions.[2]
  • Use this as the reason to impose neoliberal policies on the country as quickly as possible
    • This is disaster capitalism at work as explored in Naomi Klein’s ‘The Shock Doctrine’ at some length in a well-researched and coherent piece of work.[3]
  • When this makes people’s lives worse, explain that you need to impose even harsher neoliberal policies.
    • Be sure to have your corporate controlled media tell this story repeatedly to have the lie believed.  Murdoch has worked in close partnership with the Liberal party to achieve these ends for decades.
  • Throughout the process create a group or groups to blame for the problems of the nation and use every media appearance to reinforce this story.
    • Unions and foreigners are the standard targets and a war in another country helps justify the approach.
    • In Australia asylum seekers were made a target by the Howard government and their status has slid downhill ever since.  This has formed a major distraction form any discussion of significant policy in Australia for over a decade.
  • At no point let media publish the facts about neoliberal policies actually leading countries into deeper debt, greater inequality of wealth[4] and dramatically increase the percentage of the population slipping into poverty every year.[5]
  • Lie loudly and often in public, hypocrisy is best; people assume that the person loudly accusing would never perform the act themselves.
    • The Liberal party’s list of outright lies exposed in just the first 6 months of the government formed in 2013 sets a record for the level of bare faced lying to the electorate ever made.[6]  The silence of the Murdoch media on this topic tells you all you need to know about their bias.
  • Under no circumstances announce a policy that describes precisely what you will do, keep it to vague slogans that promise abstract results that cannot be tested.
    • The Liberal party released a pamphlet before the election containing many empty promises with no details and no costed policies.  Costed policies were released the day before the election, giving no time for opposition parties or the public to understand the assumptions and implications of the statements.

Whilst these tactics have become the mainstay of conservative politics in western countries over the last few decades, it is important to note the absolute lack of a response from the Labor party to any of these approaches.  In fact, they have adopted the same approach of ignoring the question of policy to focus on saying whatever they think will gain them electoral victory – and then changing that story almost weekly without warning.  Even the best intentioned program cannot be made to work without sufficient time to discuss and build a complete, working solution from what amounts to a diagram scrawled on the back of a napkin.  The absolute lack of transparency has only led to increasing distrust of all political parties as they seem to operate independently from the desires and benefit of the Australian people.


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