Never trust a salesman who attacks the competition

Hello, and thanks for letting me join you tonight. Having the opportunity to sit down for a few minutes and talk to you is a great privilege.
My name isn’t Lawrence Springborg and I’m not standing in the Queensland election next weekend. But if I were, I’d be right in there, straight off, telling you about my plans to improve the lifestyle of Queenslanders and the future of Queensland.

At least, I think that’s what I’d do.

I’m pretty sure that what I wouldn’t do is jump straight in whingeing about all the things the Labor Government has done wrong.

How come this is such a hard lesson for politicians to swallow?

When I go shopping for a fridge, and the salesman tells me: “Don’t by a fridge from the bloke over the road. His fridges are rubbish, his salesmen are crooks and his guarantees are worthless,” I’m not impressed.

The big loser in this conversation is the bloke who says those words. Even worse – what if I did buy a fridge from the bloke over the road last time!

Then you might as well as add: “… and you’re a chump for buying there last time.”

Enter Lawrence Springborg.

No . . . let’s be fair. Lawrence isn’t managing this all on his own, He has advisers. I hope they never open a fridge business. They’ll go broke.

Now before I say any more I need to make it very clear that I don’t say this because I’m a Labor supporter. I’ll get to them in a minute.

I’m a long-term political sceptic who knows that, whichever way you vote, you’ll still end up with MPs rorting the system, elements of our social structure (this year health, next year … police?) falling to bits while the government Ñ of whichever political persuasion Ñ tries to cover it up, and manipulating the law to enable them to do it.

Those first words, at the top of this column, are Lawrence Springborg’s introduction to the Liberal National Party’s (LNP’s) political campaign on its website.

It’s not the first thing you see, though. The very first thing you see is a big sign asking you to make a donation (things are worse than we thought); then there’s Lawrence Ñ Labor bashing.

There’s a rule in commerce: never knock the opposition. I repeat this at the risk of boring you, because I said it at the last election, too. But it’s true. You can’t trust a salesman who’s more interested in bagging the competition than in plugging his own product.

To win this election Lawrence needs to persuade a lot of people who voted Labor last time, to vote LNP instead. How’s he going to do that if the implication is: “Labor stuffed up and you’re a dickhead for voting for them.”?

He also says: “I’m here to talk to you about positive solutions for the future of our great state” And then he doesn’t.

Theoretically, this election should be complete dud as far as Anna Bligh is concerned. If she wins she will, I believe, be the first woman state premier in Australia; she’ll be possibly the first appointed premier who was ever returned at a real election; and she’ll be forming one of those rare state governments that happen to be of the same political persuasion as the Federal Government.

But the election is on the autumn equinox (next Saturday) so I guess anything’s possible.

itI’ve been to the Labor Party’s website too, where the request for money is understated, Anna has had lessons in public speaking, and the script is slicker and more believable (if that’s possible with any political party).  The LNP bashing is understated, too, which is refreshing.

Should I vote Labor, because they’re slick and rich? Or LNP, because they’re amateurish and broke?

Should I break a leg and stay home, because I don’t want to have to choose between a party that supports the individual (so long as the individual concerned is them) and a party that supports the party, and which also knows what’s best for everybody.

Or should I vote for the party with the nicest leader (Lawrence, whose delivers words like the wind wearing away rock, or Anna, who reminds me vaguely of Colonel Rosa Klebb from Goldfinger)?

Difficult choice. I think I’ll vote for the party that promises to bring in five-year elections Ñ so I don’t have to go through this performance so often.