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At Australian Ballot Boxes, the Left’s Empathy Deficit Came Home to Roost

The result of Saturday’s federal election in Australia is being treated as the most staggering political shocker in my country since World War II. Scott Morrison, leading the Liberal Party, looks to have won a majority government—a result that defies three years of opinion polling, bookie’s odds and media commentary.

In the aftermath, analysts on both sides are trying to explain what went wrong for the centre-left Australian Labor Party, and what went right for the centre-right Liberals. Some attribute the result to Morrison’s personal likeability, and his successful targeting of the “quiet Australian” demographic—the silent majority whose members feel they rarely have a voice, except at the ballot box. Others cast the result as Australia’s Hilary-Clinton moment: Bill Shorten, who resigned following Saturday’s loss, was, like Clinton, an unpopular political insider who generated little enthusiasm among his party’s traditional constituencies. In 2010 and again in 2013, he roiled the Labor Party by supporting two separate internal coups, machinations that cast him as a self-promoter instead of a team player.

The swing against Labor was particularly pronounced in the northeastern state of Queensland—which is more rural and socially conservative than the rest of Australia. Many of Queensland’s working-class voters opposed Labor’s greener-than-thou climate-change policies, not a surprise given that the state generates half of all the metallurgical coal burned in the world’s blast furnaces. Queensland’s rejection of Labor carried a particularly painful symbolic sting for Shorten, given that this is the part of Australia where his party was founded by 19th century sheep shearers meeting under a ghost gum tree. In 1899, the world’s first Labor government was sworn into the Queensland parliament. Shorten’s “wipe-out” in Queensland demonstrates what has become of the party’s brand among working-class people 120 years later.

*   *   *

Picture a dinner party where half the guests are university graduates with prestigious white-collar jobs, with the other half consisting of people who are trade workers, barmaids, cleaners and labourers. While one side of the table trades racy jokes and uninhibited banter, the other half tut-tuts this “problematic” discourse.

These two groups both represent traditional constituencies of mainstream centre-left parties—including the Labour Party in the UK, the Democrats in the United States, and the NDP in Canada. Yet they have increasingly divergent attitudes and interests—even if champagne socialists paper over these differences with airy slogans about allyship and solidarity.

Progressive politicians like to assume that, on election day at least, blue-collar workers and urban progressives will bridge their differences, and make common cause to support leftist economic policies. This assumption might once have been warranted. But it certainly isn’t now—in large part because the intellectuals, activists and media pundits who present the most visible face of modern leftism are the same people openly attacking the values and cultural tastes of working and middle-class voters. And thanks to social media (and the caustic news-media culture that social media has encouraged and normalized), these attacks are no longer confined to dinner-party titterings and university lecture halls. Brigid Delaney, a senior writer for Guardian Australia, responded to Saturday’s election result with a column about how Australia has shown itself to be “rotten.” One well-known Australian feminist and op-ed writer, Clementine Ford, has been fond of Tweeting sentiments such as “All men are scum and must die.” Former Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, who also has served as a high-profile newspaper columnist, argues that even many mainstream political positions—such as expressing concern about the Chinese government’s rising regional influence—are a smokescreen for racism.

In an interview conducted on Sunday morning, Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek opined that if only her party had more time to explain to the various groups how much they’d all benefit from Labor’s plans, Australians would have realized how fortunate they’d be with a Labor government, and Shorten would’ve become Prime Minister. Such attitudes are patronizing, for they implicitly serve to place blame at the feet of voters, who apparently are too ignorant to know what’s good for them.

What the election actually shows us is that the so-called quiet Australians, whether they are tradies (to use the Australian term) in Penrith, retirees in Bundaberg, or small business owners in Newcastle, are tired of incessant scolding from their purported superiors. Condescension isn’t a good look for a political movement.

Taking stock of real voters’ needs would require elites to exhibit a spirit of empathic understanding—such as by way of acknowledging that blue-collar workers have good reason to vote down parties whose policies would destroy blue-collar jobs; or that legal immigrants might oppose opening up a nation’s border to migrants who arrive illegally. More broadly, the modern progressive left has lost touch with the fact that what ordinary people want from their government is a spirit of respect, dignity and hope for the future. While the fetish for hectoring and moral puritanism has become popular in rarefied corners of arts and academia, it is deeply off-putting to voters whose sense of self extends beyond cultish ideological tribalism.

*   *   *

The class-based realignment of party politics isn’t unique to my country. All over the world, left-wing parties increasingly are being co-opted by politicians who reflect the attitudes and priorities of voters with higher incomes and education levels, while right-wing parties increasingly attract blue-collar workers who’ve become alienated by parties that once championed the little guy. It’s been three years since Donald Trump became the Republican presidential nominee, and so this phenomenon no longer can be described as new or dismissed as transient. Yet progressives seem to imagine that it can be dispelled, as if by a magic spell, simply by incanting the right hash tags or bleating mantras about anti-racism.

No centre-left party in the Anglosphere has adapted to the ongoing class realignment. Indeed, they lack even the vocabulary to explain what such adaptation would entail—which is why the left’s recent election losses, from Alberta to Adelaide, are blithely chalked up to voter xenophobia or ignorance (a response that, of course, only serves to make their brand problem worse). Until the left finds a way out of this endless loop of toxic pre-election posturing and post-election blame-shifting, such supposedly “shocking” results as was witnessed on Saturday are going to remain a regular occurrence.

 

Claire Lehmann is the founding editor of Quillette. Follow her on Twitter @clairlemon 

300 Comments

  1. ” . . . ordinary people want from their government is a spirit of respect, dignity and hope for the future.”

    This.

    • prince says

      Trump was not elected because of his “respect and dignity” propositions. He represents anything but.

      Trump was elected because the left was hijacked into the Abyss of Insanity and all the “despicable uneducated simpletons” who are not part of the virtue signaling echo chamber have realized that what the left is offering simply defies logic.

      Until the left wakes up from this destructive hallucination of a world where
      – everything expensive will be made free,
      – all people will must equal outcomes regardless of abilities, interests and effort,
      – all whites are born guilty, and everybody else is born equal
      – and everything ends in 12 years

      … they will keep on losing again and again.

      • derek says

        I think you are wrong about Trump. He promised that the people who Hillary promised to put out of work would be prosperous. He said he liked the uneducated. He didn’t call them the deplorables but promised to work in their interest.

        He didn’t and doesn’t show respect for lots of people, agreed.

        Of interest is the rise of the conservatives in Canada starting with the Reform Party to the Conservative Party was driven in part by the disrespectful attacks on the Liberals and the elites in government. They would distribute stories of some ridiculous stunt that the Liberals were up to, either criminal or wasteful or ideologically silly. They chipped away at the sanctimony of the elites, eventually gaining power. They definitely didn’t treat the Liberals with respect and dignity, but the voters and population at large were treated quite well, far better in most cases than they had been.

        • Crybaby Trudeau and the passing of bill C-16, the PC compulsory speech bill in the name of equity or equality or whatever, is the worse thing to happen to Canada lately. They will welcome the conservatives back once they understand the lunacy of the social justice warriors in academia both students, faculty and administration.

        • David of Kirkland says

          @derek – And how has that worked out for those uneducated voters who thought a con man was “for real”? Hillary wasn’t putting people out of work, the markets were. She just acknowledged reality, that some old time jobs are being replaced by new ones. Pretending to hold on to the past as the world moves ever faster forward is nonsense.
          People need to find a way to be useful to others.

          • mnemos says

            They are actually doing just fine. Lower unemployment, more workforce participation, increasing real incomes. Yes – just fine.
            Fact is that we still need coal power, as an example. Technology is making coal power a smaller fraction of the overall mix, but in absolute terms it is still being used heavily and increasing on the global level. That is the reality that people like Hillary (and maybe yourself) still don’t understand. Those jobs may not exist in the world of 50 years from now, but they will still exist for quite a few years in the world we live in right now, regardless of whether rich people call people who work for power plants “deplorable”.

          • Eric Liskey says

            Please. Obama openly bragged about putting coal out of business. And Hillary was touted as a third term of obama. Instead of “tough luck, bitter clingers”, which was basically the position of hillary and Obama, Trump offered respect and hope. Whether fulfilled or not, simple respect goes a long way. Something the Democrats don’t seem able to muster.

          • Just Saying says

            things are working out well from a results perspective in the US:
            -sustained GDP growth +1% higher than in the Obama era (actually +50% higher; +3% vs +2%)
            -unemployment at 50 year lows (including the unemployment rate for blacks, Hispanics, and other marginalized segments of society)
            -wage gains +3.5% (+2% above inflation) for lower half of payscales; and +3.1% overall.
            -consumer confidence at 30 year high
            -business confidence at 30 year high
            -stock markets up +30%-35% from election

            While you would not know it from the noise you hear from the press, it’s actually going great.

          • Brett says

            Hilary is an outright liar. She said she would govern for everybody. Then attacked the ‘deplorables’ in the ‘rust belt’ of the ‘flyover states’. She sneered at millions of people while dancing with wealthy pop stars. To this day she can’t understand why someone as superior as herself was not elected.

            Trump is elected, removes red tape, reduces company taxes, fixes some ridiculous tariff imbalances, calls out China and the EUs one sided manipulation of global markets and……surprise, surprise! companies start investing in the rust belt again!! Who would have thought???

        • NYCVoter says

          The reality, Derek, is that people don’t vote for people they don’t trust or, worse, sense don’t like or value them.

        • Vorgias George Philip says

          You folks really don’t understand President Trump, he is anything but the bigoted clown the Leftist news media paints him out to be. His policies have benefit everyone. Black unemployment and Hispanic unemployment is at record lows-as far back as they can measure it. His tax cuts have benefit just about everyone. He’s fighting to renegotiate long standing trade deals to bring back the kind of high-paying jobs that Americans want.

          Don’t listen to your news media and don’t listen to ours, they’re way out in Left Field ideologically. They hate Trump and I’m sure yours will hate Morrison, but less and less folks are listening to them. Myself, I get all my news from trusted sources online-I haven’t watched our US news media in over 25 years, I got tired of their bias.

          Congratulations on PM Morrison, glad to have you with us in this fight!

      • Torrente36 says

        Absolutely. The more they double down the more they can’t recover.

      • Agreed. The left here in the U.S. is insane and that is partly why Trump won, but he also won because the middle class saw through the bullshit of the liberal democrats. They were way more astute politically than Clinton et. al. ever imagined. Plus, Trump had Steve Bannon who saw the picture exactly right. And it’s why I quit the Democrats and became a Republican after a lifetime in that wretched party and it’s goddamn lies.

        • D.B. Cooper says

          @Jon S. Fry

          And it’s why I quit the Democrats and became a Republican after a lifetime in that wretched party

          Strangely enough, my father-in-law did the exact same thing. After being a dyed-in-the-wool union member (Teamsters, I believe) for the better part of 35-40 years, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me (or him, I don’t believe), In 2016 he miraculously reversed course and voted Republican at the top of both the state and federal ticket.

          It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say, since that time (2016) his entire political discourse has almost completely inverted to the point where he regularly refers to Democrats (both politicians and private citizens) in the third-person plural “they” as if to draw a distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’. So, for example, my father in-law is fond of saying things like:

          They’re a bunch of idiots. Don’t they know that Green New Deal is gonna kill labor (by which he means blue collar jobs, which is itself a euphemism for unions). I’m telling ya, they don’t give a shit about you’re white, or God forbid if you decide to work for a living.”

          What makes this transmutation noteworthy, is the fact that the 10-years I knew him prior to 2016, he was as committed a Democrat as I’ve ever known; which to be fair, you would expect with him being a union member. In any case, during those ten years we regularly argued/debated various poltical positions of the Democratic party. Of course, he blindly for every single one, whereas I was considerably less taken by some of their ideas. For what’s it’s worth, I’m a registered Independent, which is pretty much the dumbest thing a person can be since it all but guarantees you’ll never vote in a primary. I will say, however, looking back I do think he had far less support for a few of the Democratic policies than he let on, such as NAFTA (for obvious reasons) and Obamacare (Cadillac tax on union health plans). At any rate, Mr. Fry, you are not alone.

          • DrZ says

            And yet the blue collar unions are in bed with the Democrats – go figure. It’s one thing for the blue collar workers, but this Democrat-Union love-fest at the level of public schools must change because it is a progressive indoctrination channel into public education.

        • You are absolutely right about “the bullshit of the liberal democrats.” People hate lying, and the left in all of the countries mentioned has specialized in institutionalizing lies and then setting up programs of both mass propaganda and targeted personal vilification against anyone who dares to question them.

      • The Democrats and the leftist radical wing are nothing more than totalitarian Marxists. They want power to reshape America in some utopian fashion, but I am here to tell you decent folks in America have caught on to this nonsense and are pushing back. Trump is the guy to take these clowns on and for that reason alone I will support him, that and his China policy, Iran policy and his border policy. I do think Trump cares about the working man and they support him, even though the tariffs are hurting farmers, they believe in him. And so do I. I used to hate him until I realized I was just following the braying crowd and decided to open my mind and see him without the terrible filter the MSM has put on him. He comes across as a really good guy sans the propaganda.

        • “even though the tariffs are hurting farmers”

          They really aren’t.

          Soybean farmers are hurting, yes, but the principle cause for that is that 2018 was a 4.5 billion bushel harvest after 2017’s 4 billion. Year over year record harvests are devastating for prices. By comparison, while China does amount to 20% of our agricultural exports, we only export 15-20% of our agricultural output. Even in just soybeans, China only consumes 5% of what we grow.

          The soybean industry industry in America is “priced” to be comfortable at about 3 billion bushels a year.

        • Toby says

          Anyone who supports the lying trump and claims his followers are decent folks is totally clueless.

          • Damian says

            Toby see it’s statements like that that will cost you liberals in 2020 but hey do you and I’ll keep voting Trump thanks.

          • Vivian Sneed Watts Allison says

            Keep running your mouth,,,about Trump and Decent folks,,,,It slides off our back,,Oh but wait until election in 2020.. we will do it again.

          • @Toby. There’s an excellent way to convince people they should change their POV to your’s! Deny their decency and therefore in some sense their humanity.

      • Jeremiah M says

        You left out the part where Hillary Clinton was quite unlikeable even to many people who voted for her (like me). Elections are in part a popularity contest and for all his blunder and absurdity if I was going to hang out with Trump or Hillary I’d still pick Trump even though I’m (somewhat) closer to Hillary politically.

        Hillary’s campaign also ignored the pleading from Bill Clinton thay they needed to focus on the midwest and not underestimate how looked down upon many blue collar voters felt by the center left establishment in both the media and Democratic Party.

        Hillary also desperately needed to have her own “Sister Souljah moment” like Bill did where she took a harsh stand against political correctness and identity politics runamok. She thought standing up to Bernie’s brand of socialism was what centrist voters wanted to hear, but what we really wanted to hear was her to stand up to the identity politics extremists who’ve hijacked the left and even center left. Also taking a clearer stand against illegal immigration would have been enormously beneficial.

        • Will Raper says

          How do you know you are closer to Hillary politically? She has changed positions on everything over the years. Nobody could know where she stood any issue from day to day

      • Nick says

        This sums up some of the reasons, but there is more as well. Things like always being the victim (group), everyone else is wrong, identity politics.

      • MJ Anderson says

        Trump was elected because Hillary Clinton is a strikingly incompetent politician.

      • Paul Weeldreyer says

        Well put! Here in the US we are constantly berated for daring to vote for Trump, but look at the state of our Democratic Party. We’re supposed to feel bad if we chose Trump over Hillary Clinton? The both suck; but the Left acts like it’s some big crime if we chose one corrupt and unethical person over a different corrupt and unethical person. Now the Democrats think that because Trump is unpopular, we’re all supposed to accept whatever far Left “everything is free and we’ll just tax the rich” nonsense that they peddle. They’re overplaying their hand…badly.

        • DrZ says

          Mr. Trump is childish and boisterous and is only outdone in this regards by his detractors in the Democratic Party and the MSM.

          • President Trump is a very good counter puncher and the leftists do not know how to handle him. In the last election, the Republicans put forth Gentleman Mitt Romney and he got creamed.

          • Maggie says

            He may appear childish and boisterous but he’s smart and clever. We like him because of his common sense policies and his unconcern for political “correctness”. Why he’s labeled a racist is beyond me, as there is no evidence for that in his administration.

        • Luke H says

          This week has made me so proud to be Australian.

        • gda53 says

          Methinks you misunderstand.

          Trump represents neither the GOP nor the Dems. He only ran as a Rep because the Dems were full on criminal loons, not just clueless wimps. And because he saw an opportunity to promote the Common Sense Party.

          When you comprehend that the “press” is simply the Dem party propaganda arm, you’ll understand how invasive their lies have been.

          Time to take the red pill.

          Trump is simply amazing. If I believed in an anthropomorphic God, I would have to say he was sent straight from God.

          So he must be destroyed. Seems they did that to another one of God’s messengers about 2,000 years ago.

