I really enjoyed this latest contribution from David Burchell at The Australian.
He asks whether the leaders of the Government (Mr Rudd) and Opposition (Mr Turnbull) have over-dramatised the differences between their parties in the search for a meaningful political narrative.
My favourite line:
And so there they stand before us, like the shimmering cities of Cathay: two rival fantasies, each as terrifying or as promising as the other, and each with as much plausibility as those gold-paved streets.
I tend to agree with Burchell that the differences between the parties, especially on economic policy, lie mainly in rhetoric rather than reality. For example, when all is said and done, their views on the appropriate size of the fiscal stimulus are closer than many people realise.
A possible exception is climate change, where there is clearly a group of Coalition MPs who are opposed to an emissions trading scheme. But surely this is more to do with different constituencies (e.g. the Nationals country/regional base) than some neoliberal / socialist ideological divide?
Political narratives defined by what they are not provide no vision for the nation and I wouldn't be surprised if an already disengaged public switches off.
What do you think?