Friday, February 18, 2011

A New Beginning

So. I've decided I'm going to blog about NSW politics for a little while. Why?

A few reasons.

Reason number one is that I reckon that now is a really interesting time in NSW politics. Yes, it's true that the Coalition is $1.03 to form government (according to as of today) and yes Barry O'Farrell would probably be elected even if he stood on his head for every media conference between now and the election, and yes it's not a matter of whether but rather how much - but still, that's interesting.

How often do we get to see a government go into an election in no doubt whatsoever that they are going to get creamed?

This election will, rather than than a frantic competition to win those marginal seats, be about Labor trying to stem the haemorrhaging and try to win enough seats that they have a ghost's of a chance to win back government in 4 years time. No one thinks they can win - not even ex Labor Prime Ministers (

Number two is that no one else seems to be blogging about NSW politics. I'm not sure why that is, and I expect that I will shortly be told off by a dozen people who ARE in fact blogging about NSW politics, but it seems to me that most people only care about the Federal side.

That's fine, but I'm very interested in the NSW side of politics. Not because it is in any way superior, or because the politicians are of any higher quality (some might say quite the opposite) - i think it's mostly because the issues discussed seem (often) to be far more immediate, far more real the voter. Schools, hospitals, transport, infrastructure - these things are tangible, they affect everyone, and people get upset about them. So it's fun to watch.

Finally, it's a frustration of mine re blogs.

I find that here are two main sources of information and/or discussion about politics generally - the media, and then social media (blogs, twitter etc).

Both are excellent, in their own way, and I follow both closely.

The media gives (or, at least, the media is meant to give) an impartial report of what is going on. Who said what, what that means etc. Of course, I've been exposed far more over the last 12 months to what a particular news outlet has to say, and the way that they clearly push a particular point of view - but that's a blog post (or five) in and of itself. At least in theory, the media reports.

Blogs (and, to an extent, other forms of social media like Twitter etc) are, to my mind, meant to be the place where the news (as reported by the media) is digested, discussed, criticised, and generally assessed by the populace.

The frustration I feel about the way social media generally deals with this "role" is that it appears to be less about discussion and more about ranting about something that was said or done that day. People genuinely loose their rag on the internet about the "other side".

And, let's be frank, the "other side" is usually the conservative side of politics. Occasionally people rant about what Labor or the Greens did, but that's usually only because what they did was stupid, overly pragmatic or plain selling out.

Social media is massively biased towards the left. There are a few notable exceptions, who are often loud and vociferous enough that you forget they are a small minority, but that's what they are - a small minority.

That's not surpassing, given that the social media "crowd" is usually young and politically aware, which is in most cases a synonym for left-leaning. Nonetheless, it's gets pretty old. There are only so many times you can read about what a racist, sexist, homophobic, environmentalist hating pig Tony Abbott is before your eyes start to glaze.

Even Grog's Gamut ( whose blog I love and always read and enjoy, and who always brings a sensible, considered tone to almost every discussion, admits that he leans towards Labor.

At the end of the day, I have no firm political affiliations. If I could find a party whose platform aligned with my views even 75% of the time, I'd probably sign up, but I can't. I seem to agree with the Labor side about as often as I agree with the Coalition, and even the Greens get my vote on a number of issues.

So, I hope that this blog continues and if you keep reading, you will get a variety of opinions, not favouring any one side, but simply my commentary about what had gone on in NSW politics in the last few days.

I don't have a degree in politics. I'm not out to push an agenda or vent my anger. I'm not going to try and convince you of anything, and I'm not going to ridicule your views. I like writing and I like NSW politics, so at least for now those two interests are going intersect here.

I'm going to blog when I have time about things in NSW politics that I think are interesting. I hope you'll keep reading what I have to say and let me know what you think.


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