Sunday, December 27, 2009

Australian politics as an episode of Seinfeld

Tim Blair begins his latest meditation on the possible course of Australian politics recalling the Switch.
JERRY: Can’t be done, huh?
GEORGE: The Switch?
JERRY: The Switch.
GEORGE: Can’t be done.
JERRY: I wonder.

You can read the post if you want to see the Switch as it may be used here.

But I did like the Kevin Rudd as George Costanza comparison:
Rudd’s problems tend to be of his own making. This is where his exploitable weaknesses lie. Like George Costanza, Rudd is big on plans and schemes but is comically unable to make them work.

How is his kinder, gentler solution to the asylum seeker issue going? Well, as of Saturday, some 58 boats had been intercepted in Australian waters during 2009. That’s more than half the number of vessels in the entire Sydney-Hobart fleet. So many boaties are banged up on Christmas Island now that they’ve run out of beds.

Did anything at all actually happen as a result of the 2020 Summit? I mean, besides everyone being mystified at the sudden emergence of Cate Blanchett as a political force? Say what you like about previous Labor governments, but at least Whitlam never invited Delvene Delaney to shape public policy. Which, considering the people he did consult with, represents something of a missed opportunity.

Grocery prices. Fuel prices. Bank fees. Rudd has attempted – or signalled attempts – to meddle with them all, sometimes at significant public cost and for no apparent benefit. An enterprising opposition should be calculating the overall cost of these little concern cameos.

The man loves his plans. Wasn’t he meant to be running the Australian health system by now? And revolutionising education?

Here’s another point of similarity between Rudd and George Costanza, his sitcom doppelganger: both do better when they leave things alone. Costanza’s greatest employment triumph was the Penske file, which led him to a possibly lucrative job offer despite never opening the file or doing anything with it. Likewise, the more Rudd butts out, the better things seem to go.

In fact, that seemed to be his original blueprint. Rudd cast himself during the 2007 election campaign as Howard-lite; an economic conservative who would maintain existing financial and business policies while being friendlier at the margins to Australia’s poor and voiceless, like Cate Blanchett.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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