      • This article could have been written in 2016 for the US. Once again, I’m not so sure it’s the right that wins the day, but the left that shoots themselves in the foot with their moralizing and condescending tone. They have no foundation to stand on – no moral authority – no example of how their ideals actually have worked to make a better society. Trump was elected because he was a middle finger to those who thought they knew best for Americans. I imagine Australia just elected their middle finger as well.

      • Phillip Galey says

        As the difference between a common noun and a proper noun or, identifiable group of the higher order, “the left” is to be capitalized thus: “the Left”, . . . same for “White Supremacist”; “Progressives”; “the Trumpers”; “the Never Trumper’s”; “Tea Partiers”; “the Abortionist crowd”; “Pro-lifers”; “the Black candidate”, . . . While “The weak-minded British” names all the British as being weak-minded, “the weak-minded British”, releases those who are yet in possession of their faculties, . . . to which, if you added, “Damn few there be!”, I would sure hasten to agree, . . .

      • Francis Figliola says

        …and the “despicable uneducated simpletons” include my peers, oodles of college educated voters, entrepreneurs, and professionals, as well as ‘shop keepers’, plumbing contractors, builders, electrical contractors, small business owners….you name it! The ‘Class BS’ is only good for a laugh since the Literati, Glitterati, Politirati, and Mediarati are overwhelmingly outnumbered by the rest of us!

        • Sorcerer says

          when Adelaide Stevenson was running for president, one fan, yelled out,”You’ve got all the thinking people.” Stevenson replied, without missing a beat: “That’s not enough, I need a mahjority.”

      • Tersitus says

        No one has “highjacked” the left— the party of extended adolescence marches on, as always. All dressed up in its overeducated finery and no where to go. The proletariat never followed. Why should we? The state never withered away. Why would it? Excuse me while I weed my garden.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Just as many”ordinary people” if not more voted for the ALP and the Greens as voted for the Liberal/National Coalition.
      The adage still applies, that the richer you are, the more likely you are to vote Liberal. A quick look at the results from the booth level will demonstrate the point.
      What this election proved is that Labor cannot attract as many of the ”ordinary people” as it did, because it has attracted a lot of pseudo-intellectuals who sneer at ”ordinary people” because they are frightened that we will all see that they are really ordinary themselves.

      • Gordon Smith says

        Peter from Oz – I have to point out (again) that in Australia all the surveys finds that the highest income voting group are the Greens.

        • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

          The same in Canada. In British Columbia, the wealthiest ridings usually get the most green votes. The three provincial green representatives are all from wealthy ridings with a high number of University educated professionals and retired professionals. In the interior, the working class heartland, the Greens come in at the bottom or in fourth place.

          • Mike van Lammeren says

            It was the same in Russia in 1917. The revolutionaries were all fortunate sons. The same with the 9/11 terrorists — all idle rich.

          • DrZ says

            Same in the U.S.
            Look at Marine County, San Francisco and Silicon Valley as cases in point.

    • HOWARD SCHWEIZER says

      Brilliant article, my hope is that people take the time to think about what was said and adjust their behavior to what is acceptable outside of their myopic self-serving circular logic tribal views.

    • Idealogues of any variety in love with their ideas, and ignoring what their hoped for supporters actually want for themselves will always lose…it just sometimes takes time for the Ideologues spouting of nonsense to be noticed by the voters,

  2. islamaphooey says

    “Condescension isn’t a good look for a political movement”. So so true. And yet, like the scorpion who stung the frog because it was his nature, they can’t help it. And I also believe that they get a thrill up the leg when they can turn their superiority complex up to 10. So lefties, please keep doing what you’re doing. It’s working so bad.

    • Thomas Sowell, one of our great Americans, calls it “The Vision of the Anointed”, referring to the leftist intelligentsia, and he is so correct in that assessment.

      • Brad Gregory says

        I read Dr. Sowell’s book of that title. And while it may be his least rigorous and least data-driven work, every work rings true and has proven prophetic. I didn’t vote for Trump. Don’t like him. But after seeing how the left and their thralls in the media have acted these last three years, I’ll vote for him in 2020, twice if I can manage.

        • Damian says

          Welcome to the winning side Brad.
          we are glad to have you and your support.

  3. Iain says

    the left may be defined as higher education party however their voters act like sheep and their arguments are often puerile and less nuanced than the less formally educated. I have to wonder if the better educated are too grade inflated and lack both common sense and the ability to make political decisons perhaps being blinded by arrogance cause by their education.

    • Jairo Melchor says

      With time, i’ve come to accept this phrase:

      “Well-educated does not equal highly intelligent.”

      It seems very well fitting these days, in light of the daily fear that courses through academia when someone dares to say and speak about an heterodox idea or subject.

      • Mitch says

        Well said. I have found that speaking with individuals that possess no university education can lead to a fruitful discussion about politics. Compared to those with a university education, the discussions are more nuanced and interesting. I fear that in the Land Down Under we are ‘educating’ a confederacy of dunces that are incapable of critical thought and discussion. The very thing a university ought to be doing is now an ancient art form.
        I say this as a university educated youth. I’m happy with Saturday’s result.

      • Jolly swagman says

        These days, well educated usually just means thoroughly indoctrinated.

        • Jeremiah M says

          The problem these days is the indoctrination on identity politics. In terms of fiscal policy professors were actually much more likely to be outright Marxists back in the late 60s and early 70s. Dont get me wrong professors are still far to the left of the average American on fiscal policy, but the vast majority at least believe in free markets to some degree. It’s the identity politics issues and political correctness where professors have gone off the deep end compared to 50 years ago. Although it’s often the adminstrators who are the even bigger “SJWs”.

          • Jeremiah M says

            Also a lot of this ibdoctrination comes just from being in a bubble with peers who are obsessed with appearing “woke”. Even a lot of left wing professors feel like they have to walk on eggshells to avoid the wrath of student SJWs protesting them and or reporting them to administration.

        • Frances says

          @jolly swagman
          Here at our billabong we took Chris Bowen’s arrogant, sanctimonious advice: ‘If you don’t like it, tough. Don’t vote for it!’ and we obliged. Sick to death of the sanctimony, omniscience, posturing, virtue-signalling, sneering, loftiness and abandonment of the majority.
          First time in our lives we have ever voted Coalition.And they’re still campaigning, telling us that we’re racist, stupid, homophobic losers who got it wrong.
          Who got it wrong again?

      • jakesbrain says

        There are some ideas so foolish that only the intelligentsia could believe them. — George Orwell, paraphrased

      • Capitalism rewards the risk takers, not the rule followers who studied and memorized their lessons and went on to become tenured academics. Nothing galls these academics more than seeing some bottom-half-of-the-class entrepreneur riding around in a Bentley. What could be more unfair than that?

        Academics feel they are grossly under rewarded for their “intellectual” abilities while those Bentley riding capitalists are greedy, unfair, etc. , etc.

        We can thank our teachers for turning our kids into little fascists. Tenure has to be revoked in order to save our country from these envious and jealous misfits. In a word, some good old defenestration is in order.

    • Denny Sinnoh says

      Yes.
      Who is smarter, and who is more educated:
      Someone with a bachelors in Nursing, or a PhD in Lesbian Dance Theory?

    • Under the control of the Left, our educational system has devolved into an indoctrination factory, turning out generations of people who are unable to think critically. Devastating for America but precisely what the Left wants: useful idiots who are at once dependent, ignorant and servile.

    • Andrew McKenzie says

      Universities and subsequent levels of education are a problem because they cling to analysis that is 170+ years old. The attraction being… it allows them to claim moral superiority irrespective of any other measure of success.
      Narcissistic moral grandstanding is dividing society and holding us back wasting our energy. The curse of our time.

  4. M Heeton says

    The so-called ‘shy Tory’ effect also appears to be growing in many countries. Polls are consistently underreporting conservative support and overreporting socialist support. Is this because of pollster bias, or disengagement of conservatives, or leftist hyper engagement? Hard to say but it is consistent.

    • Harbinger says

      …I suspect a fundamental problem is that traditional polling methodologies are not as efficacious as they used to be. Calling landline numbers from the phone book no longer gets an adequate sample, and other random sampling methods,( interviewing shoppers at a Mall) are expensive, and prone to sample bias. And this at a time when the media companies that do this, are not as financial as they used to be.

      • Antionette says

        I worked on the New York Times polls. The people who write the questions don’t speak the same language as the general population. They literally don’t know how to ask a good question.

    • E. Olson says

      MH – “shy Tory” effects are largely driven by the media, who consistently portray anyone from the center-Right or Right (aka people who respect and desire to protect Western culture, who believe in the value of work and hate welfare for the able-bodied, who believe in law and order and maintaining borders) as deplorable, racists, xenophobes, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, greedy, backwards, etc., etc. The mainstream media has become the marketing arm for the Left, and no longer even try to report news in an honest and unbiased manner.

      Obviously if someone is one of those “deplorable” types and get asked by a pollster who they plan to vote for, many will be reluctant to say they are going to vote for the “deplorable” party/candidate/policy, which leads to an undercount of true support. The only national poll that correctly predicted Trump’s win used a projective technique that asked “who do you think your neighbor is voting for?”, which found much higher levels of Trump support than the traditional question of “who are you planning to vote for?”. I expect the same technique would have accurately predicted Brexit and this Australian “upset”.

      • Joseph says

        E. Olson – I agree with all of that, except I think today’s liberals are more an extension of the main stream media than the other way around.

      • Michael K says

        In the states there is a phenomenon called “The Bradley Effect,” which refers to Tom Bradley, a black Mayor of Los Angeles who ran for Governor of California in 1982 and 1986, losing both times. He was heavily favored in the polls but lost the election in 1982, a result sometimes attributed to racism and the poll results attributed to white voters’ unwillingness to admit that they would vote against him because he was black. Usually ignored is the consideration that voters might lie to pollsters to avoid being accused of racism because they did not intend to vote for him for other reasons. In any event, the term has become common.

      • Brad Gregory says

        I was unaware of that polling technique. Very clever and I can see why it enhanced accuracy.

      • jakesbrain says

        Tell the truth to a pollster anymore and you paint a bullseye on your forehead.

    • Sorcerer says

      The recent socialist result in Spain, runs counter to that, though it does appear to be an isolated event, at the moment.

  5. “Queensland—which is more rural and socially conservative than the rest of Australia.”

    My American friends, she is being waaay too kind here. What Queensland really is is our equivalent of the Appalachians — it’s where we exile people who say things like “Errrr…what’s a light switch?”

    • ianl says

      And there we are. Exactly the attitude Claire Lehmann describes. This utterly stupid smart-arsery is guaranteed to lose – which is why I encourage it.

      • Mal O'Justaid says

        +1 Usually people who come out with this shit haven’t been here, or maybe went to Surfers Paradise during schoolies week, which is probably a bit like going to Disneyland and mouthing off about California.

      • jw says

        Pre-election: Hey you stupid F**ks vote for us!

        Post-election: You stupid a**holes, why didn’t you vote for us.

        I think leftist have a problem where their beloved identity politics encourage them to partake in so much self-flagellation, that they mistakenly believe everyone else likes beating themselves up for their “sins” to appear more pure. But the normals aren’t that insane.

    • Rational Number says

      Pigman, keep up the denigration champ, its working great.

    • Peter from Oz says

      What a load of rubbish, Pigman
      We all know that the State that takes the biscuit for idiotic rubes is Victoria, where the people are so stupid they vote for Labor in vast numbers.

      • Frances says

        Peter from Oz, Strewth, mate, are you fair dinkum? We do our best.We only lost Corangamite and Dunkley because the redistribution made them notionally Labor. Fair crack….

    • Nick says

      Is that another group identity your throwing around?

    • Jim Bray says

      From the US. These are really wonderful posts and a pleasure to read. In response to “What Queensland really is is our equivalent of the Appalachians” , I am a ‘Damn Yankee’ who has lived in the ‘Old South’ of Carolina. My neighbor was a retired coal miner from West Virginia. He worked in retirement as a lab technician in our local water purification plant, working 12 hours per day for 10 consecutive days with 7 days off at the end of each stint. On his days off work, he built spec houses that he would sell. He had built eight houses, before I met him. He also brought all his equipment over to my house and taught me how to dig a well so that I could install an irrigation system in my yard. He, of course, would never accept money from me, as that would be an insult to his Southern Pride.
      Was he an academic? No. Was he a real Mensch? Yes, most definitely. It is better to consider genuine human qualities that define the fabric of a person, than it is to search for division by grouping people into classes so that they can be singled out and denounced; deciding who is unfit to live in our society.
      I would rather live next to him, than to live next door to some of the academic elite I have known. He was always looking for something good, something fun, and it made me feel better just to be around him. Look around, at the Leftist Elites and tell me, do they look happy to you?

      • Jim Gorman says

        JB –> Man, you just described my parents to a T, although my mother had both a music and nursing degrees. I can tell you from experience that nurses are pragmatic and practical to the max.

        They were both lifelong FDR Democrats but at the end of their lives, they began to question the direction the party and the country was taking. Selfish, narcissistic, and morality gone astray upset them terribly.

    • Every country has its own Queensland. When I was young I use to decry our country rubes (I’m from Portugal). The ill-educated masses, the ignoramuses . It was cool, I was cool , I was sophisticated , I was now living in the big city I was an university boy. I feel ashamed of my old self. In some countries the different is very marked. I lived in Mozambique for a year, in a piece of paradise ( if you were European) by the sea, every weekend the people from Maputo ( capital city) would come to the beach and behaved like dicks, the locals hated them. In Mozambique the differences are emphasize because often the yokels speak a different language that the city folk as it was the case. One thing you learn when you read “germs, guns and steal” is that people are the way they are for a reason. Being an adult is to be capable to hold judgment and try to learn why the others are the way they are.

    • Antionette says

      This attitude is why Hillary lost.

    • TMAC says

      As opposed to saying, for example, “Errr . . . What’s a garbage disposal?”

    • Historian says

      “the Appalachians”—? No such thing. The region (I grew up in Appalachian Ohio) is called “Appalachia.” There is also an adjective “Appalachian” (no ‘S’) as in “Appalachian culture.” But the people from here are not called “Appalachians!”

      Your comment clearly gives you away as a condescending outsider…

      PS Where I live now, in a college town in “Appalachian Ohio”, the local working class (as far as I can see they’re all “white”) show up to their construction and house cleaning jobs sober and on time, which typically means 7-9 AM. . (So much for the BS that I heard in CA for years Americans won’t do construction and housecleaning jobs, only immigrants will!) The university student neighbors (mainly white too, though much more likely to be from big cities, the East Coast or other countries) stay up till 2-3 AM drunk and playing extremely loud music, mainly rap liberally punctuated with racist ( “n—” ) sexist (“b— “, wh—-“) epithets. If they go to class at all, they go typically around 11 AM or later. They let their dogs (yes! local college students nowadays think they have time for pet dogs) crap on my lawn, some have knocked over my fencing, put up to keep their dogs off my lawn, and one student liberately broke my attic window. None of the local non-students–“hillbillies” in the eyes of outsiders–have ever done anything so nasty to me or my property.

      So which group, the local working class, or the university students has the better work ethic? Which is the more anti-social? Which actually has the more serious drinking problem” ?

      Yet who is more likely to be hired into a better paying job….? Which is being condemned more by our media elites (see D. French, B. Kristol, et al.) for alleged lack of work ethic and substance abuse…?

      • Taylor says

        But the college kids listen to the swearing rappers with a sense of what they think is irony, but is really condescension.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @The Pigman

      Fortunately for us exiles the Appalachians are the most idyllic region of the United States. A wonderful place to live. Is Queensland that nice?

  6. Andreas K. says

    I watch the “peasant” classes of North America closely, traveling around whenever possible, and keeping an eye on the making-ends-meet orientation of their lifestyle and culture and attitudes. I must because, no matter my education or personal library, I’m one of them too. Pop sociology and political theory models may have the luxury to forget it, but ultimately what you do and the way you live, that’s what makes and defines a class, a kind, an “order” or “estate” as Classical or Medieval models would have called them.

    If you take an uneducated villager like my grandfather, watch him work hard and prosper as an entrepreneur riding the wave of opportunity that came first in the Roaring Twenties and again in the Postwar boom of the ’50s, his children will go on to highly educated doctors or lawyers or professors. But the times they keep a-changing, and eventually you get me and my siblings, working lower middle-class clerical positions or blue collar handyman trades, living our little unpretentious lives organized by necessity around sticking together as a family, squeezing pennies to make ends meet, and getting displaced by ever-changing technology and global economics. All our books and education don’t matter down here. Our “order” is the little man, whose outlook and worldview, whether by practicality or inclination or both, falls back onto the ancient model of extended family and friends, man-and-wife, hopefully children to provide for us when we’re old, and a narrowly parochial concern with what we need to do in order to pay the bills.

    The rest of society is to us like the weather: sometimes rain (welfare, benefits, etc) and sometimes drought (taxes, budget cuts, bad economy, etc). We welcome Society (TM) when it does something helpful, and we hold Society (TM) at arm’s length when it does something unhelpful. However, we can’t afford to commit to existential loyalty to this or that political or economic model. We don’t have the luxury to live in theories about how things are supposed to work. We have to live in reality, so even when we are t entirely self-aware about it, we only ever have political attitudes never fixed, eternal political positions.

    So yes, when that is your world, you end up shifting around with the appearance of contradiction. If things get especially unsettled, you might end up gravitating towards something more xenophobic or selfishly nationalist than you might in better times. And yes, if you’re inclined towards especially simplistic explanations and stereotypes, you might well end up in rather racist or bigoted territory. However, because you’re essentially wobbling in order to balance on one leg, because you’re basically trying to counterbalance topsy-turvy circumstances, it is much more accurate to say that any conventionally bad behavior and irresponsible policies you end up backing are a product of your shaky conditions.

    Simply to blame it all on racism or hatred or sexism or whatever doesn’t hold up. Most of us just don’t have luxury or time enough to embody a truly coherent, systematic ideology. We’re not affluent or dedicated enough for that. We just have attitudes. So if you yell, “Racism, misogyny, etc,” you’re claiming the fruit is the real roots. That’s just bad gardening, seriously.

    Till the soil better and you won’t get rotten fruit.

    • Roslyn Baker says

      Thank you Andreas K. such an intelligent and thoughtful post. You certainly speak for me.

    • Jeff says

      Very apt description Andreas K. I hope you will not mind that I share your post with others. Best wishes.

    • Geary Johansen says

      Really like your prose style mate.

      Keep up the good work!

    • cfkane1941 says

      You make me feel like Edward Everett right after listening to Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. It would take me two hours to put together what you just summed up in two minutes.

    • Brad Gregory says

      Very perceptive comment Andreas. I totally understand. I’d like to share a little cognitive trick I’ve learned that helps me assess the (apparent) insanity of the Left and those that judge us so harshly. It is, that they have mistakenly designated racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc., ad BINARY conditions, permanent and absolute. So, disapprove of Islam, or some aspects of it, or some practitioners of it…you’re a racist, xenophobe, Islamophobe. And, however mild, qualified, or data-based your position, it is a permanent and absolute stain. You. Are. A. Racist.

      Their error, of course, is in ignoring nuance and complexity in people and the positions they hold. Express concern about false rape charges (or the current ‘expanded definition of ‘rape’) and you are a Sexist, absolute and total. Point to crime statistics, or percentage of fatherless households. BAM! You’re a racist, hate all black people, now and forever. AND, unlike other human failings, such flaws are TOTAL. Absolute and forever and no gradation between an expression of concern and racist violence.

      This, in itself, is obvious to normal people and makes the left repulsive.

      BTW, I myself especially resent the “protected class” status of Muslims after a lifetime of watching open season on Christians. Just a hypocrisyphobic, I guess.

    • Tom Kwiatkowski says

      Very thought provoking and very well written !absolutely beautiful!

    • Sorcerer says

      Spent some years in the Tenderloin, in San Francisco, can sympathize. One does what one has to do, and it is usually best not to act better than those around one, as in, judge not, lest ye be judged.
      Taught me to appreciate people for what they are and not what they might become.

    • Well spoken, and the end line the most telling.

      How many of the Intelligentsia understand what it takes to raise anything from the soil, or how to count their pennies?

      Have they ever raised a plant from seed in uncertain weather, or had to scratch for a living, and work with family and community on just getting by in bad times or local emergencies?

      They live on dreams, and emote, and forever expect their undocumented rhetoric to always convince those who are not just looking for fancy words and sympathy for past wrongs.

  7. Morgan Foster says

    I would like to know what percentage of immigrants voted Liberal.

    • ianl says

      If you wait a bit until all the seats are vote-counted and declared, then overlay that map on a geographical map (mostly Sydney and Melbourne) complete with census demographics, your question will be answered.

      And that work will be done and published. It generally takes a few months after an election to surface.

    • Larry Larkin says

      Depends which immigrants.

      Those from Eastern Europe or Vietnam vote Liberal, always have.

      Their children and grandchildren, after 12+ years of indoctrination via the miseducation system we have these days, not so much.

  8. Scolded says

    “Former Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, who also has served as a high-profile newspaper columnist, argues that even many mainstream political positions—such as expressing concern about the Chinese government’s rising regional influence—are a smokescreen for racism.”

    The name’s a bit of a giveaway, isn’t it, pal? No axe to grind there, is there?

    • bumble bee says

      @Scolded, “…Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek opined that if only her party had more time to explain to the various groups how much they’d all benefit from Labor’s plans, Australians would have realized how fortunate they’d be with a Labor government,…”

      This one took a page out of the “Condo Time Share” marketing protocol. Keep drilling into their heads that it’s a great deal and they would be crazy to not take advantage while holding them hostage until they break.

      • Tim Murray says

        I was a candidate for the ALP and spoke with thousands of well educated and informed voters on and before polling day. Very few had got the message on the ALP policy. Many had received false information about ALP policy. Tanya was not being condescending in making these remarks she was being factual.

        I do agree with this articles broad view of an empathy deficit. Queenslanders care about the environment but rely on mining. When mining turns down housing prices turn down. Everyone is emotional about their own home, the greatest store of value for most Australians, and would be more inclined to vote about home value over environment.

        • Tim: Plibersek, Shorten and Bowen had three years since the last election, and a long election campaign in May, to explain their policies. Problem is none of the ALP spruikers actually understood the implications of those policies, but a majority of the electors definitely did …. and took Bowen’s advice to vote against them. Plibersek was definitely being condescending, just like Hillary Clinton. Remember, the mob will always work you out ….

  9. Scolded says

    “Former Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, who also has served as a high-profile newspaper columnist, argues that even many mainstream political positions—such as expressing concern about the Chinese government’s rising regional influence—are a smokescreen for racism.”

    The name’s a bit of a giveaway, isn’t it, pal? No axe to grind there, have you?

    Ram stuff down people’s throats and you’ll get a gag reflex. Keep ramming, and the gagger will eventually throw up and eject the stuff. That’s this election result. It’ll also be the result of this week’s UK EU elections.

    • David V says

      The irony is that coming from Laos, he should be all too aware of what Marxist ideology is capable of doing.

      • Jeremiah M says

        Wait so the dude is Asian? I assumed he was Black African or Aboriginal. I dont know about Australia, but in the US Asians are the opposite of oppressed suffering people. They have better life outcomes than any other group including whites. Everything from being the least likely to be arrested to having the highest average incomes and being vastly overrepresented at top schools and in great jobs.

        I’m not throwing shade at them btw. They achieve this through meritocracy only pointing out that at least from a US perspective it’s quite strange to see an Asian complain about being oppressed. At least outside of getting screwed by Affrimative Action policies at Ivy League schools.

        • Jeremiah M says

          The closest thing to oppression for Asians in America is Asian men sometimes have to deal with small penis jokes and have to deal with Asian women coupling up with white men at rates that vastly outpace the rates at which white women couple up with Asian men. This causes a bad dating imbalance for Asian men that truly is an issue.

        • jack says

          the NYT seems to disagree, they have employed a Korean, or at least ethnically Korean, woman to rant about racism.

          It’s all a joke to those of us who live in Asia, the US and Aus are much less racist than anywhere over here, and the Koreans are the most xenophobic of the lot, they dislike everybody else.

          Folks like Tim Soup, who grew up in Aus, need to get out more.

        • Indeed. Particularly an Asian in a very highly paid government sinecure. The guy used to tout for business by inviting people to complain to him about cartoons.

  10. Robert P Chansky says

    Sir, I hope to see you write an article here not just a comment.

  11. Peter Gardner says

    It’s true that the split in Australian society can be defined as tertiary-educated people Vs those with a secondary education. Is it mere coincidence that this split has emerged at a time when the number of universities has greatly increased (and their standards are consequently lower).

    • Peter from Oz says

      Peter Gardner

      I don’t think it’s true at all. In all the elite areas the Liberal win. Labor wins in the poor areas. There are a few noisy people with degrees who whine a lot and make you think they are typical. But on the whole the voters who are truly educated probablt plit politically evenly.

  12. Tim says

    I imagine the left in the West today is the only group of ruling elites who want “the revolution, man” – And guess what? They are getting it. Just not the one they expected.

  13. CTE says

    I looked for a sec at the dumpster fire that is twitter and was surprised how many people were claiming interference, etc. While twitter should never be considered anything but nation destroying entertainment, it did seem that Australia had its Trump moment (on some scale). I was also smiling at how many people called the people of Queensland racist, etc.

    I’ll be honest, I don’t really derive much pleasure when I really consider these events, and more importantly the reaction to them, but we have to find our humor somewhere (I really thought the progressive side of the US that I kinda belong to would change it’s tune by now after Trump).

    • I fear they will not change that tune until they learn to laugh at themselves, not just at those they despise.

  14. TarsTarkas says

    Leftists never lose elections in the Anglosphere, they are always stolen. And the despicables are despicables because only stupid, evil, or crazy people (or some combination thereof) would ever disagree with leftist positions, no matter what they are. ‘Take this medicine!’ ‘But that big a dose will kill me!’ ‘No it won’t! And even if it does, it’s for the greater good that you die!’

    • E. Olson says

      The otherwise fine article didn’t mention the likely Russian collusion with the Liberal party as the cause for the Australian upset over the rightful Labor winners. Is Quillette also a puppet for Putin’s evil plan for global hegemony? I only hope that Australia has opposition of the quality of Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff, and Maxine Waters to get to the bottom of this travesty of justice – does anyone know how impeachment works in Australia?

      • Antionette says

        Nadler, Schiff and Waters are a deep embarrassment to the left.

        • E. Olson says

          Antionette – apparently CNN, MSNBC, NYT, and the Washington Post haven’t gotten the message, because these 3 are featured everyday and in every way but negative.

      • Brad Gregory says

        As a Russian bot myself, I agree with your comment! Because we Russians have developed sentient AI and are using it to…have a very minor effect on Anglophone elections….??
        Bzzzt…does not compute….

  15. Though the US Democrats did gain control of Congress six months ago, and in Ireland (the Republic), where I live, there are NO conservative parties or politicians. Not one!

    • rnt says

      @jonhtshea

      Congress is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Democrats only gained control of the House. Thank god. If you had conservative politicians, maybe Balbriggan wouldn’t be having such problems with African gangs.

  16. David V says

    Most remarkable is how the attempt to emotionally blackmail Australians in wake of tragedy backfired. The reactions have been so hysterical that they cannot possibly be rational people. The Anglo-Saxon nations such as the USA, UK and Australia are targeted because they happen to be some of the most successful and productive countries on the world.

    The Left-Islamist alliance globally is facing a push-back. In Egypt and Tunisia, they rejected the Muslim Brotherhood. In Gaza they’re protesting. In Iran they’re protesting. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt are all taking a stand. While the regimes in Qatar and Turkey have been seen as major influencers in the movement.

  17. Daianto says

    We, in Canada, are approaching a federal election. For the first time in 50 years I don’t know if I will vote. Camille Paglia once offered the observation that the lack of good political candidates was due to the fact such leaders were burnt out by the excesses of the 60’s. A recent Canadian political cartoon had the caption of “Look, he was sent to the principal’s office in grade three.”

    We are devoid of leadership. Many of the greats of our society had the failings. Who, today, would risk their reputation to a Twitter universe? Look at the photos of past greats. They wouldn’t pass the muster in modern media which gyrates on the good looks of such people as the vacuous Justin Trudeau.

    The ideals of the Left, such as those personified by Tommy Douglas in generating public heath care, have been replaced by a Left the feels free to insult but take offence when such insults are challenged. It is my observation that few on the modern Left know what it is to get up for work at 5 in the morning nor seen a callous on their hand.

    While this may sound like the rant of an old grump, we live in a time best noted by George Orwell who stated only intellectuals could believe, ordinary people have too much commonsense. Trump didn’t win because he was the best candidate, rather Clinton described those Americans who were downsized as deplorables. Her husband, Bill, repealed Glass-Stegall which led to the average American bailing out Wall Street in 2008.

    Personally I’ll vote for the first candidate who knows what a socket wrench is.

    • Shamrock says

      For me it’s an easy choice. I am voting for the Conservatives because I believe Trudeau must go at all costs. He has been a disaster for Canada. I am intrigued by Bernier and if I didn’t feel the urgency to get rid of Trudeau, I would consider voting for him.

    • Michael K says

      Good comment. Today, a lot of political sentiment is divided between those who have signed the front of a paycheck and those who have never had to meet a payroll or cut their own income to make sure employees are paid. At a certain level of corporate governance, responsibility is diluted and become anonymous. If your HR department signs the paychecks, you are more likely to lean left. Small business is the last remaining bastion of conservative politics.

    • cfkane1941 says

      I like Camille Paglia and she writes well, but it seems like in her mind nothing happened before the sixties and the only thing that has happened after the sixties is Madonna.

  18. “While the fetish for hectoring and moral puritanism has become popular in rarefied corners of arts and academia, it is deeply off-putting to voters whose sense of self extends beyond cultish ideological tribalism.”

    Great Line

    • This is a great line. However it cuts both ways. Cultish ideological tribalism is hardly unique to the left. The right wing fetishize small government, the free market, personal weaponry, and religious devotion — as though they would prefer to live in Somalia. Perhaps we can agree that all of us need to hector less and spend more time in finding common ground, meeting each other as neighbors and colleagues in the enterprise called Life on Earth, and looking to improve happiness in both the short and long term.

  19. Peter from Oz says

    I’m sorry, but a lot of this article is rubbish.
    It is true that much of the old working class, which is now self employed and is really middle class as a result has moved to the right wing parties.
    But the ”elites” going to the left are some of the noiser noveaus who are a minority.
    In looking at this phenomenon the most important constituency in this election in was the smallest and wealthiest, Wentworth.
    This seat contains the most expensive real estate in the country. It is split into two halves. There are the areas closer to the city and the beaches in which the noveau elites tend to live. Then there is the even more affluent inner core of the Eastern Suburbs in which the older upper middle class lives.
    In this election the two candidates in contention for Wentworth were the Liberal (conservative in Australia) and an independent who claimed to be right wing economically but socially progreesive.
    So right there you can see that among the elites this was a battle between the wings of the right.
    In AUstralia you can actually see the amount of votes cast for each candidate at each polling place. WIthout exception the Liberal candidate was getting 60-70% of the primary vote in the old money areas and the independent was getting under 50% in the more nouveau areas. She made up ground in those areas because the votes for the left wing parties went to her as preferences. The Liberal won overall.
    The Labor party won all the poorest areas, as it is the party of the welfare recipients and the people who are still working class.
    Lesson: the elite is comprised mostly of right leaning conservatives.
    Labor is dying because its working class and welfare recipient constituency is shrinking. The old working class is either going to the right wing parties or to the Greens.
    Only 1 in 3 voters gave Labor their first prefence vote.

    • Rational Number says

      So, PFZ, you examine one seat, make some self assessments on social change/dynamics, then claim a lot of the article is rubbish. Wrong, the article is spot on in most ways. Although it fails to acknowledge the voter base said a loud NO to increased taxes, the voter base also implicitly rejects the noisy slur generators within the far left, who also align Labor, which is the basis of the article.
      Look deeper my friend.

      • Peter from Oz says

        I looked deeper than you realise Rational Number
        I actually looked down to where the votes were made. But really the point is rather clear. Affluetn areas vote conservative and poor areas vote Labour. The thing is that a lot of middle class and lower middle class people have turned away from Labor. That is where the article was right. Where it was wrong in ascribinng that to real elites preaching left-wing nostrums at the plebs. It was wannabe elites preaching lest-wing nostrums to the plebs whilst pretending to be holier than thou.
        It is very important that we do not ever call the fools and whinniers of the left the term ”elite”. That cheapens a useful word. It also makes something that we should admire into a negative concept.

        • michael f says

          while acknowledging and applauding the success of the LIB/Nats in the aussie election, it is still just 51/49 and just a few seats the difference. lets not get too carried away.
          And Peter … speaking as a Bondi boy … Wentworth is just NOT a good sample.
          i completely agree the term “elites” is misused terribly, i imagine mostly by those who call themselves that.
          I have a hope that the solid dependable suburban dad who is now our PM will manage a government that draws in the less well off by providing them with more of the good things of life like dignity, self reliance and hope.
          how good is democracy. !!!!

        • georgopolis says

          Peter, it occurred to me that there may be some confounding from age. Is it possible that the younger “affluent” (university educated but too young to own capital) get ticked under lower/working class? After all, they tend to live in cheaper housing areas during and just after their university years, at least where I grew up in Canada. I have noticed among my younger peers (I am 29), that these children of upper middle class who are working in retail and food service after their useless degrees, don’t seem to count themselves among the most privileged. All while tweeting about those evil corporations from a 2500 dollar Macbook Pro, drinking a 6 dollar coffee in a trendy “poor” (slowly gentrifying) neighbourhood.

