I was drawn to this article by Andrew Bolt which is from The Age. “What the Left Need to Do” is the point, how the left can recapture governments in the Westminster systems of our Anglosphere democracies. As our author laments, poor soul, “every major advanced Westminster democracy in the world – Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland and Australia – now has a conservative-led government.”
And the US would as well if they had a Parliamentary system too since the equivalent to our House of Representatives here in Australia is, strangely enough, the House of Representatives in the United States. But it is a Republican system with a separate elected president which allows for an immense number of irrelevant issues to determine the outcome. Republican governments are poorly designed and aside from the United States, every republic has at one time or another fallen into some form of dictatorship because of the way in which power is concentrated at the top.
I think the problem with left of centre governments is that they are incompetent, that their reach exceeds the resources of a nation and they accordingly direct the economies they run into a ditch. Whatever reason it was that John Howard lost in 2007, it was not because the economy was failing and living standards were going down. But the author of the article, however, thinks the problem is as follows:
Meanwhile progressive parties make a more sophisticated but politically difficult argument: that it is in the national interest to improve health, education, infrastructure and social security – underpinned by a healthy level of progressive taxation. Sometimes this works; witness the high degree of public support in Australia for disability care or the national broadband network. Often it does not; witness the travails of the mining tax and carbon pricing.
Talk about sophisticated! Everybody wants more than they have and the collective desires of the Australian community would easily pass 200% of the available product (2000%?). And everyone wants the ends listed although not necessarily as freebies handed out by the political class. Political judgment is about knowing which of the many possible and desirable objectives to pursue. Labor lost because they wanted carbon taxes (which are, of course, not even in the least desirable), increased taxes on the mining industry, industrial regulation that make industry uncompetitive, school halls, insulation and the list goes on. Meanwhile they impoverish the people they pretend to be helping. They lost because in the end most people could see that Labor policies were making things worse, not better.
The point is that the arguments of the left are not more sophisticated. They merely peddle greed and envy. You should have more even if you didn’t earn it and those over there with more than you have should have less. Not really all that sophisticated at all.