Brown Study

Brown study

25 May 2019

9:00 AM

25 May 2019

9:00 AM

Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 US election the day she called Donald Trump’s supporters ‘a basket of deplorables’. After that, it was all over. It showed such contempt for people that enough of them decided they would not vote for her – and carried through on the promise. The election in Australia had a similar turning point when Bill Shorten took to referring to great swathes of the middle class as ‘the top end of town’, i.e., the idle rich who should be taxed more because their tax concession on shares was an unjustified ‘gift’. Clinton’s deplorables became Shorten’s top end of town, with the same result. The mistake they both made was to assert that not only did they disagree with their opponents’ policies, but that anyone who held such views and was on the same side was beyond the pale, contemptible and scarcely human. People tend not to take very kindly to hearing that sort of thing being said, especially when they realise it is being said about themselves. So the fact that Shorten lumped so many traditional ALP voters into that exclusive untermenschen convinced many people that they might be the next targets of a Shorten government.

That is but one of the many lessons to be learned from the election. In fact, there are so many of them that we thought we should bring them together as a special election supplement on how you too can build on the 2019 experience and win an election if you follow these golden rules. Here they are:

  1. Encourage GetUp! to campaign against you. Its track record is now beyond reproach and will virtually guarantee your success.
  2. If GetUp! does not appear within a reasonable time, make some strident and provocative statements of the sort that will attract it.
  3. Beware of having celebrity refugee lawyers as candidates. They are next to useless, and as much in touch with public sentiment as if they lived on Mars, especially if they are called ‘high profile’. They spend their time sneering at ordinary people and terrifying the voters into believing they will flood the country with even more refugees.
  4. Robocalls have a bad reputation, but they should not be written off entirely. We recommend one along these lines: ‘Hullo, my name is Chris Bowen. I’m from the Labor party. Please don’t vote for me.’
  5. Encourage Alex Turnbull to make personal robocalls urging people not to vote for you. This will guarantee that they vote for you.
  6. Encourage a large environmental movement to send a protest convoy through your electorate, condemning you as a climate change denier.
  7. Invite Paul Keating to make a speech, on any subject. He will say something stupid.
  8. Do not have policies that are as long as War and Peace, Volumes, 1, 2 & 3.
  9. Have as few policies as possible that take things away from people, especially tax concessions and certainly no policies that impose more tax. People know that most tax revenue is wasted.
  10. Avoid promising ‘vision’, ‘initiatives’ or ‘reforms’ in your policies, as people know they have to pay for them.
  11. Do not advocate ‘equality’. People do not want to be equal; they want to be better. They know they will be made to pay for equality for other people.
  12. Beware of The Tanya Plibersek Principle. If you have been in opposition for six years and feel that ‘perhaps we didn’t have enough time to explain all the benefits of our policies’, there might be something wrong with the policies.
  13. Have give-aways in your policies, yes, by all means, but not so many that they are unbelievable.
  14. People tend to like having jobs, for themselves and their kids. So stay well away from deadbeats with banners, nose rings and tattoos who don’t have jobs and don’t want you to, either.
  15. Religion. Hope that there will be attacks on your religion by the Greens, GetUp! and Rugby Australia. If necessary, pay someone to do it.
  16. Try not to make a complete fool of yourself by demanding your opponent say if sinners will go to hell.
  17. Ignore the left-wing media; they are hopelessly out of touch, take in each others’ washing and drink too much. Instead, subscribe to The Speccie.
  18. Be alert and alarmed if anyone wants an exclusive interview with you, offers you campaign money or a trip to the US. It will probably be Al-Jazeera.
  19. Your party. Don’t call yourself a ‘modern Liberal’. It might make you popular with a few trendies, but your colleagues and your leader will remember that you disowned your own party.
  20. When you eventually leave the stage after a distinguished career, do it with grace and not as Julie Bishop did it on Saturday night, by swinging the Channel 9 stiletto and giving Tony Abbott the ‘boot’. It was the most discreditable act I have seen in politics and, boy, have I seen some.

Finally, our Hall of Fame on Electoral Reform has admitted four notable reforms to avoid the obvious fact of having been defeated at an election.  First, Chris (‘don’t vote for me’) Bowen’s offering naturally takes its rightful place with the immortals, because voters clearly took his advice. Secondly, Wayne Swan’s interpretation was that ‘They didn’t come to us in the number we expected.’ Bill Shorten offered that ‘We didn’t get enough votes’. Finally, GetUp! explained helpfully that it really had a big win against Peter Dutton. How? Well, the swing to Dutton was less than the swing to the Coalition in some other seats. They all had echoes of the then Emperor of Japan who, just after Hiroshima, announced that ‘The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage’. Happy electioneering!

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