Should have moved to Queanbeyan while I had the chance...Now the real deal is upon us, I thought some initial thoughts might be appropriate. They'll be pretty raw, if you'll excuse my lack of polish.
Firstly, may I say I was stunned by these words:
"This election, ladies and gentlemen, will be about trust,"
- John Howard, 29 August 2004
Having zero knowledge of the art of campaign politics, I admit I am speaking from considerable ignorance on this issue. From the perspective of an observer however, I find it puzzling that anyone could be advised that, at a time in which the polled public view your credibility and trustworthiness as deficient, at best, the best way to frame your campaign is in terms of 'trust'.
But what do I know? Going from past experience, I wouldn't put it past John Howard to be able to convince voters on this one, just as he convinced voters 2 years and 10 months ago that the sky was about to fall in on account of some children treading water in our northern seas.
I hope to be able to write more comprehensively soon and perhaps set out some predictions for the flavour of the election campaign. I'd encourage all other psephite bloggers to do so too. Then, once the show is over, an evaluative review of those predictions would, I think, be a very interesting exercise.
Just one issue I would like to flag as a point of possible ongoing interest, is the 2004 Howard campaign's handling of the media. In her WebRant, er, I mean WebDiary, Margo Kingston wrote of the extraordinary and outrageous acts by John Howard during the Bush visit to restrict the public's and the media's access to Parliament. I would love to see a similar examination during and following this campaign. (Read the Kingston article).
With all the speculation regarding the possible date of the election, and the many complicated theories devoted to this topic, it's a strange feeling to now know for sure. Sometimes though, one must rely on the words of others to accurately reflect one's feelings:
"This is it
Oh This time I know it's the real thing
I can't explain what I'm feeling
I'm lost for words
I'm in a daze
Stunned and amazed
By your open ways"
- Danii Minogue 1993