Election campaign ignores New England, a post on my New England blog, expresses my annoyance at the way the area I come from has been largely ignored in this election campaign. After all, the eleven New England seats deserve as much attention as the eleven South Australian seats or the five in Tasmania.
That's a geographic annoyance. At a purely personal level, however, I still haven't made up my mind how to vote. I don't buy the presidential approach, so I'm not choosing between Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott. I am more interested in the detail of the policies plus the way I think they might be delivered.
I must say that I sometimes get very confused. My problem is that I like to have a feel for the way things might work on the ground. In that sense, I personalise, point and counterpoint between the general and the particular.
I know with the National Broadband Network, for example, that West Armidale is one of the first pilot roll-out sites. I can identify with that. In similar vein, the newly opened Stage One of the Trades Training Centre developed by The Armidale School in conjunction with PLC is tangible. So when I look at the opposition policy on broadband, or the proposed abolition of trade training centres, I ask the question what does it mean for my old home area.
This may sound very parochial, but at the end of the day policy only has meaning measured by its on-ground effects.
The rush by both sides to what they perceive to be central ground means that this election is being fought on a very narrow policy slice. This doesn't mean that there are not important differences. As Neil noted, the use of vouchers in education is one. However, the problem I find is to disentangle those differences in a world made up of apparently similar measures.
Regional policy is one of the areas that I traditionally focus on. I fail both sides here. There is very little here that is new, less that really addresses core underlying issues. That said, I should qualify my remarks in that I have yet to look at all the detail of National Party policies. Traditionally, if the National Party doesn't drive in this area, no-one drives. That is part of the reason why I am still sympathetic to that party, if so often disappointed.
Both sides are still rolling out policies. With such a short time to the election, this is really very silly. How can we voters make judgments when we have less and less time to do so?
Over the next week, I am going to refrain from making election comment, focusing instead on trying to understand the differences between the policies and what they might mean in operational terms. Who knows, I may then be able to make up my own mind.