A lot has been said and is being written about the 2nd consecutive drubbing Liberals got on Saturday November 26. And everyone directly or indirectly suggests Matthew Guy should go (read quit politics). Some are even selling this idea of Matthew Guy execution as the Liberal party’s ‘turning the first sod’ step to party’s re-building.
I cannot disagree more.
Matthew Guy is not the problem but an essential part of the solution for the Liberal party’s humungous problems with the Victorian electorate.
I know what the commentators with the thickest pay-packets will be thinking of me – a ‘complete fool’, ‘what do you know?’ and perhaps ‘what the f—?’
Most of the commentary after their loss on Saturday has centred around the party having moved too far to the right and failed to tap into the multicultural communities and so on.
Let us have a look at some talking points.
Among all those left in the party’s parliamentary room:
- How many of them have come from migrant backgrounds?
- How many of them can speak a second language (of their origin / heritage) fluently?
- How many of them are a product of public school system?
- How many of them can be projected as candidates (at the next election) that Victoria’s working class can identify with?
The party’s image is already tarnished somewhat as ‘having moved to the right’ or preferring the ‘fringe elements or extremists’ and so on.
The party, Liberal is by default seen as an ideology pitted against the ‘Have Nots’ or people living in the lower rungs of our urban social set up.
In many instances on the ground, it is literally ‘us’ versus ‘them’.
Unlike some decades ago, those people are no longer happy to delegate their power (of vote) to a ‘higher few’ and be ruled.
Today, they feel empowered with smartphones (and so on) in their hands and want to live the king-maker’s moment when casting their vote.
That is where Labor and the Greens have outperformed. To get their vote, they have to be afforded their powerful moment and thus they should be given the feel of being important and equal identity to who they are voting for.
That cannot be done in the ‘rule from the top down’ model the Liberal party and its current players are so used to.
Most of them are decades out of date themselves.
(Below from the archives – lighter moments to live for)
Late yesterday I tested positive for covid. At the moment I am feeling okay, just a bad head cold and resting up. Back on deck Thursday night. pic.twitter.com/8uF1JFk2OV
— Matthew Guy MP (@MatthewGuyMP) June 9, 2022
If the party head honchos do not know this reality, God help the Liberal party.
The party needs to get back to the middle and clinch a large tranche of the Victorian electorate if they really want to get back in government in 2030.
I see Guy as an asset rather than a problem; he can be a healing touch in all of this.
On Liberal party’s campaign, selection of candidates and preference deals, I would find it difficult to believe that the blame lies with Matthew Guy personally.
On the point some commentators make that Matthew Guy was unknown in the electorate, whose fault is that?
It seems the party placed all its faith in a handful of people working for the Herald Sun, Sky and 3AW.
With all the talk-back and editorial commentary, words to the effect ‘we are trawling the Labor party MPs to find how many salacious or adult accounts they follow on social media’, ‘The Cult of Daniel Andrews’, the hype they managed to create looked very real, at least to the Liberal party.
The Herald Sun has reported that the Liberals were absolutely in no doubt they will be forming government on Sunday, November 27.
“So convinced were they of winning, based on their polling, that the party was trying to make arrangements to transition to government on Sunday morning,” writes the Herald Sun.
If only they had read my column at bharattimes.com. I had called the election on Thursday November 24 for the Labor party.
I have no doubt there are monumental internal issues the party needs to do serious soul searching on. Matthew Guy execution is not the answer.
And all those who have put their hand up for the leadership, along with others in the party hierarchy occupying positions of power must-
- look at where the party needs to go to be a viable political party in Victoria; and
- honestly assess if Matthew Guy is NOT part of the solution.
Matthew Guy does not have to be the leader, but he must remain in parliament and help rebuild the Liberal brand he so passionately loves.
It will serve the party and Victoria (as we need a strong Opposition for a healthy democracy) immensely if they undertake this soul searching and come up with a team Victorians can identify with.
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