When the Ruddbot was at his zenith it was a different world. Those were the days before the GFC, or in its near aftermath, when we still hadn’t realised that the party wasn’t going to go on forever.
As reported in Business Spectator, a Boston Consulting Group report finds that Australians are increasingly likely to be saving rather than spending. As Robert Gottliebsen reports:
In just one year the proportion of consumers who want to save in 2013 rather than spend has risen from 40 per cent to 46 per cent while those who are less inclined to buy new things has risen from 49 per cent to 54 per cent.
This mirrors everything that my qualitative research has been showing for the last couple of years. People are insecure, and while they know things are better here than most places, everything is relative.
Added to that the most economically and socially significant demographic ever – the babyboomers – are either in retirement or approaching it, so they are even less inclined to spend.
The world in which Kevin 07 easily vanquished Honest John Howard with a few airy “vision” things like an “education revolution” that was actually a promise to buy schools shiny new computers, no longer exists.
But watching Rudd redux, it appears that he missed the intervening years.
You probably can’t blame him too much. While he was asleep Julia Gillard was cranking up the bankcard and making promises to be paid for on the never never and by someone else.
Which was one reason she was on the slippery slope with electors who knew that sort of maths no longer works in the real world.
But the befuddled Rudd is pursuing the same policies.
He’s in the wrong decade. The only way to win this election for him would be to show that new Kevin has learned from old Kevin’s mistakes.
To prove this all he would have to outflank Abbott, and his own party, from the frugal right and repudiate Gonski and the NDIS, adopt the Liberals’ broadband policy, and bring government expenditure back in line with government revenue.
He could do this, while Abbott can’t, because no matter how tough Labor is, they’re never blamed for it the same way the Liberals are. And if he did do this he would gain real credibility.
He’d also address the black hole at the heart of the budget which is threatening to tear the surplus apart.
Of course he won’t, because this story doesn’t have a fairy-tale ending, and Rudd hasn’t really changed. What’s worse, is that he’s been awake all along too and never noticed that this time it is different.
Which makes him neither “redux” nor “van Winkel”, but vanquished.