Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Start?

I hate "Year in Review" articles.

This time of year, it's just about all that journos seem to write.  That said, it's hard to blame them - they need to produce copy, but there isn't much going on - so I suppose the obvious thing to do is to write about things you've already written about before.

The problem for me is that whilst I don't have deadlines, I do have a hard an fast "once a week rule", and there is nothing happening.

Well, Peter Phelps is still around:
But the thing that has intrigued me most this year is the perception of NSW Labor, and in particular the contrast between performance at the Federal and State levels.

I've written before about how reviled Labor are in NSW.  Their defeat was not only resounding but also record breaking.

Federally, Labor are not doing so well either. The interesting part is that the reasons are so fundamentally different.

In NSW, Labor are still paying the price for their atrocious final term.  They are not only seen as being incapable of delivering on promises, but also corrupt.  The number of Labor members being investigated or prosecuted for corrupt conduct continues to grow, and it seems likely that this will persist for some time.

The fact that John Robertson has been practically hiding out has not helped their cause.  When something happens he occasionally rolls the arm over and issues a press release, but over 6 months after he took charge I'd wager that most of NSW couldn't pick him out of a line-up.

That may all be deliberate.  Since Labor's numbers are likely to be abysmal no matter what he does, why put himself out there and risk damaging his brand for no gain? His policy may be to lay low and ride out the storm.

Federally, Labor have a very different set of problems.  The Carbon Tax remains unpopular, the pokie lobby is still hammering away, and the Kevin Rudd issue won't rest.

Tony Abbott is proving incredibly effective, and Labor are under siege, and will be til (at the very earliest) the Carbon Tax commences.

In many ways, all that NSW Labor and Federal Labor have in common is bad numbers. But what I wonder is whether Federal Labor's problems are pushing the NSW numbers even further down.

NSW Labor's problems are structural.  People hate them because of what they have done.  Once the public start to forget that and focus more of the Coalition's failings, the disaffected voters will start to come back. Certainly there are already reasons for the public to be angry with O'Farrell and his government.

Federally, the problems are very different.  The Pokie and Climate Tax issue will go away when the changes are made and no one really notices.  The Kevin Rudd issue a different one, but suffice to say Labor can fix it easily, if so motivated.

Really, the two have nothing to do with each other - but I suspect that the poor Federal numbers are still having a negative effect.

We won't be able to get much of an idea until some more polls are taken in NSW, and we are unlikely to see much of that for some time yet.

Luckily for Robertson it seems that his party is willing to give him time, and there no suggestion that he is in danger if the next poll is not an improvement.  But it remains to be seen how long Labor will let it ride - when the last election was this bad, the numbers won't shoot up overnight.

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