Acccording to Club Bloggery, political blogs had a good election, but they wonder about the future:
As mentioned earlier, poitical bloggers – and particularly psephs – have had a win this election. Part of the reason that organs like the Oz are inspired to “go” them is that they are attracting the eyeballs of precisely the kind of niche, premium audience that the national broadsheet relies on, but risks alienating in its drift to the right. Every respectable political junkie now has Possum, LP and Poll Bludger in their RSS reader – we’ll see if the left-leaning political bloggers can keep it up if the Howard ascendancy ends on Saturday. We also need to think about how the blogosphere and citizen journalism can reach out beyond the political junkies, and engage with those people who K-Rudd was trying to talk to on Rove.
For what it’s worth, I think that a Labor government will actually be a shot in the arm for LP.
Our best political material, in my opinion, is the meaty, informed analysis of policy, drawing on the expertise of Teh LP Hivemind, the various other bloggers out there, and the pool of well-informed commenters out there. Such analyses don’t need to be blanket praise or brickbats, either: take one of my pieces on a Labor policy annoucement during the campaign, which gave Labor some credit but pointed out that much of it was pointless duplication of state responsibilities. So the key question is whether there is going to be more or less opportunity for this kind of discussion under a Rudd-led Labor government than with the outgoing set of trogs.
It’s unlikely that wedge politics – that is, deliberately bad policy designed primarily to exploit political differences in the opposition – will disappear entirely. But there’s reasonable grounds to expect that it will be much less prominent. The next election will be all about the performance of Labor in government, not the opposition, and they’ve set themselves a pretty substantial agenda already. Throw in a bit of raking over the coals of the last government with the odd inquiry (incidentally, any Liberal backbencher thinking of voting for Nelson might care to consider how he’ll look if an inquiry’s held into the acquisition process for the Super Hornets) and that should be a pretty full slate.
Furthermore, a lot of the policies put forward are going to be aimed at achieving goals that we, broadly, endorse. There’s limits to how much you can say about a competently-implemented policy that has goals you don’t support – though the fag-end days of the Howard government had plenty of examples of policy whose aims we didn’t support and was also incredibly badly designed to achieve those aims!
And finally, the new government will re-open some areas of debate – to both sides of politics – which had essentially been shut down for discussion through the Howard years. As Tim Colebatch points out, it’s possible that a Labor federal government, with eight Labor state and territory governments, will be able to tackle that dry but vital topic of ‘vertical fiscal imbalance”. And then there’s the question of what’s going to be done with the vast sums of money the emissions trading system will raise – in the order of $12 billion a year before the inevitable giveaways to polluters. Not to mention the great pieces of unfinished symbolism – the republic and reconciliation.
So there’s going to be no shortage of interesting stuff for LP bloggers to chew on, and we certainly won’t be intending to turn into an uncritical cheer squad for the incoming government.
Anyway, there’s more to life, and LP, than politics – there’s classic Sesame Street, for instance: