Thursday, September 09, 2010

Reactions to Mr Windsor

My main post today is on my personal blog, The independents' quid pro quo. This was a response to a question from Ramana, an Indian blogging friend.

While I still haven't had time to look properly at the detail of the regional development package agreed between the two independents and the Government, writing the post did at least give me an opportunity to start fleshing out some views.

The reaction to the decision to support the ALP expressed in comments by some in Mr Windsor's electorate has been quite savage. You can get a feel for this if you read the comments on the Northern Daily Leader editorial, Why Windsor is right. One of the milder comments and the editor's response captures the conflict:

I read with interest your article regarding why you believe Mr Windsor made the correct decision, please allow me to elucidate to you why he was wrong and indeed correct some of your unreasonable assumptions. Firstly, Mr Windsor was wrong because he represents an electorate that more closely aligns itself with the conservative side of politics. That is the primary reason. Windsors disingenuous blather regarding it not being about political ideology is trite in it's condescension. There are sides to politics for a reason, and generally that reason is because the "other" side is anathema to those who have opposite political ideals. Want more? The Coalition won the primary vote. Labor incidentally only attained an 8% primary in NE. The Coalition won more seats. The Coalition to this point has won the two party preferred. Cont.

Ed note: Mr Windsor is an independent - a political position with a long and distinguished history. Your argument would reduce him to a poll-driven robot (something akin to his view of the major parties).

Posted by windsors wrong, 9/09/2010 2:21:23 AM, on Northern Daily Leader

All of those years ago when I was active in the Country Party/National Country Party, one of the constant problems faced by those like me who wanted to bring about longer term change for the future of the Party, lay in the fact that some of our greatest supporters were anti-Labor first, Country Party second.

This created a constant tension: the Party was expected to deliver, but could only do so so long as it did not upset arrangements with the Liberals too badly. This gave a very narrow window in which to move.

Whether one agrees with the independents' actions or not, it's going to be interesting to watch events unfold. It remains my feeling that all this does give us an opportunity to get a greater focus on needs across the broader New England.


In a post today on Australian Observer, Regional development: a bit of history, Paul Barratt reminded me of the decision in 1998 to change the name of the Federal Department of Transport and Regional Development to the Department of Transport and Regional Services. Such a minor thing, just the substitution of the word Services for  Development, yet quite significant.


Ian Mott said...

I have always regarded the vote for independents in communities like the New England as being recognition of the structural limits that are imposed on the National Party by the continuation of metrocentric domination of the region. The familiar lashing out at the Nats, ie "what have they ever done", is, in one sense, a simple statement of fact. The Conservative coalition has only held sway, and with only a small majority, for 7 of the past 34 years. So a vote for the Nationals has consistently been a vote for the minor shareholder in an opposition. And it is only a very small conceptual change to then vote for an even smaller shareholder in opposition, an Independent.
It is all very well for supporters of Independents to make that statement but it is another, altogether, to assign blame for that situation. Clearly, if there had been a new regional state then the Nationals would have spent the entire period from 1967 in government and that governance would have been entirely consistent with the will of the voters of this region.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi Ian. I agree with your general point. One of the big fears of Labor at the 1967 vote was that the then Country Party would end up with permanent government. We now now that would have been unlikely. But it would have been interesting to see how the CP would have done initially as a straight majority government. Rather well, I suspect.