          • Maddi says

            LOL. This is so true here in the US as well. My most socialist/liberal peers on social media are all the children of very wealthy parents…constantly whining about not having “free” college (as if they ever paid a dime, anyway) and not having free healthcare while constantly browbeating average working people for being privileged. And racist, of course.

            It reminds me of the video one group put out years ago covering the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. It was a bunch of spoiled twenty-somethings who don’t have to work sitting around outside…on their MacBooks and iPads tweeting about privilege and injustice.

            And they genuinely can’t see why people don’t take them seriously…

    • Paul says

      Peter, is it possible that you are defining “elites” differently than the author whose article you describe as rubbish? Economic elites at the highest end of the spectrum are likely classically educated professionals (corporate lawyers/accountants, doctors) and successful businesspeople and entrepreneurs. Educational elites, on the other hand, may not be as economically elite but are very well educated at the postgraduate level, working in academia, government, and administrative corporate positions. This is just an uninformed guess but I wonder whether segmenting the “elites” in this manner (ie distinguishing between economic and educational) is necessary to generalize their political inclinations.

  20. rnt says

    Well, if the left is increasingly the “well educated” then it will be a pleasure to tax them heavily.

  21. jimhaz says

    I think the left is now suffering from the results of their past success from the 60’s to the 90’s. Those times were great for blue collar workers – each year we had consistent wage rises and better working conditions. Artistic and cultural growth was massive during this period as new fields opened up as a result of technology. Unlike now, a much higher percentage of art such as music was novel. It was the low hanging fruit period. We even had free university education.

    Along came big time globalisation and this set a limit to any further distribution improvements – indeed some domains such as the wharfies had to backtrack on conditions that had become unsustainable under global competition.

    Globalisation included human resources – technologically advanced countries required migrants so as to expand this technological advantage and obtain more profits for the ownership class. High immigration became culturally ingrained. Long term Australians up to the end of last century could cope with these migrants – they were not affecting our identity and had not at that point made housing unaffordable as wages were still rising.

    Everything has now changed. Unions have declined as they have very little to offer in terms of improved conditions – we simply did not need same. They could only provide for wage rises, but even that was hampered by globalisation and high immigration and harder to achieve productivity improvements for the blue collar class. US blue collar wages were not rising and we could not go against such a trend.

    With globalisation manufacturing jobs were replaced with service industry jobs. Every one now had to have had more education. Min requirements went from Year 10 to Year 12 to now a uni degree. Wage rises of the highly skilled service industry working class (the good communicator class) have been two or 3 times that of the low skill and blue collar class (excluding some areas that immigration helps).

    From about 1995 we had a strong highly skilled conservative leader in John Howard who was able to manipulate the working class into following the Greed is Good viewpoint coming from the US. People could now get into share markets and investment housing and sure as day follows night, bubbles resulted. Howard fooled the blue collars into allowing the working class-rich divide to grow via much less progressive taxation and lower taxes on investment than wage income – he got away with it as the same thing was happening around the western world due to globalisation.

    The centre-left ALP was left floundering. They could do little for their blue collar base in economic terms. They also had become to suffer from the combination of affluence and redundancy – politicians wages have improved dramatically, many now had investment properties or were using tax loopholes. As their base no longer needed them Labor pollies lost the drive to truly connect and be motivated by the working class – they started to act like fat cats, more in it for the money than to achieve the best possible society. More elite types (such as Tanya Plibersek) started to join the party and the focus changed from the working class to equality based special interest groups. With the elites and affluence they appear to have lost their ability to strategize properly (and by geez this reminds me of academia).

    What they and much of the media does not realise is that social change must be introduced slowly, should not disadvantage the working class and most importantly that everything has limits. They are stuck in what they steered towards in the 2000’s and cannot acknowledge that the minority equality glass has no room in it anymore for the increasingly older population – it is full and starting to rot.

    During this time the conservatives who actually have nothing at all to sell to the working class, outside of a bit of token or illusory resistance to identity politics, but are supported by Murdoch and the business ownership class, have been doing everything they can to make the working class relatively poorer. The decline in progressive taxation under Marketer Morrison will just mean the working class will be paying a higher percentage of tax down the line. The ALP also sometimes suffers from the Whitlam Complex – where they try and prove value by making too many changes at once (Rudd with spending and Shorten with tax).

    • Sasha says

      Perhaps if you left out the silly pejorative comments (greed is good etc) comments there is a partial truth in what you say.

      The days of an honest representative for the “working class” such as Cliff Dolan are long gone. The show pony, Mr Hawke, proved that Labor has no interest in the lower incomes sector.

      Howard was simply an expert politician as was Keating. There are absolutely no comparative leaders available today and that’s simply the major problem today.

      Another point which makes me entirely gratified is the ability to publicly express an opinion via the internet. You may recall when the media (principally TV and newspapers) were the guardians of public opinion in a most arrogant and self satisfied way. How easy was it to get a Letter to the Editor published whilst daily the editor devoted entire columns to his singular point of view. Television interviews were entirely one sided.

      The mass media deserves no respect today as the elitist hegemony has finally been dealt a fatal blow. As has the poll bludgers.

  22. GRPalmer says

    Did Getup use funds provided by foreign sources to interfere with the Australia election?

    Did Labor knowingly seek to benefit from foreign interference, be it via proxy organisations?

    We need full report detailing all funding sources and investigation and exposure of any foreign interference through proxy organisations.

    We also need voter ID to protect Australians from criminal interference in all our elections, be they local, State or Federal.

    There is no valid reason to allow criminal fraud and the violation of the electoral process which determines those who make Australia’s laws.

  23. Daniel says

    Turns out Lehmann can turn out a phrase or two, in addition to publishing Quillette. Well done. Loved this article.

  24. GRPalmer says

    Maybe the Australian public understand that Socialism is just another a Ponzi scheme run by those who are unable to create wealth.

    Those of the Left believe who have the right to spend the wealth created by those who can, to buy votes and a job for life for themselves and their cronies who can’t.

    Very much like Universities and student fees using loans guaranteed by the Taxpayer.

    • Fickle Pickle says

      A Ponzi scheme is a scam whereby all of the money ends up in the hands of either one person/entity or the very few. All of the other suckers who were suckered into participating in the scheme/scam lose everything – they dont even get to eat cake.

      Speaking of Ponzi schemes some people who have done their homework argue quite persuasively that Capitalism is a gigantic ponzi scheme which is doomed to fail.

      Do a search on the topic capitalism as a ponzi scheme.

      In his well researched and extensively foot-noted book Economia the Australian author Geoff Davies describes capitalism as a Ponzi Scheme. In my opinion his book Economia is one of the best books ever written on the interface between culture and economics – certainly the best by an Australian author.
      The book is now out of print but parts of, and even the entire book can be downloaded in pdf format from his website http:/betternature.wordpress.com

      • ga gamba says

        Indeed, indeed. The itinerant rag seller was saying so just the other day. It’s been nothing but declining standards of living, endless wealth destruction, and ever dismal pickings since 1780. If that isn’t a Ponzi scheme… What a disaster!

        Thanks for setting the record straight, chum.

      • E. Olson says

        FP – Capitalism is a Ponzi scheme where a few elite people end up with everything? Wow, thanks for enlightening me, and I guess that means that Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, the former USSR and Maoist China are/were all advanced Capitalist economies because the elite leadership in each had mansions, private planes, chauffeur driven limos, and billions in Swiss bank accounts, while the people end up with nothing.

      • Geary Johansen says

        @Fickle Pickle

        Why don’t you google the elephant graph, and see just how many people worldwide have been lifted out of poverty by capitalism. The real problem is that whilst globalisation has been great for the rest of world, middle and working class people in the West have fared terribly as a result. Although I may not necessarily agree with his conclusions, the political economist Mark Blythe has a really insightful take on recent economic history- and I’m sure his leftist take will thrill you.

        What the West really need to do is start investing in it’s own labour. The very first page of Adam Smith’s ‘The Wealth of Nations’ mentions the productive use of it, and the best thing is there is a really simple solution that doesn’t involve massive government bureaucracies. Have a simple no nonsense government-backed scheme that guarantees up to 70% of lending for high value, high labour new businesses, with up to a 20% additional percentage guarantee for businesses that take four years to reach profitability. This would fundamentally change the risk/reward ratio for investments which require significant capital expenditure to set up.

        Also check out Scotland’s testbed offshore hydro site on Youtube- sensible EU and UK government grants may potentially, at least partially mitigating the long-term loss of North Sea Oil and Gas jobs- but how they are going to replace the revenue is anyone’s guess. The problem is most of my mates in engineering and software are working on ways to get rid of jobs- not on projects that will create them. Andrew Yang may well be right with his UBI as a short-term meaure, although for those of us living in Europe, we already have fairly high consumption taxes- so it really isn’t a solution for us.

        The UK, Canada and South Korea have done the most to prepare for future shocks to their economies, by creating conditions most conducive to small business entrepreneurship- although I wouldn’t lay the credit at the feet of the current bunch of government cretins. But on a more depressing note, as a British citizen, nearly 50% of all investment in graphene apllication research is chinese. We may still be fairly good at innovating, but we’re terrible at monetising.

        Perhaps the best advert for Capitalism and markets I’ve ever seen, is a 14th century pub in Norwich, Norfolk. It’s a lovely place- but it looks like it was built for slightly oversized hobbits.

        • Geary Johansen says

          P.S. The name of the pub is ‘The Adam and Eve’- although I seriously doubt that was its’ original name.

      • NateWhilk says

        From “1984”: “Ingsoc, which grew out of the earlier Socialist movement and inherited its phraseology, has in fact carried out the main item in the Socialist programme; with the result, foreseen and intended beforehand, that economic inequality has been made permanent.”

  25. Gary says

    The well educated left. That should read the well indoctrinated left. A mental poison that after decades has infiltrated Government and private business HR depts and has mentally stifled us with PC correctness to the point we realise we are being shafted by a system Labour was going further turbo charge with Post Modern diversity politics of which we have clearly had a gut full.

  26. Beth says

    I’m Aussie. I also see myself as centrist, going both left AND right according to the issue in question.8 money to run a postal survey on same sex marriage rights – because the right didn’t want to allow 2 people in love who wanted to marry to do so – with numerous opinion polls done stating ordinary everyday Aussies wanted that policy enacted.

    What’s also lacking is a whole of govt approach to solving complex issues. Here in Aust we have the NDIS – funding to support people with disability to live independently and hold down meaningful jobs – but only in theory. Funding for independent living supports is no good without affordable accommodation, and low income, accessible accommodation is even harder to find than affordable, low income affordable accomodation. Funding for supports to maintain meaningful employment means nothing if you can’t get that meaningful employment.

    That’s what needs to change.

    • Trollificus says

      Also, when questioning the efficacy of new government policies, agencies and departments, look at who really benefits, as each of these have large numbers of well-paid, well-educated white collar employees helping to administer (and sucking up) the funds for these well-meaning programs.

      So when people wonder, “What kind of job will a degree in “Critical Race Theory” or “Lesbian Dance” get you?”, examine who’s in our many departments, bureaus and personnel departments. It would appear to depend on who you associated with in school. It’s a very subtle form of theft, to my jaundiced eye.

  27. Saw file says

    It’s not terribly “surprising”.
    This has been happening across the Western countries for much too long now.
    The NEW left has driven our society and culture into an ideological cesspit.
    The” common” people are completely fed-up, and they demand that their voices be heard and accounted to.
    Why is it “surprising” that they have chosen stability instead of radical ideological lunacy?
    Look at the spending policies proposed by the challenging party. Grand for the Teachers Unions and Govt. Service employees, at the behest of the taxpayers.
    For what? More indoctrination, and backsliding in education ranking? Deeper into the cesspit?
    Canada is going the same way this fall….
    Premier ‘socks’ will be good ridence/avour…

  28. Sue says

    Many people who call themselves conservative supposedly do not like being told what to do or think by the government or that the government should not interfere with their lives – the nanny state.
    And yet while claiming that they are or wish to be self-reliant and not dependent on the government they are at the same more than willing to use every legal trick in the book to maximize access to government (public) monies to feather their own nests, oft times with the calculated intention of maximizing their estate that will be passed on to their sons and daughters.

    For instance, as far as I know the government subsidies for top end superannuation beneficiaries are now much bigger than the amount covered by the total social security budget. And if you factor in the use of trusts to avoid paying tax the situation is much much worse.

    As for the hoi polloi including all the battlers in regional Australia they can eat cake.

    • Sasha says

      A couple of facts. Family trusts are basically useless as a tax break they are normally only formed now to protect assets.

      The maximum deductible super contribution per year is $25,000 per person. It is available to everybody. The maximum after tax contribution is many times more and is available to everybody. I presume what you don’t like is that if you succeed in business and make good money you should receive zero reward.

      I totally understand why the communist manifesto appeals to the majority of people who fail or are just lazy. I expect that probably 90% of people would like “handouts”.

      Being an ex-battler I hated when people kept trying to tell me that they were here to help!

  29. S Shah says

    I think just like Australia , the Indian election results will be a shocker! The masses are going to vote for Mr Modi even though the main stream press in India and abroad hate him!

    • ga gamba says

      That’s one, the EU’s MEP elections begin on Thursday the 23rd (finishing on the 26th), and Canada’s general election is due before the end of October.

      Other than the left’s recent win in Spain, their takings at national general elections and even provincial ones have been few and far between. Mostly it’s collapsing around them.

      Let’s see if throwing things such as milkshakes, fish, and bricks at candidates is the surefire game changer the left thinks it to be. Cunning plan, that one. Lord knows many voters’ minds have been changed after having their heads knocked in by chunks of tarmac. If not those, then onto pipes, truncheons, and knives.

      You had better vote their way… or else.

  30. Raj says

    Although i’m pleased with the result I do detect a growing rightish cockiness & arrogant inflexibility that is in danger of meeting the same fate.
    Whilst it’s a big no to extremism let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water & rubbish moderate concerns that we don’t necessarily agree with shall we?
    “If you feel you deserve to judge the arrogant, its a a sign that you’re so far off humbleness”
    – Toba Beta

  31. E. Olson says

    “In an interview conducted on Sunday morning, Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek opined that if only her party had more time to explain to the various groups how much they’d all benefit from Labor’s plans, Australians would have realized how fortunate they’d be with a Labor government, and Shorten would’ve become Prime Minister.”

    Too bad the Right biased mainstream media didn’t give Labor a platform to explain all the benefits of Labor governments. Must be terribly frustrating to live in a country where the media, academia, and popular culture will only give a platform to parties and politicians who preach for small government, low taxes, cheap reliable energy, secure borders, and equality of opportunity. If only Labor could explain how having electricity when the sun doesn’t shine is over-rated, or how shutting down major extraction based export industries will give all the unemployed miners, heavy equipment operators, dock workers, and engineers time to learn how to code or pursue artistic endeavors, or how paying high taxes is a patriotic duty that will be efficiently spent by dedicated bureaucrats to support millions of new and recent immigrants from the Middle-East, Africa, and Asia who further strengthen Australia’s diversity and help create equality of outcome for a fairer and more socially just Australia. Very sad to think what might have been…

    • Frances says

      @E.Olson
      And she opined all that from within the barricaded walls of the safest Labor seat in the country, Sydney. She has the luxury of opining just about anything from those lofty heights and she regularly does. In fact, she’s still opining days later. I opine that she should stop.

    • Brad Gregory says

      Dammit! You broke my Sarcasmometer!!

  32. Barney Doran says

    It seems that when Australia was pretty much plain vanilla racially, it had very strong leftist/socialist under currents. Now with the ‘magic’ of diversity, feminism, and leftist elitism, those under currents are becoming decidedly right flowing. I wonder what happened?

  33. South Australian says

    The tragedy of the “working class” here in Australia is that they think the Liberals will act more in their interest than the Labor Party. But the Liberals promote tax cuts for the wealthiest and mass immigration to support the property industry while setting the unemployment benefit at starvation levels so low that even the business sector thinks it should be raised on compassionate grounds. (In South Australia, the Liberals are going to permit imported labour to be paid less than locals in rural areas – I’m sure the locals are going to love that!) The Labor election loss is not so surprising in face of the overwhelming support it received from the Murdoch-owned media and the many tens of millions of dollars spent by the mining industry to scare voters towards the Liberals. The Liberals also lied their way through a fear campaign against Labor (as a follow-up to their blatant lying-to-win in the 2014 election – but then Labor lied about the Liberals and Medicare in the election after that so what goes around comes around). While both Labor and Liberal deserve contempt IMO, I feel a little sorry for Labor that was brave enough to put its rather sensible policy program out there but then made itself a target for deceptive criticism by the Liberals. We can now look forward to many more elections to come where neither major party dares to reveal in detail what it is planning to do if it wins.

    • “The tragedy of the “working class” here in Australia is that they think the Liberals will act more in their interest than the Labor Party.”
      The same thing happened in the UK. It was the white working class who voted in Margaret Thatcher – the consequence of which further decimated British industry and eroded union and employment rights for workers. Paradoxically, the working class are inherently ‘conservative’.

      • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

        Re: Thatcher: A quote from “The Guardian” “Britain ceased to be the sick man of Europe and entered the 1990s with its reputation enhanced. The economy had become more productive, more competitive and more profitable. Deep-seated and long overdue reforms of the 1980s paved the way for the long 16-year boom between 1992 and 2008.” I’m not sure though where you get your info. that a big majority of the white working class voted for Thatcher.

        • Trollificus says

          Pretty sure his reference footnotes are all “So me mate Toby down’t pub says.”

        • South Australian says

          I lived in the UK in the late ’80s / early 90’s. Yes, the working class elected Thatcher and then she screwed them by attempting to impose the “Poll Tax”. Britain grew its economy using the temporary income from North Sea oil, an income stream that has now become an expense as its oil/gas production has fallen and it needs to import energy. The Brexit vote was an indication of just how successful for the working class Thatcher’s policies were in the longer term.

    • Ralph says

      Both the Liberals and Labor have embraced nation-changing mass immigration.

      Labor, in particular, has thrown the old Australian working class under the bus through its support for sustained high immigration, which has pushed up housing costs and flattened wage growth.

  34. Little brother says

    Excellent article Claire – this hits the mark on all the major points. See you all on Thursday when Europe gives the EU a major bollocking.

  35. Gordon Smith says

    I call it Neo Aristocracy – the attitude seems to be “why do the peasants get to vote”.

  36. In Italy the same phenomenon (the post-modern left voted only in rich parts of towns) gave rise to a different situation: a new party (5 star movement) is replacing the post-modern left by trying to be a traditional left. It’s not clear how the situation will evolve.

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  38. Cedric says

    Right before Hillary Clinton lost in 2016, liberals were very confident it would be a Hillary landslide victory. They were pretty smug. After she lost, many of them chalked it up to American voters being brain-dead racist hillbillies.

    It made me think of a friend who was enamored of this girl at our middle school. He thought she was beautiful and amazing. When he asked her out and she rejected him, his response was that she was ugly and stupid and he was better off without her.

    It seems elitists in Australia aren’t much different.

    I’ve said it before: most adults never mature past middle school.

  39. MJ Anderson says

    Congrats on a cogent and brilliant analysis

  40. Henry Miller says

    “More broadly, the modern progressive left has lost touch with the fact that what ordinary people want from their government is a spirit of respect, dignity and hope for the future.”

    There’s likely a lot of truth to that, but I suspect the greater truth is that “ordinary people” have no interest in having their countries commit economic suicide in pursuit of some nutty, Left-appealing, ideal. And, likely, those same people have no interest in having the quality of their own lives sacrificed to the Left’s nuttiness.

    The Left’s proposals regarding what they claim to be apocalyptic anthropogenic “global warming” is one of those bits of nuttiness–things may or may not be warming up, but disrupting everyone’s lives and ruining lots of national economies in response strikes sensible people as worse than any near-undetectable warming that might actually be occurring. Worried about a couple more degrees of warmth? Buy some lighter-weight clothes and/or remove to a cooler clime farther from an ocean. And if Sydney gets a bit soggy around the edges, well, the opera house is getting on in years and who really needs Circular Quay all that much?

    • Brad Gregory says

      Well said, Mr. Miller. Even the most strident of climate alarmists will concede that earths’ climate has changed dramatically over the time humans have lived here. And THEY were able to adapt pretty well, without the wealth, technology and “Very Smart People” we have now.

      It isn’t that I deny warming, it’s that I’m very, very loathe to listen to policy prescriptions from someone in the grip of frothing-mouthed hysteria.

  41. Paolo says

    I don’t know that you always wrote so well, but this is an excellent, sharp, lucid article. Great job Claire.

  42. The Hang Nail says

    I can’t speak for Australian politics but here in America it seems equally patronizing to say the silent majority just want dignity and respect and then turn around and champion Trump. He may be vulgar like common people but other than that he’s a straight up con man. That’s the problem with this analysis. It treats the silent majority as if they are a bunch of rubes. Come on left, start playing the rubes! this article screams. Stop with all your big ideas and your logic and reason – your “scolding” – because the common folk can’t handle all that complex thought. Let’s remember that the same silent majorities used to believe in free trade back before Trump came along and made tariffs great again. They still believe in affordable and easily accessed medicine but the right is spinning webs of confusion and selling them a fantasy. Trump says he can lower costs and make insurers cover pre-existing conditions. But the whole point of the mandate in the ACA was to get everyone in the pool so that we could cover pre-existing conditions. But these ideas are too complex for the common folk and so it is better to lie to them. And who better to present these lies than Trump, an elite prep-school kid who inherited and squandered wealth, and the little money he did make was based on scams and dodgy real estate deals that profit off of money laundering. But Hilary gave a speech and made some money (the way free market-type folks usually say is good) so we should lock her up. Oh, and she has some secret emails out there that must contain all the conspiracy theories. Trump though, “tells it like it is” and would never have secrets.

    Well, as we now know, Mr. “tells it like it is” was never telling it like it is. You have to be willfully blind to still believe that. And this is who the left should emulate? This make absolutely no sense at all. Yes, many in the left are white-collar and hold lofty degrees, but so too are many on the right. Bernie Sanders really does tell it like it is but he does not have right-wing media backing him up every night. The left has CNN but they push the moderates. CNN and the other mainstream media outlets, the ones responsible for pissing off the common folk are embodiment of the free market. It’s what you get when the media is profit driven and profits are derived from selling advertisements to big business. So you get grass roots populists like Sanders vs right wing con men like Trump who builds and empire of grift. Sorry, it may get votes but to fake the dignity and respect game utterly lacks principle and is unethical.

    • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

      The Hang Neil, the reason the left is losing votes is that their policies are economically devastating to the working class. We saw it here recently in Alberta Canada where a conservative provincial government decimated the ruling social democratic NDP, after Alberta’s plunge into debt and high unemployment the past number of years due to restrictions on the oil industry. We may also see it in October, when the Canadian federal elections are held. The conservatives are gaining in the polls over Trudeau’s liberals. I don’t like Trump either, but the U. S. economy is much healthier now. Trump is also an isolationist and that is popular among the working class, who’s sons often fight and die in useless American wars. Sanders and Trump are opposite poles, all right. I don’t think the media supports Trump, except for Fox news, and not all the time. Most media give very unflattering portraits of the man. It’s ironic that the last very popular social democratic leader in the U. S., Eugene V. Debs, was most popular among the working class because he focussed on economic issues.

  43. During the Australian same sex marriage debate a couple of years ago, Bill Shorten explicitly labelled anyone who didn’t support implementing gay marriage as “far right.” When he said that, he permanently alienated me from his party.

    On top of that, at their election campaign launch, Senator Penny Wong described conservative politicians as “small men with small ideas.” What a loaded statement. Once you get past the latent misandry in it, this also implies that conservative male voters are “small men.”

    I thought, if that’s what you think of me, I’m not going to vote for you.

    • Frances says

      @roscoe74
      No one does condescension quite like Penny Wong – and she actually amped it up once it was clear that they had lost. I’ve often wondered how she came upon The Absolute Answer To Absolutely Everything and thought how extremely good of her it has been to share it with us. Perhaps she over-shared in your direction – with an understandable result. Maybe she doesn’t know Absolutely Everything, after all. But who’s going to break that news to her?

      • Trollificus says

        Sadly, the Left, individually and as a group, have become “information proof”. An example I like to use is a Huffington Post article from last year decrying the sad state of “representation” in Hollywood films. They presented the awful fact that despite being 12% of the population, black people only had 13% of speaking lines in Hollywood productions. This was flat presented as an outrage.

        I just can’t bring myself to align with people who brain so poorly.

    • David Norman says

      It used to be axiomatic that it was a bad move for politicians to insult the people whose votes they were seeking; simple common sense really. The left seems to have forgotten this but perhaps that’s just as well for the rest of us.

  44. scribblerg says

    It’s not that the Left lacks “empathy”, it’s that they’re political project didn’t work when they focused on the working class as Marx instructed them to do. The proletariat never rose up and instead, Western societies built strong, prosperous middle classes that essentially debunked the entire socialist/marxist worldview.

    But by that point, Leftism had already become an end to itself. Remember, socialists were out to destroy the family as a regressive institution (don’t disbelieve me, read Engels essay in the family published in like 1882?) and the nation-state too – just some minor projects, right? They convinced themselves this was a moral cause before their plans fell apart. The entire Leftist edifice begins with the baseless presumption that they are promoting a more moral social order and given their superior morality, anything is permitted. Any consequences that followed were irrelevant. Only the quest for political and social power matters. Elections are merely one more avenue for Leftists to gain power. They aren’t seen as legit voices of the self-governed, commanding govt and it’s elected leaders to behave according to their will. The folks who elected these conservatives don’t have a right to self-governance, nope, they are morally defective and need to be overcome, repressed and shut out of the political game. That’s what people are reacting to.

    I mean, we are all fascist reactionaries in the way of their “Progress”. As such, their politics tells them to hate all those who don’t comply. The working class didn’t comply, didn’t rise up, and oh yeah, then the Left conspired with global capitalists to simply outsource industry and manual labor and then skilled labor. The working class has been hated by the Left for decades already. They are just waking up to it.

    Lol. Even this article contains a whiff of this vicious elitism. Trump was by no means elected solely by “tradies” in the U.S. In fact, he drew from more than a few “Blue Dog Democrats” and also many people who weren’t Dem or Republican who hadn’t voted in elections recently, or ever. He got the majority of white women – what? According to the narrative presented by Claire, it was the construction workers and cooks – nope. It’s not so easily describable based on class.

    My point? They hate everyone who isn’t Progressive, not just the working class. They sneer now because they’ve always seen them as a pet they control but now the pet is being disobedient. So, social shaming and massive pressure is the approach. No pause, no introspection – just power seeking. Nonstop. On every level. It’s sickening and scary to watch.

    • Toby says

      trump won the election because many Americans live in a state of existential fear. Fear of Muslims, Mexicans, people on welfare, Socialism and gun control. They preferred a clown over an educated person-and so it goes.

      • scribblerg says

        Toby – You are a vicious moron. And be clear – Islamism is a threat to the world, not just the U.S. And invasion of our nation by 10s of millions of uninvited and illegal “LatinX” people is a crisis for our nation. Socialism is a debunked, Utopian exercise in mental masturbation that destroys societies, it doesn’t build them. And I have an immovable right to own and carry a gun under the U.S constitution. The Heller and McDonald SCOTUS decisions confirmed that.

        If you decide to stop being a moron and actually want to know who elected Trump, there was a great book written about it called The Great Revolt. Two brilliant political scientists decided to do some actual, unbiased research on Trump voters and collected some amazing, deep data that will tell you why he was elected. They aren’t racists. They aren’t stupid. It’s actually an amazing read. But it doesn’t reinforce your vicious, biased and hateful politics so you’ll never bother.

        Also – I didn’t vote for Trump. But what’s happened since his election had made me support him. You leftist freakshows are shoving our society towards a civil war. And oh yeah, that’s a war you idiots will lose badly, fyi, you dingbat. The Left has gone completely insane and tens of millions of Americans have had with your hateful, radical politics.

        Wake up, you are merely a “useful idiot” and you don’t even know it.

        • Weasels Ripped My Flesh says

          Scribbler –

          “Also – I didn’t vote for Trump. But what’s happened since his election had made me support him.”

          This is the sad place I am left in, as well.

          Team Blue is used to bullying people to get their way. This works in places like schools and large corporations where their victims are cowed into silence, but it does not work with secret ballots. (Hat Tip – that’s why unions don’t like secret ballots). But, they ran into a bigger bully in Trump. They can scream Russia and Racist all they want (and they do) but that cant shame him. He cant be shamed. He’s to going to apologize to them for winning the election no matter how much they scold. They hate this. They bully harder. Trump bullies back. The whole thing is an embarrassing shit show.

      • CLA says

        Hillary Clinton is hardly educated – she advanced on her husband’s coat tails. Those were the options – Trump or Clinton. The electorate chose Trump.

  45. Vincent says

    Look it was a bad loss, devastating given that a Labor win was thought by most to be all but certain. But the gap between the Liberal and Labor votes, though decisive, is hardly vast. And Labor has won elections in Victoria, Western Australia, Northern Territory in the recent past. Indeed a Labor government won a second term in Queensland as recently as 2017. So you are really being pretty selective on the facts to suit your narrative.

    You haven’t felt the need to touch on the savage anti-Labor campaign from the monopolistic Murdoch empire. BIllionaire media mogul controllers of concentrated media don’t appear to be the type of elites that concern you.

    Still the Queensland vote does present a conundrum and one Labor either didn’t fully appreciate or, if it did, wasn’t able to fully answer. If we accept the science on climate change, Adani doesn’t look like a good idea. Labor had an infrastructure plan for North Queensland, so suggestions that these people had been forgotten are not correct. But the discussion has gotten fixed on Adani. If the Liberals press ahead with the coal mine, it suggests that either they don’t accept the science on climate change or don’t care about taking action on it. This will be of concern not only to mere elites.

    • Trollificus says

      I’ll match your scary, powerful boogeyman (Murdoch!!) with another: SOROS!! Here in the states there’s been a huge campaign to identify all money supporting anything to the right of Marx as originating with the horrifying Koch Brothers, when really, the greater threat to our freedom comes from Zuckerberg and the mono-viewpoints allowed by Google and Amazon.

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  47. skep41 says

    “… will bridge their differences, and make common cause to support leftist economic policies…”
    The college-educated dummies like the one writing this article might still be fooled by those great leftist economic policies but the sensible people who actually work for a living are catching on that THEY DONT WORK! Leftist economic policies are a one-way ticket to hopeless poverty, especially for ‘people who are trade workers, barmaids, cleaners and labourers’. Yes, the cultural Progressive clown show and the self-righteous bullying that accompany it, and the smug certainty Progs have that they are 100% right about everything and that questioning them in any way is a form of ignorant bigotry might also have played a role but I think the main reason Leftist parties are collapsing all over the world is that they universally fail to deliver the promised free goodies and jobs.

  48. TF Smith says

    “Picture a dinner party where half the guests are university graduates with prestigious white-collar jobs, with the other half consisting of people who are trade workers, barmaids, cleaners and labourers. While one side of the table trades racy jokes and uninhibited banter, the other half tut-tuts this “problematic” discourse.”

    What about those of us with university degrees and fancy-pants jobs who prefer the racy jokes and the banter, and who think that the word “problematic” is (ahem) problematic? We need to get our own political party!

    • scribblerg says

      Indeed, this comment reveals her own class consciousness. I live in the states and I know plenty of college educated men working in non-working class jobs who would hate that dinner party. Me especially. Even though I possess a top 1% IQ, I do not like the elite. I’m well read, understand their ideas – and loathe them. I’d much rather hang out with some construction workers.

      But be gentle with Claire. Her heart is in the right place and this site is tremendous. We all have feet of clay…

  49. I_Timothy says

    The real issue that the climate change problem poses is a classing challenge to the psychology of humanity itself.

    The first one is that we all act out of our self interests, but publicly we desire virtue and affirmation of our compassion and social credits. These social credits can come in green points and caring about the homeless and poor.

    But no mistake about it, the classic quandary that the climate change warrior is they are not able to accept that if you walk up to a typical person and ask : “will you cut your driving by 50% to save our earth?” “Will you pay 25% more in your electricity bills every month to save the planet?” “Will we accept a 10c increase in gasoline prices every year for 10 years to prevent global warming?”

    The public answer to all these questions probably a resounding yes. But when you ask people to pull the lever knowing full well any of these things will hit them – if no-one is looking, their answer to themselves is going to be very different.

    But it gets worse than this. The very celebrities charged with proselytizing about climate change will ask people to support those three things. Possibly even give up their cars and buy an electric one that goes half the distance and costs twice as much. And then these same celebrities will be buying private jets and fly to maui to drink coconut juice after which they will sit in their Hummers and SUVs.

    The left’s ultimate failing is that they seek to sell ever shrill social justice and compassion to the other people. Yet making it known to all that they won’t give up their jets, their suvs, their kids will still go to private schools, their homes will still have walls 10 feet taller than you. The medicine the prescribe is for other people. Not for themselves.

    The public eventually will catch on to the hypocrisy and everywhere around the world, the left is being nailed for it in elections.

    • scribblerg says

      No, you miss it utterly. The Left’s failing is that they are wrong about so many issues. Especially climate change. I’ll utterly debunk your fraudulent scenario about what people are willing to pay for. In the U.S. in the ’70s, under Nixon, fyi, the EPA was formed to enforce the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water act.

      Massive changes and taxes and fees were imposed on industry, water systems, septic systems, development etc. Massive fines were levied over time to fund cleanups, and the so called “Super Fund” is still operating doing cleanups today – over 1 trillion USD already spent. The American people were educated and informed on these subjects for years in our political and social discussions. There was broad agreement on the Left and Right to conserve and cleanup our environment and nobody was ever called a “denier” for disputing the facts of say acid rain – we simply heard both sides and concluded sulfur emissions were a problem and carried on.

      We’ve already had the social experiment proving we can change dramatically if need be. What you miss is that most catastrophic AGW hype isn’t true. This matters, yet you breeze by it, merely asserting blithely that if we “accept the science” then we’d do all this crazy stuff the Leftists want. What science are you referring to? Say a speech by Richard Lindzen, he a leading climate scientist out of MIT who will tell you the entire global warming project is a hysterical ginned up hoax? And please note that the 97% consensus lie has been debunked by 3 other studies as well as by it’s own daft methodology. Here’s Lindzen giving an in depth precis on global warming. He’s no denier or yahoo. Listen to him. https://youtu.be/X2q9BT2LIUA He’s not the only one. Check out Judith Curry too. By no means is catastrophic global warming a fact.

      The public is correct to not fund this madness. Wanna change that? Welcome climate skeptics to the debate. Have Lindzen and Schmidt on the same stage and lets hear the debate. But climate change hysterics stopped debating their skeptics over 10 years ago. So now all warmists live in an echo chamber of nonsense and hysteria that’s more about their politics than solving an environmental problem.

      Wake up. The Left lives in the strongest bubble of ideological conformity of all – no disagreements are allowed on many issue. This simply is not so on the right. Until the left becomes fact based and reasoned again, it will continue to not be taken seriously by normal, non-political people.

      • Brad Gregory says

        I stumbled over the fact that out of 141 climate models (where we get our predictions), 140 OVER estimated the amount of warming actually observed. Probably coincidence. There can’t be any bias since the models’ are funded by governmental and academic institutions that have nothing to gain by…hey, wait a minute…is that cynicism I’m feeling?

      • gda53 says

        For climate matters, my go to site was ClimateAudit.

        For ALL the details on the fake Trump hoax ++, its conservativetreehouse.

        Take the red pill. Stop listening to the propaganda arm of the leftists tell you about all the evils that Trump has perpetrated. Ask yourself – 3 years of “we have him now” bombshells and they’ve STILL got bupkus?

        Either they are totally incompetent or they’ve (pretty much all the media) been lying to us big time. Remember, Steyer alone has spent 70 million to get Trump impeached. These people are nothing if not resilient in their efforts. Their best legal minds are constantly feeding the maws of those trying every hour, 24/7, to take this man down.

        3 years and nothing. Trump is hands down the most honest man in Washington.

        Don’t be a sheep. Stand up for common sense and keep these beasts from power.

  50. Klaus C. says

    As most people who’ve spent time Down Under will tell you, by and large “Aussies” are not very bright, to put it charitably. And most Aussies will cheerfully (and even proudly) agree with that sentiment.

    In the US, the kind of poorly educated, low IQ people who voted for Trump are a sizeable minority, but in Australia they constitute the majority, presumably due to the nation’s lowly convict origins and sub-par education system. Not to mention their traditional “tall poppy syndrome”, in which anyone who “thinks too clever” is soon put in their place.

    Thus we don’t have to look far to understand why “Uncle Scomo” – in real life a hard-right Pentecostal weirdo who’s only ever served the interests of the rich – could be so easily and crudely re-packaged as a “dinky-di working-class cobber”, everyone’s cheery bogan neighbour and ol’ mate, intent on a “fair go for all”.

    This laughably fake figure, a fabrication of News Corp, has nonetheless easily fooled the Aussies that matter, those at the bottom of the social heap in the marginal seats. Ask these Aussies why they’ve never approved of Labor leader Bill Shorten and you’ll get answers like: “I dun’ like ‘is face, ‘is forehead’s too fucken big” or “I never liked ‘is smile”. It really is that crudely superficial.

    Ask them why they think a hard-right neoliberal capitalist and tongue-speaking “prosperity preacher” would look after their interests, and they shrug and say: “I dun’ fucken know mate, but I reckon ‘e’ll give us a fair go, ‘e said ‘e would and I reckon e’s a top bloke cuz ‘e wears a cap like mine and I seen ‘im at the footy.”

    How can the left appeal to people like this? The answer is simple enough – copy the conservatives. Repackage your leader as an amiable Scomo clone, shove a stubby in his hand and the right kind of gormless grin on his face, and don’t mention policies (it only confuses them).

    News Corp will still try to sink you but the number of people who read Murdoch’s pamphlets (or even just look at the pictures) is continually declining, and most of the shock jocks are now pretty elderly.

    • Frances says

      @Klaus C
      So not much time in Australia, then?

      • On the contrary, as an Aussie-American myself, I think Klaus hits the nail on the head.

    • Joe says

      So here we have it. Aussies are dumb because they’re descended from convicts. They’re uneducated. They’re easily led by Murdoch. And the left can win the next election by giving a mutant clone of ScoMo a beer.

      If them’s your views, no worries mate, but let me outline why I think Labor lost.

      Picking simultaneous fights with retirees, investors, builders, ordinary aspirational workers, families, small business owners, anyone with their own super fund, non-unionists (that’s 85% of Australians) and coal miners (actually, all miners). Mind you, they did have the LGBTI and ABC-viewers in their pocket.

      Driving a convoy to the heart of coal mining country, telling the coal miners they’re evil planet destroyers and should be unemployed.

      Having super-ambitious but unachievable, pointless and uncosted environmental policies. Uncosted!

      The shadow treasurer telling us that if we didn’t like his policies we could vote for someone else. We did.

      Promising to pay childcare workers 20% more out of govt funds, and not expecting flow through effects to other underpaid sectors.

      Hubris and arrogance. Measuring the curtains before getting the front door key.

      So Klaus, blame Murdoch or dumb votes if you like but can I suggest you buy a mirror. If you remain delusional you will remain out of power.

      Labor had 6 years to develop and explain policies and it failed. The policies it did develop were, well, deplorable.

      • Klaus C. says

        Many of Labor’s policies – closing tax loopholes of the rich, higher minimum wage, restoring penalty rates, a lot more money for health and education – would clearly have benefited those at the bottom of the heap, and those are the people I’m discussing.

        I don’t care about the kind of middle-class greedies who always vote conservative – they’re usually just after tax breaks, deregulation and other perks and generally don’t give a damn about anyone else, or they’re typical Quillette readers, motivated by an all-consuming hatred of the left.

        The people I’m talking about are politically ignorant low-income workers, unemployed, disabled etc in marginal seats whose votes often go either way, because they simply don’t understand the differences between the parties and genuinely don’t realise they’ll be far worse off under Scomo & Dutton than they’d be under Labor. These people often end up deciding elections by voting against their own interests. Scomo will screw them because his ideology tells him the poor are a feckless burden who deserve punishment for existing.

        Many low income people do of course understand these things, but it’s the ones who don’t who are the problem for Labor.

        They can wring their hands about “explaining” their policies more effectively to such people, and that may work with some, but many find it hard to grasp such matters, and they’re easy prey for the many layers of liars on the right.

        So Labor needs to become more proficient at engaging in the same kind of simple manipulation used by the right – as they say, it’s not rocket science.

    • Heike says

      In an article about how ruthless, caustic classist bigotry is wrong and the Left needs to stop doing it, here is a bitter comment drenched in ruthless, caustic classist bigotry.

      • Klaus C. says

        Yes but Lehmann is talking a load of disingenuous rubbish, as usual, pretending to be some kind of sad-sack “neutral observer”, while pushing the agenda of the right.

    • EK says

      In the US, Democratic politicians like Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.) used to be quite good at talking to his working class constituents.

      If you hadn’t said you were talking about Aussies I would have assumed you were talking about the voters in the Dorchester, Charlestown and South Boston neighborhoods I grew up in.

      Unlike their opposite numbers on the Left, the working class usually has a good sense of what they know and what they don’t know and accordingly their vote reflects their trust in the representative’s judgment not an affirmation of the party’s platform or talking points.

  51. Ken A. says

    If this site wants to have any credibility I suggest you stop demonizing “the Left” (the people with all the bad ideas) and sanctifying “the Right” (the people with all the good ideas) and just present the pragmatic arguments for and against certain ideas from credible advocates from both sides and let your readers decide. This would be the smart and honorable thing to do, Just saying.

    • Frances says

      Ken A
      In the context of this specific discussion about political hubris on one side of a particular election redounding to their shocked disadvantage I don’t think demonizing and sanctifying are actually what’s going on here. The hubris in this case came from one side and the people who actually discerned it and went out to vote it down are explaining why they did so. Doesn’t compromise the credibility of the site at all. The site is doing just what it’s meant to – giving a forum for that discussion.
      Sorry, I don’t see it at all.

    • scribblerg says

      There are plenty of sites that pretend the Left isn’t morally bankrupt. You should go hang out on one of them. This site stands for the classically liberal ideals that gave rise to the modern world, not Prog-Marxist Utopian insanity.

      Try defending the Left here instead. I dare you…

  52. Many have blame Saudi Arabia for sponsoring hard-line Islam amongst European Muslims . But are Saudis really to blame? What George Orwell talked about in 1941 happens all over Western Europe on a daily basis. Social workers, teachers, city councillors tell the newcomers to Europe , that we the “white people” are the lowest scum to ever have walked the earth. How can they integrate? Integrate in what? That’s the left’s greatest work.

    “They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the 
general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident 
thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals 
are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always 
felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman 
and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse 
racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably 
true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of 
standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a 
poor box. All through the critical years many left-wingers were chipping 
away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes 
squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always 
anti-British. It is questionable how much effect this had, but it 
certainly had some. If the English people suffered for several years a 
real weakening of morale, so that the Fascist nations judged that they 
were ‘decadent’ and that it was safe to plunge into war, the intellectual 
sabotage from the Left was partly responsible. Both the New Statesmen and 
the News Chronicle cried out against the Munich settlement, but even they 
had done something to make it possible. Ten years of systematic 
Blimp-baiting affected even the Blimps themselves and made it harder than 
it had been before to get intelligent young men to enter the armed 
forces. Given the stagnation of the Empire, the military middle class 
must have decayed in any case, but the spread of a shallow Leftism 
hastened the process.”

    From George Orwell’s essay, written during the blitz of 1941, “England Your England”. It can be found in his essential collection of essays Facing Unpleasant Facts.

    • David V says

      That’s a good point. Much of contemporary Islamist ideology is strongly influenced by Marxist Thrid Worldist ideology. In the West it finds its expression in postcolonialism, identity politics and White guilt.

      In Britain, USA and Australia, this has a strong resonance with the view their countries’ histories are some sort of original sin. In Australia, endless propaganda from the Left have convinced people they are seen as inherently racist and wicked and condemned by history. The discussions of Sydney gang rapes and events leading to Cronulla bear as much. Grossly inflated claims of victimhood by minority groups abound. Much the same in the UK with the Rotherham and Rochdale rape cases – something the “far right” parties had called out a decade earlier before the state admitted it had indeed happened.

      Anglo-Saxon nations have a peculiar vulnerability despite their unequalled economic and political success. What has been done is a collective blood libel against white people in these countries generally, and no doubt much of it came from Russian-originated propaganda in the Cold War.

  53. efeuvete says

    What a precise article from C. Lehmann!

  54. Orwell V. 2 says

    Many have truly blame Saudi for what Orwell taught, but they are not the lowest scum, as you say. English intellectual with their Blimp-baiting and cookery are the strangest fact, but also violently pro-Russian, I fear. Leftism and its circular “suet puddings” are chipping away at English morale in a weakening manner that is both systematic and disgraceful.

  55. Claire, it’s really disappointing to see a normally level-headed publication get caught up in this kind of hysterical election analysis.
    Labor received over 48% of the two party vote, hardly a revolt against “incessant scolding from purported superiors”. Tanya Plibersek’s comments about needing more time to get their message across were par for the course of election losers, nothing unique to the left. And you make zero mention of the divisive $60million scare campaign mounted by a mining billionaire o behalf of the UAP, or the outright lies foisted by One Nation, both of which were enough to swing votes in marginal QLD seats.
    The coalition ran a better campaign, arguably by sticking to attacks on the ALP’s tax policies and Shorten and making sure their own lightweight policy platform and dubious frontbench were kept in the background. Labor held its vote among workers in Western Sydney and the outer suburbs of Melbourne, presumably with at least a few tradies who didn’t feel patronized …
    There are undoubtedly realignments happening among Australian political parties, and there are plenty of criticisms to be leveled at the ALP campaign and Bill Shorten himself, but to reduce it to frantic diatribe about champagne socialists is misleading and better placed on the half-baked opinion pages of the Murdoch press.

  56. Vince Porter says

    The left has a “hate-the-sin/love-the-sinner” problem. All of the resource industries constitute an attack upon Mother Earth – industrial logging/farming/fishing, mining, oil and gas. The left wants to rid the world of all of them. While pushing that agenda, they tell the people who work those good paying jobs how much they love and support them, and, how they’re striving to put them all in green jobs, jobs like poverty wages on whale watching boats. When “the people” don’t buy it, well, they’re just climate deniers, xenophobes, or, just too plain stupid to listen to their betters. People are so desperate to offend against their betters that, USA, they voted for Donald Trump.

    • Trollificus says

      Good comment, though I’d have put “their self-appointed betters” in there. But I’m verbose.

  57. As a Yank, the author has completely nailed the current “progressives” philosophy ans mode of operation in the US. I really am impressed as this has been the best article I have read on the current situation and how we arrived. It seems Australia has it’s share of progressive zealots just as boring and abhorrent as in the US. I don’t care for zealots, whether they are trying to save me or kill me as they are only interested in themselves. A very dark psychosis. Well done!

  58. Cyrus Manz says

    In short, the LEFT of the political spectrum in the free world has been pulled so far to the left that what they have to offer in terms of policy is not only void of EMPATHY but also lacks RATIONALITY and REASON…which is what normally happens with this lot because they hedge their bets on OTHER PEOPLE’s MONEY.

  59. Brad Gregory says

    An excellent analysis, Ms. Lehman. Two thoughts:
    A) Your comment section is as civilized and insightful as any I’ve seen.
    B) I predict we’ll be hearing some high-level, polysyllabic-but-still-histrionic discussion of “Is this democracy thing really working out for us? Maybe we should try something else…” in 3…2…1…

  60. markbul says

    “Reagan Democrats’ were there dedades before the current shift. The American Democrats were a center party with a left lean before the late 1960s, when the McGovernites highjacked the party. For the most part, American labor didn’t hate their bosses as a class – they wished they could be like them. This recent shift is just a second wave – identity-based rather than economic based.

  61. Pierre Pendre says

    Across the West, the voting preferences (and by implication, the right to vote) of people without university degrees is under attack. They are blamed for Trump, Brexit, opposition to the EU and the green agenda, for the gilets jaunes’ revolt against Macron, political chaos in Italy and the Australian election result – but not, strangely enough, for the socialist election victory in Spain which returned the “right” result.

    The globalist technocracy, which would like to shrink democracy because of its inherent unpredictabilitiesy, believes that true enlightenment belongs only to those who have undergone mass university education (or indoctrination if you want to be contrarian).

    The paradox is that university credentialism, although lauded on the one hand by the elites, has never been less esteemed, even among its beneficiaries. They can’t get jobs, or the jobs they want, and the proliferation of degree awards in ever more trivial and irrelevant subjects and grade inflation have devalued the degree as a marker of educational and intellectual superiority.

    The average degree from almost any Western university, no matter how astronomical its cost, has been reduced to a piece of paper that is worth less by the day.

    It would appear that the leftist political parties and their media allies have made a mistake by dividing the electorate into those who have degree and those who haven’t and making the former their prime target at the expense of the latter. Worse they pursue their policy all the harder the more it is proved wrong. (The fact that political parties are led by graduates may have something to do with this.)

    In Australia, you don’t have to be highly credentialed to work out that such a small population cannot be responsible for the environmental problems of such a large and diverse continent. it is true that mining exports from Australia may contribute to the production of environmental pollution elsewhere. But if Indian and Chinese companies cannot get their raw materials from Australia, they will turn elsewhere.

    Australian Labour party green policies could cripple Australia’s economy and living standards without making a jot of difference to the global environment. Why would anyone vote for that, degreed or not? And why would ordinary working class voters vote for a left wing party run by supercilious urban twits, faking educational superiority, who hold them in contempt?

    It’s obvious who the smart people in Australia, and elsewhere, really are.

  62. The progressive project in Australia is done unless the left and their syncophants realise just how much they are loathed by the very people they think they are representing. For the past three years in Australia, various leftist identities, within politics and without, have been virtue signalling, lecturing and hectoring people, telling them how they should think on a whole range of issues and it has fostered a potent antipathy towards the progressive side of the ledger. No-one in the politico-media sphere saw it because they were so arrogant to believe that they knew better.

    The vast majority of people in Australia are switched off from politics. Many believe that government simply cannot solve the problems they face day to day. I know, in my own circumstance, I’m simply trying to make my way from fortnight to fortnight, keeping my household together, the lights on, the cupboards filled and my family safe.

    I still don’t know what a franking credit is. Quite frankly, I don’t care.

    • Paul says

      Isn’t it a little premature to say the Australian left is done when they just received 48% of the vote?

