Fox Symes and Associates … I beg your pardon, the Liberal Party of Australia held a mini campaign launch yesterday to kick off the election year. Their theme is based around the slogan “Real Solutions.”
It seems pretty boring and harmless at first. That is until you realise that “Real Solutions” has absolutely nothing to do with policy and what’s worse is the Liberal Party knows it. Reading the document makes that point very clear.
What this is all about is their new vector which is designed to distribute the message “Labor is damaged!” at every possible opportunity.
The difference now is they are no longer saying “Labor is damaged!” directly which is the way they’ve said it for the last two years. It’s now done in the guise of “constructive policy”, big smiles, peace, love and happiness. It’s quite “left wing” when you really think about it.
In effect, they’re trying to frame Labor as negative. They have little care about how they’re seen because they’re the opposition. Their goal is to make everything about Labor.
Yesterday was about being as provocative as possible to the ALP. They want to be attacked because it’s their way of controlling the frame of the national conversation. Make comments, announce policy with zero detail that has tiny emotional trigger points, get attacked by the ALP and other progressives, then exploit the vulnerabilities their attacks expose.
Consider the video below:
From what I’ve seen, there are two elements contained within this clip that have triggered an emotional response from people on one level or another, be it engaged or disengaged. The first is Abbott holding up his book of motherhood statements to the camera while speaking on the telephone. The second is Joe Hockey’s demeanor and body language.
Contrary to what appears to be the popular opinion, it seems to me that these two elements contained within the clip have been deliberately planned.
Holding up the book communicates on an auditory, visual and kinesthetic level. You can hear what he’s saying and see what he’s holding. This subtlety works on people at an unconscious level whether they’re aware of it or not.
Many seem to think Joe Hockey looks bored by what Abbott is saying. I’d be very cautious of jumping to that conclusion because this kind of video is usually done by professional people. My guess is that the reason he looks bored is because it gets talked about and the more it gets talked about, the more coverage it will get. The political relationship between Abbott and Hockey is irrelevant to the content contained in this clip. This all about winning 50% +1 of the votes in every piece of communication they produce, getting their message to people by any means necessary and making it very clear that they’re in control of the frame of the national debate.
If they wanted Hockey to look mesmerised by Abbott’s words and they thought he looked bored and disinterested, they would have simply reshot the video until they got that kind of reaction. If he was uncooperative or simply too stupid to follow their instructions, they’d have left him out of the clip and got someone more sycophantic like Christopher Pyne, Peter Dutton or Julie Bishop.
The two things the ALP seem to misunderstand in relation to responding to this kind of communication is how they’re viewed by the community and the subtle emotional components the Liberal Party use which are designed to trigger them.
It baffles me how often I’ve seen the ALP respond to this type of communication, thinking they’re making Abbott the issue when in reality what they’re doing says more about them as a government than what it says about the Liberal Party or their leader.
Whenever you see phrasing like “once again, Abbott rewrites history” something doesn’t feel right. It’s the ALP who should be rewriting history. They’re the government. The Liberal Party are merely the opposition.
On top of all this is the fact most of the response is all based around the content of what they say. Facts are important but what’s missing are the emotions and the context! The idea that Abbott might be breaking the social contract with the Australian people and that they feel a lot of contempt towards him tends to get missed in the detail. Worse, if there is an understanding, the response is all guns blazing which goes back to the previous point of how the community views the ALP.
I expect yesterday will only be the beginning of this type of shallow, immature, university style politics to be played throughout the year. It’s yet another part of what has disengaged the public from their politics which has allowed the Liberal Party to gain control of how policy issues are framed and defined in Australia.