Thursday, March 22, 2007

NSW 2007 - a strange election becomes stranger still

I will be glad when this election is over and I can resume normal posting. My obsession with the election must seem strange to readers outside NSW, but it is really a very odd election.

Both Sydney dailies have been running stories and editorial content with the same theme: the Government deserves to go, but the opposition cannot win. Now I don't know about this. I am just confused.

Yesterday morning youngest, she is seventeen so cannot vote this time, amazed us all by saying that if she could vote she would vote for Mr Debnam. I say amazed because this is a girl who normally leans to Labor or the Greens. She herself prefaced her statement with the words "I never thought that I would say this."

Clare gave two reasons for her view, one not so surprising, one very surprising.

She said first that she was tired of Labor's negative advertising. The opposition is doing this as well, but the Labor Party has just so much more money that their ads swamp everything else. We all feel this, so that's not surprising.

She then said that she thought that the opposition's policies were better. This did come as a surprise. It appears that the constant dumping on opposition leader Debnam has actually caused her to listen (she rarely reads newspapers) to some of what passes for policy debate in this election.

I have no idea as to whether Clare is an isolated example or not. But I have been noticing a change in the commentary over recent days. I cannot pin this down precisely. All commentators are still saying that the opposition cannot win, but you are starting to get comments like "Debnam is not as bad as he is presented."

I also noticed that National Party Leader Andrew Stoner is getting more of a run on at least Sydney radio.

Normally the Nationals as a NSW country based party do not get Sydney air time, certainly not positive air time. Stoner is a much more down to earth person than Debnam, a typical country bloke, and comes across well on radio.

In a talk back segment on ABC local radio a caller, obviously a Labor supporter, said to Stoner that he (Stoner) would be Deputy Premier after the election should the opposition win but that he (the caller) knew nothing about him. The caller's theme was really why should he buy a pig in a poke?

Stoner handled this well, explaining something about himself and then adding that he would have loved to get more Sydney media coverage, but the Sydney media simply did not cover either the National Party or NSW regional issues.

I was especially impressed by the way in which Stoner, the opposition's shadow transport minister, handled the very parochial Sydney concerns. He could have gone down here very badly, but showed that he actually knew the details. He sounded like a minister. So it's a pity they couldn't get him in there sooner.

Mind you, Andrew has his own concerns defending the National's position outside Sydney in the face of the growing challenge from the Richard Torbay led independents. As I said in an earlier post, the independents have become the Party you have when you are not having a Party.

This brings me to a broader point, the way in which this election has split into two completely separate campaigns, Sydney and the rest. And the rest of NSW had better watch out.

The orchestrated campaign by the Sydney media about the city's problems means that regardless of who wins the election a lot of money is going to be spent fixing infrastructure. There is not going to be a lot of money left over for the rest of the state.

No comments: