24 Mar 2012

Queensland Election

The sheer vacuousness of Australian (and indeed global) party politics is shown by the LNP victory in Queensland. As is stated in this article, voters have 'voted for change'. That is all: they were vaguely fed up and voted for a change. Well, they'll get one, just as NSW did before them. They will get a slightly quickened pace of neoliberal destitution. The bottom line is that in the current situation of competition between Labor's slightly socially muted neoliberalism, and the Coalition's slightly less social neoliberalism there is no obvious choice and voters simply challenge incumbency based on factors that are whimsical and irrelevant. This is one reason why there is so much focus on personalities, on tiny blunders, on minor issues today, because these are the only things that constitute points of differentiation, lightning rods for mass discontent. Let's go further: 'twas ever thus, more or less. Politics is generally hegemonic in this way, with broad consensus between parties. What's exceptional is when you get a Whitlam moment, at which a party actually pushes through significant changes, in which a new hegemony is partly established.