  63. Chalk it up to inadequate censorship within social media. Word gets out much too easily these days especially when you have a distasteful digital affect. Labor needn’t worry as Twitter, Facebook and Insta with have them covered for the next go around.

  64. Peter says

    “The fetish for hectoring and moral puritanism” has become popular in more than the arts and academe, at least in the US. Here it is popular among average left of center types, which gives them the appearance of having lost their minds as the repeat mantras about the patriarchy, gay and transphobia, and racism as the underlying cause for most problems both personal and political. What is not clear is what or who is driving into the political conversation again and again. It would make sense that the Democrats and some Republicans are raising these issues not because of their explanatory power or the real harm they present in society, but because a small minority of people who occupy the large donor class is the effectively the pied piper who calls the tune.

  65. William Clouston says

    “No centre-left party in the Anglosphere has adapted to the ongoing class realignment.”

    One has:

    sdp.org.uk

  66. Kevin Herman says

    Its amazing the left does as well as it does in the United States really. It’s mainly because they have lied enough to minorities that they vote monolithic like for Democrats even though in a lot of cases they havent been helped by them one bit. In many cases like the open borders policies of the progressive left has hurt minority Americans severely. Many of the main planks of the democratic party poll at the bottom of most people’s concerns when they are surveyed. Its a party mainly built around gay and abortion rights and extreme environmentalism and wealth redistribution and telling people the system is stacked against them because of racist white males. Its pathetic.

    • JG says

      Republicans openly despise minorities and city dwellers so it’s not surprising…

  67. JG says

    Democrats do better among lower earners and Republicans better with higher earners so I think you’re really exaggerating the “class realignment” in the US.

  68. Colonel of Truth says

    @ S Shah
    thank you, important point. We tend to focus on the turmoil within our own, Western countries – and look for domestic causes and solutions. This however appears to be a global phenomenon: US, Aus, UK, Poland, Austria, Brazil, India….

  69. If we understand human moral expression to be of fundamentally two types, and that in every democracy have label themselves something like “liberals” and “conservatives” we will also recognize that the concepts of the “liberals” generally appeal to those of the long-leisured class (university types) as well as the lowest economic groups hoping to benefit from wealth redistribution. The vast number of people in-the-middle class who both have to work for a living and who suffer noticeably if their wages are taxed to support others, tend to be of the “conservative” variety. Thus the phrase “middle-class-morality” is another name for generally “conservative” morality. This has been long recognized and Adam Smith references our DUAL MORALITY in his famous book on the Wealth of Nations:

    In every civilized society … there have been always two different schemes or systems of morality current at the same time; of which the one may be called the strict and austere; the other the liberal, or if you will, the loose system. The former is generally admired and revered by the common people: the latter is commonly more esteemed and adopted by what are called the people of fashion.

    So we can conclude, as Smith probably would have suggested, that:

    The swinging back and forth at the polls (in every democracy) concerns these two subjective moral conceptualizations and has everything to do with how the current crop of candidates appeals to one or the other of our two structural moral outlooks.

  70. Pingback: In Australia, Left's Empathy Deficit Came Home to Roost | Big Sky Headlines

  71. I_Timothy says

    There’s really nothing that says the capitalism system can’t be modified to take a more nuanced balance towards rewarding labor more than it does to the bankers and owners.

    What skewed wealthy western countries for decades is that as technology improves, a large class of educated technologists working in coordination with bankers and corporate leaders shifted western economies towards deinduistrialization and what we euphemistically refer to as the economies of tomorrow.

    The last 2 decades have been very productive for the elites who went into globalization, but it has been a disaster for the middle class blue collars – those who supplied their labor entered two decades of wage squeeze as the only asset they could offer : labor itself became globalized, and own a global scale, all the middle class labor of the western world suddenly found themselves without a bargaining stand as factories are outsourced to contract manufacturers with the cheapest labor.

    I don’t really want to wreck capitalism, I think we have seen enough experiments to realize that collectivization and inept bureaucrats making policy decisions on deployment of capital has always ended the same way : lots of dead bodies, entire societies destitute, and equally sharing misery.

    But it is clear to us that too much emphasis on globalization of labor in western countries creates deep chronic systemic social problems that MUST be solved by creating conditions conducive to improve their employment prospects, and to allow them to have a chance at some wage growth for a period – we need lower unemployment rates, we need more people working, and we need to recognize that not everyone gets to write C# or python or java. If you don’t solve these problems, people will rise up and we will destroy entire societies if socialism comes in and destroys everything in its path in the way that it always does in all the experiments we have tried.

  72. Jeremy Ashford says

    Thank you Claire, I was starting to think you had lost your way recently.

  73. BrianB says

    The phenomenon is not class realignment nor snooty condescending elites. Those things exist but as markers of the global left’s decision to cast off the illusion of moderation. We are reaping the “benefits” of the radical New Left of the sixties having triumphed finally over the more moderate liberals of prior generations. In the US the old guard of FDR and Kennedy Democrats no longer exists as former student radical creeps like the Clintons are now the old geezers of progdom. What has risen under them is an ahistorical, barely pubescent class of ignoramus Marxists and Marcusians who have been educated by half wit ethnic and gender studies cretins who have cast off any tether to Western Civ and disdain an actual education outside of their “studies” itself as bourgeois.
    They’re worse than the Bourbons; they’ve learned nothing and never knew anything else to forget in the first place. But they expect us to submit to their rule. Fat chance.

  74. Tim Riches says

    Not sure quite how to put this. When Australians complain about the undue economic and territorial influence of China, or the massive, ‘non-diverse’ influx of one ethnic group that shows dangerous tendencies, and they are called racist for expressing those concerns, this not only offends them, it shows that the opposition party is not fit to defend Australia. Leftists not only don’t care about your opinions and fears, they will leave your country defenseless in the face of serious threats.

  75. Charlie Echo says

    I think we continue to make the mistake of subscribing to the propaganda machine of radical activists, by perpetuating through the repetition of their own false branding, the use of the label “progressive” and “progressive left”. They are anything but progressive.
    The self serving tribalism of these elements of the radical left, condescendingly dictating to the “unwashed and ignorant masses” about what is best for them, is what has fractured the Labor Party in Australia.
    Better these radicals, shrouded in assassins robes of “diversity’ and “inclusiveness” had remained in the darkest fringes of lunacy with their friends in the Greens, than be pandered to by the Arts Faculty membership of the ALP.

  76. Kerry Baker says

    I don’t think the Australian election was that clear cut. The Labour Party (ALP) can no longer be seen as a ‘left’ party, they are just slightly more left than the Liberals. The ALP ran a bad campaign where they rolled out Shorten who really didn’t come across as sincere or particularly well-informed. They were divisive, implying for much of the election that baby boomers are super wealthy at the expense of the young. They held down welfare payments, unemployed have not had an increase for years. They were weak on climate, they should have focussed on job creation instead of seeing coal as the only option. They support inhumane treatment of refugees and most Australians want this to be resolved. And more that is more typically right than left. I think they caused a great deal of confusion about what exactly they do stand for. People won’t vote for somebody they don;t understand, they’ll stay with the known.

  77. Skept-O-Punk says

    It is truly hilarious to observe all the excuses made by Socialist/Faux-Socialists and Regressives (all pretty much the same thing) in virtually every country that have recently had a fairly drastic push towards the Conservatives in politics. They’ll blame everything but themselves and the MSM they control, while painting everyone that voted against their politics/cultural world-view as “racists”. Zero self-reflection takes place. With few exceptions, there is a clear trend against these people throughout developed countries in the west, and the only take-away Globalists garner from out of their clear defeats? Raaaaaaacists are taking over!!!!

    In the USA you will find true racism in Regressives who think Persons of Color are (apparently) too stupid/incapable to get ID’s that should be required for voting. They truly believe PoC’s need their white, upper-class Socialistic Saviors to save them. These same Regressives push Intersectionality and Race-Politics and the so-called “Progressive Stack”. (Something that smells suspiciously like Jim Crow.) The MSM they control prints articles written by PoC’s who confess their “shame” in having chosen a white partner. They cheer on the self-imposed re-segregation of Blacks who are choosing to have separate housing and their own college graduation ceremonies. Wow. So “progressive” and oh-so-“woke”. (What next? Separate bathrooms and drinking fountains?) Then they have the audacity to turn around and paint Conservatives as “xenophobes”.

    I spent a good chunk of my youth living in Australia and I would confidently say that the average dinky-die “Ocker” who may thoughtlessly call convenience stores “wog-shops” out of habit is actually WAY less racist than the insidious true racists of the Far-Left who are busy indoctrinating PoC’s with a victim mind-set and by extension painting themselves as their necessary “white-saviour allies” — all actually done simply to gain political power. It is such a pleasure to see this coming back to bite them.

    • Klaus C. says

      Well you got one bit right: it is hilarious that these parties go in for complex inquests and navel-gazing, when the answer is obvious: stupid people are stupid, and will often vote against their own interests. It’s as simple as that.

      The working class people who voted conservative will not benefit from that vote. They’re just dumb, as is very obvious when you talk to these people.

      Like Trump in the US, “Scomo” in Australia was successful because he worked on the assumption that many voters are stupid, and skillfully manipulated them. It didn’t take much effort.

      As I argued above, if left wing parties follow those same tactics, they’ll have more success.

      • TarsTarkas says

        So, wrecking the economy of Aus in pursuit of wokeful greenness is supposed to be a smart idea? And yes, the working class will benefit from their vote to reject Shorten & Co, because they’ll have a better chance at keeping their jobs than they would have otherwise.

      • Joe says

        Klaus, if you think that voters who vote conervative are dumb, then go right ahead and keep on believing it. You will keep on losing elections. Trump will win a second term. Brexit will happen.

        If you design good policies and sell them properly, you will get elected. Labor policies were poor and poorly sold, and guess what? They didn’t get elected.

  78. Andy Espersen says

    Of course, people go to vote for a wildly varying array of reasons. We should ask which particular trend could have caused some to turn away from Labour this time. I think it quite likely is that this time Labour decidedly and openly went against the “values and cultural tastes of working and middle class voters” (as Claire puts it). The policies about gender fluidity, the immorality of abortion and shutting down religious expressions are obvious examples. Committed Christians are genuinely against this.
    Another trend in Australia is that more people now are sceptical about the need for alarm about climate change. You will not gather more votes by wanting to increase taxes without explaining to tax-payers exactly where the money will go. Vaguely saying, “….to fight climate change” just won’t wash.

  79. SB says

    The ALP forgot about what Robert Menzies called “the little people” and ScoMo calls “the quiet people”. The arrogance and myopia of the “chattering classes” continues to amaze me.

  80. Jacqui says

    Thanks for writing this. I was waiting for an article in Quillette on the election results. On Conversations, Richard Fidler interviews social researcher Rebecca Huntley who basically said the same thing.

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  82. Lun Sun says

    Thank you – a great article that explains what is happening.

  83. Charlie says

    THE Left ignore character; Orwell understood this. Orwell said the Left came from the same class as the Colonel Blimps but were feeble : they hated British culture, patriotism, physical courage and took their politics from Moscow and were possessed of a shallow self righteousness and totalitarian streaks.

    If one looks at WW2 , the commando/special forces comprised men of all social classes but were all of one type, buccaneers: they were robust, resilient, resourceful and resolute. Women who served in combat such as those in the SOE and nurses had the same qualities.

    If one studies social history Trevelyan and Bryant point out that until the 1830s, the British gentry and squires were tough, practical, grounded and mixed freely with all classes. A gentleman knew Latin, Maths, some Greek and had a good library. They grew up playing with the children of the village. Bare knuckle fighting, cricket and a playing a sort of combined rugby/football between villages were activities indulged by all. The children of the gentry were sent to tough boarding schools where leant to box, fight with cudgels, row, play rugby,and cricket . They hunted in all weathers and were expected to take any fences and be prepared to stand up and fight to defend themselves. All classes attended the races and cock fighting. The gentry would drink in the village inns . The gentry were practical ; they were expected to improve their estates by draining, marling and manuring the land, developing machines for planting seeds and threshing, breeding larger animals and in doing so, greatly increased agricultural production.

    The first industrialists and engineers craftsmen who when made money lived close to their works, men such as the Darby’s, Wedgewood, Boulton, Watt , Arkwright. By the 1780s, some industrialists were worth £500,00 but they lived and worked alongside their employees. Prize money enabled some Royal Navy Officers to obtain fortunes but as midshipmen as young as twelves of age they were expected to lead boarding parties. Britain resisted a Police force because it smacked of tyranny and gentleman was expected to be abled to protect what is his.

    Once money starts to be made from mercantile activities from the mid 1850s, the rich live in affluent areas and the children do not grow up playing with those from the village . There is a lack of practical activity and working alongside all classes. By the 1930s, Orwell and Muggeridge had noted that many families are living wealth derived from family trusts , such as the Webbs and have become effete. Where the children of rich merchants were sent to tough barding school up to the WW2, a regime of cold baths, cross country runs in winter boxing, rugby, rowing, cricket, squash and corporal punishment produced tough men. Many of the middle class Marxists were those who could not cope with the rigours of boarding school, not because they had compassion for those living in slums. C Attlee, who was a patriotic and tough socialist became politicised because of his work in slums but he was despised by the middle class Marxists.

    Women who grow up on farms, riding and playing sports such as hockey and lacrosse develop a robustness and resilience which gives them a relaxed confidence. One only has to look at the medal winners for ladies hockey at the Olympics to see tough women.

    It is not education. The university educated engineer or farmer, who boxed, played rugby or hockey who can look after themselves in a street fight, can earn the respect of the toughest man on construction, site, mine or oil rig. The tough cheerful women engineer or farmer cam mix freely with all types and earn their respect.

    What we have now are vast numbers of brittle effete self righteous, humourless, impractical people who believe themselves morally and intellectually superior; they are in effect a Brahmin or Mandarin ( long fingernail )class who consider that mixing with the rougher sorts will lead to defilement. They fear the rougher sorts because they cannot fight. The ability of a man to give a good account of himself in a fight and hold his drink gives him a quiet confidence . When a man who is confronted by verbal aggression and insults and can say ” We can have a polite and reasonable conversation here or go out outside and fight , the choice is yours ” usually quietens things down.

    What we have today is vast amount of verbal aggression and insults via social media by people who know they will never called to fight to defend their comments. If working on a construction site/mine/oil rig if a young engineer is treating someone with contempt, rudeness, conceit, condescension I ask them a simple question ” Do you think you will win the fight? This is big site and what goes on outside is not my business. You are a man and therefore accountable for what you say. The men you are insulting have vast amounts of experience and are worth more to me than you”. I can remember a very skilled foreman having to walk out of a bar because otherwise he would hit an particularly arrogant and conceited young engineer.

    Perhaps the solution is to create a labour force, where for a whole year teenagers have to undertake manual labour. The aim would to be achieve , the productivity of a navigator who built the canals and railways, 20 T of soil excavated a day. For someone to be able to excavate 20 T of soil in winter and live in barracks with those from all classes and play sport together- boxing, rugby and cricket, would break down class barriers and produce robust resilient practical men. As the Bible says ” a labourer is worth his salt “.

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  86. Robin says

    Excellent article Claire!

    As well as GND there is also DIE. (Diversity, Inclusion, Equity). Pushed by the left. This is just code for the institutionalized and normalized anti-white racism and anti-male gender bigotry. A vast wealth-transfer scheme and a transparent way of buying off the left’s supporters. Pure tribalism that leads to tribal warfare.

    This is not to say there aren’t reasons to be critical of the right. Far from it. Rather it is a better statement to say that currently the right wing promotes free speech, individual rights and civil discourse far better than the left does. The left is great about signalling their superior virtue, not so good at defending basic values of the Enlightenment.

    I guess the day of reckoning finally came to Australia. I was wondering when you guys would finally get tired of a bunch of feminist control freaks.

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  88. LGH says

    The left where their policies are effectively applied grow the welfare class.
    This then must be paid for by the working class.

    Gradually the working class become aware that they end up picking up the bill for all the left’s largess: to refugees, foreign aid, gold plated free medical care, overstuffed salaries and retirement benefits (and jobs for life) for government workers.

    Working class people also care about their nation, their culture and their race, even if they are becoming increasingly shy about stating they do.

    So the left spends & promises big, denigrates nationalism, and supports the opening of borders.
    All the while criticising things the working class holds dear, their nation, their race, their culture.
    Then the left tops this off with denigrating workers themselves…

    …and put this together with worker realisation they fit the bill and take the damage of all the left’s policies they manage to enact? They start to shift.

    The left are hypocrites: they support the environment. Oh.. do they?
    Can you tell me what the ENVIRONMENTAL consequences are of transferring the third world to the first in increasing numbers so that the first world becomes overstuffed with new consumers?

    The left’s true constituency is foreigners, welfare recipients, state employees, indoctrinated students, anti-White racists and elite, marxist indoctrinated virtue signallers.

    The right > all those who are productive plus all those who care about tradition, conservatism or nationalism.

