Mind-numbing boredom in same old political rhetoric

PREMIER Lara Giddings should call an election now.

Not because the government has done anything particularly monstrous of late to prompt such action.

And not because all Tasmanians are super keen to plunge into the promised land of a Hodgman Liberal majority government and dive Scrooge McDuck-style into the personal cash pools that are sure to follow.

But it's because I'm not sure we can take three more months of this.

The campaign proper hasn't even begun yet (prepare to hide behind your couch from an army of doorknockers from tomorrow) and it already feels tired.

Slogans and preconstructed sledging that was witty on first utterance but palled on the 456th usage abound.

There are endless press releases and doorstops on the same issue, saying the same thing, the same set pieces rolled out again and again until the media can, and sometimes do, smash the pieces into a story- like shape and hand it to the public.

It is what George Orwell, in Politics and The English Language, blamed for political degeneration.

"As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse," he wrote.

At this point, seasoned spectators of Tasmanian politics could, almost to the word, provide the answer a particular politician would give on any particular issue.

It's very boring.

It's also dangerous.

When politics is such that even political reporters have to kick themselves in the ankle to stay awake, how can we have a proper debate?

And if we don't have a proper debate, how can we make a good decision?

Job-destroying forest peace deal. You can't trust the Liberals. You can't trust Labor and the Greens.

Repetition is reaching the level of hypnopaedic conditioning.

We're not sure what they mean but boy, have those messages sunk in.

Familiarity has bred contempt, mutated into loathing and stumbled into the acid lakes of apathy.

Take the pulp mill.

Not the pulp mill as an actual prospective development in the Tamar Valley, but as an idea.

Or, rather, an ideology.

When I wrote last week that the pulp mill was shaping up to be a key issue for the third election running, a number of you scoffed and said the chances of it getting an investor were slightly less than those of a snowball in hell.

But whether it gets up or not does not - for the election campaign, at least - really matter.

In terms of public discourse, the pulp mill has become little more than an indicator of where a person sits on a political scale.

For eight years it has been the medium through which voters coalesce into distinct groups.

From the 2010 result, the overwhelming majority of Tasmanians either support it or don't care about it enough to let it determine their vote.

If discussion about the fabled Labor caucus meeting is to be believed, there will soon be a new message in the mix.

Caucus will push to bind the Premier to a position on letting the Greens join cabinet in the event of another hung parliament.

They may even borrow a "No Deals' sign from the Liberals.

Labor is at war with Eurasia. Labor has always been at war with Eurasia.


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