Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Loose Language



I’ve had it to the back teeth with commentators accusing Julia Gillard and Anna Bligh of lying.

This meme has been picked up by the MSM and done to death. Maybe it’s time to do a little fact checking.

Let’s start with Gillard and the carbon tax myth. The sequence of events went something like this.

Prior to the election, Gillard stated clearly that no government she led would introduce a carbon tax. Subsequently, after the election the only way Labor could win government was to form an arrangement with the Greens and Independents. She did so.

At the same time, Abbott was also trying to persuade the Independents to support the Coalition. You can’t tell me that Abbott wouldn’t have been prepared to compromise to get the Independents on side. In this, he failed, and in this, Gillard was successful.

The situation was now entirely different, and no one (including the pundits in the MSM) predicted a minority government. Her government was in power on the back of a combination of Labor and Green votes – not the situation she (or anyone else) had envisaged when she made the statement about the carbon tax.

It’s entirely logical to assume that the majority of voters supporting the Greens and Labor also supported the decision to put a price on carbon. This is borne out by the dip in Labor’s polling when the CPRS was deferred by Rudd. Try a line of best fit on the graph above post May 2009.

Her statement was predicated on a situation (a majority Labor government) that no longer existed. How then, can it be a “lie”?

It’s a little bit similar to promising the kids a party, having the car break down, or the dog needing to have major surgery (Vets always charge more than doctors), and not having enough money to pay for the party. Even children understand that. Apparently the MSM do not.

Bligh was caught in a similar situation. Selling government assets provided a means to protect the jobs and livelihoods of many Queenslanders. The asset sales got many Labor stalwarts offside, and it may have been better politics to dump projects and workers.

The simple fact of the matter was that she was unaware of the full impact of the GFC on the state’s finances prior to the 2009 election, lacking as she did, clairvoyant qualities. Again, the situation changed, and again, a decision had to be made. There was no “lie”.

Admittedly, either or both could have gone back to the electorate. I wonder whether in a similar situation Abbott or the LNP in Queensland would have done that.

I wouldn’t bet on it.

The bottom line is simply that accusing these two leaders of lying is at best playing fast and loose with the English language, or at worst bending the truth to breaking point.

What they did may not have been good politics, and may have been inept, but “lying”? Fraid not, on any accurate interpretation of the language.

But wait a minute. Bending the truth is lying, isn’t it? Developing a political meme to discredit an opponent doesn’t make it OK. Funny that - isn't "lying" what Gillard and Bligh are accused of.

Talk about pot and kettle...

2 comments:

cav said...

No mention of the lying John Howard?

http://www.redrag.net/2004/08/23/truth-overboard-27-lies-told-by-john-howard-and-counting/

1735099 said...

Interesting document.
I wouldn’t call Howard a liar. Most of the "lies" were simply broken election promises. I can accept that - pollies have always done it.
There’s an important difference between lying and failing to keep a promise, unless you accept that all politicians are pathological liars.
If I take Campbell Newman (new Qld premier) at his word, we'll have a Range crossing soon, and all our power and rego costs will go down.
I'll be surprised if any of these things happen.

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