    The left will continue to lose worker support but will continue to add anti-White support (fed by immigration) and welfare recipient support. How this will balance out is the question.
    Sadly it probably end up in the left’s favour, immigration is inexorable as is the leftist hold on universities as a vehicle to pump anti-White racism, so eventually the two sides are going to need to arm and fight in out legitimately because the two world views do not reconcile from this point.

    The left is not going to trade virtue signalling for controlling immigration, and without the latter it will be impossible to truly deliver for working class interests. More of the working class just need to wake up to this fact.

    • LGH says

      And yes I fully realise the ESTABLISHMENT right, i.e. the globalist right, also pump the immigration lever. This is why there is renewed energy in their ranks to take a harder line on immigration.
      As more productive, non-state employed workers find their way off the progressive reservation and find themselves voting the right into power the chance an insurgency can redirect the right against immigration takes off.

      This has all been enabled by the left failing to put workers first. And no putting workers first does not mean taxing the rich into oblivion and supporting large “death” & inheritance taxes.. it means massively restricting immigration.

      A wonderful triple win that can return workers to the left, improve their lives (house prices down, wages up), lower their taxes, and at the same time keep the nation’s environmental footprint down (& congestion, & infrastructure needs, & hospital waiting lists, & class sizes..).

      Almost makes you wonder why they spent 90% of their time arguing against it isn’t it.
      They do not have our interests at heart and they are not thinking for themselves.
      The programmed & propagandised foot soldiers for the globalist elite they foolishly think they are resisting.

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  90. Weasels Ripped My Flesh says

    Sorry I’m late to the comments, and it has probably been said ad nauseum.

    I don’t know how it is in Australia (we took a family vacation there back in 2007 – loved the place, especially Queensland), but in the USA, if I make the mistake of checking out what any of the 25 or so declared Democratic candidates have to say in case I might want to want for one of them, to a person (maybe not Biden), I am told in the first paragraph about how people having my skin color, age, sex/gender, sexual orientation, religion, capitalist tendencies are evil, awful, privileged, planet destroying, white nationalist supremacist racist homophobic hater of women, dirt bags that cant die fast enough.

    Enough said. You got my vote!

  91. Ned says

    To be honest, I think this article is pretty dismal. I think it might work well for non-Australian readers of Quillette who are looking for “evidence” to confirm the narrative that the modern left is smug and lacking in empathy for “the quiet Australians”, but doesn’t provide a nuanced account of what happened in the Australian federal election (and doesn’t even seek to provide evidence of the case that it makes).

    A few points worth noting (some of which Claire touches on in the article, but doesn’t seem to be too concerned about considering in much detail)

    Shorten was uniquely unpopular as a leader given perceptions of his naked ambition (spurred on by his role in ousting two former leaders). A number of my friends who were devastated by the outcome said that the one silver lining was that Shorten’s ambitions were thwarted
    Campaigning on tax increases has historically been a difficult strategy for winning a national election (e.g. 1993) and this is certainly worth noting. More generally, tactical and strategic issues in the Labor campaign are critical to understanding the loss, not same vague culture war point about the left being out of touch.
    There was no “deplorable” moment in this campaign. Clementine Ford and writers for the Guardian are obviously not “the most visible face of modern leftism”, especially outside the bubble that Quillette spends so much time criticising. (Were voters in Capricornia really reading Clementine Ford and feeling undervalued by the modern left? I seriously doubt it).
    The Adani Mine issue in Queensland could be effectively used by the Coalition to force voters to consider “action on climate change” as a direct contrast to “jobs to support the local economy”. If supporting action on climate change is tantamount to “openly attacking the value sand cultural tastes of working and middle-class voters” then Jesus, we are really fucked.
    It might also be worth looking at the shift away from both major parties towards the UAP and One Nation, and the role that this played in the outcome, but hey that would be a call for nuance, and this article is much more concerned with using a single case study to “prove” a broader point.

    tl;dr It’s a shame that the founder of Quillette wanted to pump out an article quickly to confirm the ideological predilections of its readers rather than engage in nuanced analysis of the Australian election results, but hey, at least it helps to show that Quillette is ever becoming an anti-tribe tribe that (at best) struggles to be self aware.

    • Sasha says

      Kettle black! Sour grapes Umm…. whats the metaphor?? Incredibly nuanced comment with very polite adjectives …oh yeah!

  92. BillyJoe says

    Extraordinary. Before the election, everyone, including the Liberals themselves, knew Labor would win. After the election, everyone knows why they lost. Everyone seems to have lost sight of the fact that Labor had a raft of policies they attempted to explain to the electorate while Liberals had only one policy and spent their time attacking all of Labor’s policies.

    So, the real lesson here is to treat the swinging voter like fools. Don’t explain to them what your policies are. Instead, spend your time attacking any and every policy your opposition was stupid enough to announce and tell them how they will be worse off as a result of this policy even if you have to lie to do so.

    Yeah, I was wrong as well. I thought Australians could see beyond their hip pocket nerve to what’s good for Australia as a whole, both now and in the future. No Australian political party is going to make that mistake again. Form now on, the swinging voters are going to be treated like fools by everyone with political ambition. The downside, of course, is that you don’t have a mandate to do anything.

    • Bab says

      Exactly. Just take a photo of your opponent, change it to greyscale, amp up the contrast, and then put a big banner under it that says BE VERY AFRAID. I dare say that’s what the ALP will do next time around.

      I think once you’ve been in government for at least a term, you can probably look at major policy reform – thats what Howard did with the GST after all.

  93. Nick says

    The author fails to mention the [dis]informational advantage the incumbent Liberal party enjoys under the protection of Rupert Murdoch, and the massive negative advertising spend of multi-millionaire coal miners with a direct stake in gaining national treasury support for their non-viable coal projects…she also fails to mention that the coal industry runs the Prime Ministers office and is a leading stake holder in the Liberal Party..

    Also, local events conspired to distract attention from opposition Labor Party industrial renewal policies: a massive flooding event costing billions descended on the region the week after their major policy release. The media understandably followed that story to the exclusion of all else. Perhaps Labor should have released their policies later in the long election build-up, and had an even higher presence in the region to discuss and publicise it.
    But this author implicitly argues that any policy other than digging more unprofitable holes in the ground is unacceptable, because the reasoning and argument for

    The maligned ‘progressive Left’ had comprehensive policies to diversify the local economy, and foster the move away from coal extraction that have long been identified as necessary to mitigate the worst of the climate change being imposed on the planet by the intransigent corporates and their own peculiar ’empathy deficit’.
    But of course, pointing out hard facts about the planet’s connectedness, physical characteristics and limitations is effectively ‘condescending’ talk. It is a lot to make poor locals have to carry some of the stress of change…which is why the prog Left has worked hard to deliver work-arounds. And have no choice but to continue to work on them.
    Giving the central-eastern Queenslanders what they want will be immediately costly [subsidies to non-viable mine projects] and will be costly in the long term [contribution to geologically rapid climate change over hundreds of years].

  94. What is the cost of your climate policy? “That is a dumb question” How will your franking credit removal affect retirees? “your a classic space invader” How will your taxes affect us workers on high incomes? “I will look into it”. In hindsight how did he get any votes?

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  96. Tech says

    Everything I think and would like to say but done so much better!
    Thanks Claire.

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  99. David V says

    The Progressive Left want open borders and to curb free speech, that is, to suppress any debate on race relations and immigration and criticism of any minority group. Above all else they trash Australia’s history and identity, just as they do with the US and UK. Douglas Murray made extensive mention of this in his book The Strange Death of Europe.

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  101. As far as she goes, Claire is right on the money, but there is much more to this that has turned a science driven concern for the immediate future of our planet into an ideological quagmire that no one seems to be able to sort out, without stumbling onto their faces…..which has just happened…again….

    There are some very solid intra regime reasons for this,

    The humanist libertarian ascendancy that runs most of our system of social administration, in much the same way as the Church did during the medieval period, is using the environment as a moral leverage in its jostling for power with its regime partner, the economically trained corporate libertarian ascendancy, even though they both subscribe to the same indulgent, deregulatory and privatization agendas that have been equally damaging the commons infrastructure each side side has been supposed to be stewarding since Indulgence Capitalism got going in the late 1960s, when needs and wants were no longer enough to feed the maw, and fantasy had to step up to colonize mass consciousness and maintain the pace of system expansion..

    Each side quite correctly points to the devastating effects the other is inflicting on its area of responsibility and both sides blithely ignore the awful truth about itself, in a Tweedle Dee and Tweedle dum style argument that creates the impression of system criticism, tentative alternating political power sharing and maintenance of a status quo that never quite manages to do more than that, despite a lot of promises that obfuscate a chronically unsustainable state of social, economic and ecological misgovernance likely to lead eventually to system collapse.

    No society can run an indulgence based economy and society by deregulating and privatizing indefinitely until all that is left is narcissistic disinhibition posing as freedom and a completely baseless sense of entitlement more powerful than the divine right of kings….with nothing left underneath to hold the whole massive edifice up, except momentum and a regime end game that keeps going like the Warner Bros cartoon coyote walking off a cliff and unable to look down or stop what it is doing…..

    But what makes the environmental problem posed by burning fossil fuel so difficult for us is that not only do we produce a substantial slab of the world’s production that we have a more than ordinarily powerful lobby to contend with, but they are confronted by an opposition that is so ideologically and intellectually blunted, it somehow manages to make a bunch of sectional interest rent seekers look like free enterprise heroes.

    Even a mob half as smart as the Hawke-Keating push would have rounded up a bunch of deals to isolate the coal lobby, neutralize traditional business hostility, brought on board new industry heads that stood to gain from new technology and industry and worked through a concrete industry adjustment transition plan for displaced labour….like coal miners for instance…. and accelerated depreciation/write off provisions for sunset industries…like the coal industry.

    After that we could talk about additional taxation to pay for it with most of the stakeholders on board because they stood to get something tangible back for their money. And while we were about it we could clean up a few tax loopholes here and there to capture the more egregious dodgers, without scaring the chooks too much, by doing it in small enough increments not to be too threatening all at once. Major tax reform takes time and patience.

    And then there is the pandemic of postmodern identity politics amongst the humanati which is the sort of misere hand one plays when one has lost one’s mass class base and have seen an unprecedented opportunity to administer minoritarian client bases that keep these social administrators in stipend intensive (for them) empathetic/dependendance client relationships indefinitely. But in the process, they forget about the old working class that is being steadily edged out by cheaper foreign labour in China, while their well meaning petty bourgeois ideological betters get degrees and escape into the tertiary sector.

    …..And then the insensitive pricks, accompanied no doubt by sexually indeterminate rainbow activists and some aboriginal land rights wallahs turn up in Adaniland to give its moron denizens the correct position….about as popular as a nest of taipans under the bar in the local pub.

    The fact is that most ordinary working people don’t really like or particularly believe in the identity politics of their ideological betters, and while they do feel sufficiently intimidated by the threat of being branded and marginalized to keep their mouths shut in public, their resentment and disbelief comes out in the votes.

    And as we are already seeing, the latest minoritarian transgender push in the identitarian firmament is neither popular nor progressive, and has some very noxious ‘side effects’, like marginalizing half the population…women, and turning ‘inclusion’ and ‘equality’ into a sexual identity colonization and grooming exercise at the expense of an already very badly mauled reproductive centre that just might blow up in their faces one day.

    We have all that to look forward to.

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  105. This story has some truth globally but is less relevant to Australia. Few left parties have a leadership as hostile to woke left rubbish as the Australian Labor Party’s. Unlike other left parties, the ALP’s failure was less in being taken over by the woke left (though there are plenty in the membership) than in failing to communicate the conservative elements of its tradition. Fine parliamentarians like Senators Ketter, Farrell, Polley and O’Neill became seen by many in the party as embarrassing relatives rather than the assets that they are.

  106. Ez says

    This story has some truth globally but is less relevant to Australia. Few left parties have a leadership as hostile to woke left rubbish as the Australian Labor Party’s. Unlike other left parties, the ALP’s failure was less in being taken over by the woke left (though there are plenty in the membership) than in failing to communicate the conservative elements of its tradition. Fine parliamentarians like Senators Ketter, Farrell, Polley and O’Neill became seen by many in the party as embarrassing relatives rather than the assets that they are.

  107. Matt the Rat says

    Nick the comment – “The author fails to mention the [dis]informational advantage the incumbent Liberal party enjoys under the protection of Rupert Murdoch” should be counter balanced with the fact that ‘their ABC’ (Australia’s taxpayer funded national media organisation) is on balance quite woke and biased in the other direction.

    The Labor Party lost an election. The Labor Party failed, not the democratic process.

    ” It is a lot to make poor locals have to carry some of the stress of change…which is why the prog Left has worked hard to deliver work-arounds. And have no choice but to continue to work on them.”

    The problem with the above mentioned ‘work arounds’ is that it is wishy-washy and intangible at this stage. The problem is that the Greens and ‘progressive Left’ are shrill and against everything, coal mining and so on, but not big on practical solutions and alternatives that are proven to be viable and reliable, there’s a long way to go. The answers will come from the business sector being smart and innovative, and that should be supported by government. Perhaps that convoy of Greenies who went to Queensland to protest about coal could start by waving their placards at a wind turbine to get the blades moving.

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  109. Ms Appercept says

    Former Hawke press secretary, Barry Cassidy, noted a few days ago that the working class had voted against Labor because — in direct contradiction to the sour comments here — they understood that the proposed economic changes would threaten their jobs. (It is interesting how often criticism of lower socioeconomic members of society is an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect as portrayed by snobs.)

    Without giving any details (aside from the usual suspect economists, and I’m with George Bernard Shaw against these rent-seekers) Shorten promised cheaper power generation with less emissions from fossil fuels (but noticeably no mention of nuclear energy).

    The Left, and the (second-most?) important union, the Public Services Union, of which the ABC is the Pravda gold-standard for дезинформация (dezinformatsiya), ran high-rotation repeats of the career and achievements of the late Bob Hawke (presumably to promote the Labor party, which he lead until his treasurer knifed him after four successful elections, without having to provide equal time for the government, as is the law during elections). As others have noted, perhaps the contrast did not flatter Shorten as much as the true believers thought it would.

    Another familiar cry from the left was the supposed lack of policy from the Liberal-National Coalition.

    The Liberal prime minister was emphatic in his elocution of the goal to employ a further five-fourths of a million job-seekers over the next few years. This is called a failure criterion; the aims of a project are identified before it is commenced in order to measure its successful implementation. It is something that fans of the 1980s political satire, “Yes Minister”, would recall Sir Humphrey Appleby doing everything in his power to ensure such fascist transparency and accountability did not penetrate the bureaucracy.

    It registered as unimportant and irrelevant to the Left simply because, as the Queensland state government has proved (with a $90bn deficit that nobody is even attempting to pay down) that socialist governments simply employ more people in the public service, hence a million more jobs is a swish of a pen, not a concerted effort to create wealth through empowerment of small enterprise, and which speaks to their utter incomprehension of the government as fiscal drag. Yes, obviously, a government is necessary, but it should be as small as possible since it does not create wealth, merely subtracts it from business through taxes.

    A final thought regarding the “crisis” of home ownership; at present (depending on which local and state governments have sway) there are hundreds (plural) of thousands of dollars levied in taxes on each block of subdivided land, which is easily the largest associated cost (including development). Likewise, stamp duty is appallingly hefty. Common sense dictates that, should the stamp duty that state governments take on a domicile when it changes ownership be reduced, there would be less friction when older Australians wish to down-size their family homes for retirement.

    • Bab says

      Ms Appercept – I watched Insiders and Barrie Cassidy’s comments during the election telecast and cannot recall him saying words to that effect. I do recall him saying that Labor lost largely because it had a comprehensive and contentious policy manifesto (much like Hewson in 1993) which provided a big target for critics. Apart from the “jobs jobs jobs” mantra (which pretty much every party mouths ad nauseam) the Coalition went into the election without any signature policies.

      Of course, if you win without having any policies, you can claim no mandate, and I imagine that that is going to cause them some difficulties in negotiating bills through the senate.

      • Ms Appercept says

        Bab, he made the comment after the election, and after the ALP had done some analysis: probably the “7:30 Report” or similar, on Thursday or Friday.

        The Coalition policies were modest, but they were there. Perhaps if you have no ear for small business you may have missed them.

        My point was more that the Coalition gave failure criteria for their policies, unlike Labor, who determined that climate action engagé was an end in itself. So Shorten’s refusal to publish the costs of reducing Australia’s carbon-dioxide emissions in 2030 by 45% of 2005, for instance, like the commitment to 50% renewable energy generation, was noticeable for being aspirational; he was almost admitting the goal was unachievable. It other words, Labor planned their spending but had no interest in ensuring value for money. Ditto for spending on education and health: there were no metrics for determining if the money would be well spent.

        Shorten also fared poorly in the comparison with Hawke because it was he who privatised Telstra and the Commonwealth Bank, giving priority for the float to the working class. It was these shares that Shorten and (shadow treasurer) Bowen would have penalised, if the pensioner had a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund.

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