Conservative confusions

Much media discussion about Julie Bishop’s demise. She is a political lightweight, but most of her problems reflect a broader conservative confusion about how to respond to the economic crisis which mirrors Labor’s 2001-2004 agonies. Julia Gillard showed little ability to outwit Howard’s populist conservatism during her time as shadow Immigration Minister. The disarray on the right reminds me of that on the Marxist left after 1989. The most resilient current were the International Socialists (and their splinters) they had a theory which explained everything (just as do contemporary ‘Austrians’ on the right). But the rest of the Marxist left did not survive the collapse of existing socialism. So the Australian right is torn between two currents of thought: 1) a faith in the self-equilibrating power of markets that would mean that any stimulus package would be ineffective what Keynes called the Treasury view and 2) a confused acquiescence in the case for a stimulus. Examples of the later:

At home, the Opposition Leader says the stimulus will drive the budget into long-lasting deficit, and that tax cuts are preferable to one-off cash payments. He has a point: the impact of sugar hits wears off and tax cuts give people more control of their own money. But even though the package is not perfect, it is better that the Government did something than nothing at all (The Australian)

There may be good arguments for a financial stimulus package, but the government should do no more than is absolutely necessary (Gregory Melleuish)

Rather Labor and ‘border security’ after 2001 the Liberals are playing on their opponent’s ground an impossible task from opposition.

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