to sleep or not to sleep…

It’s fairly late at night – sitting in my office in Canberra now but off to Sydney in the morning. I’m starting to get in trouble from my staff for not getting to bed earlier (probably cos they know how grumpy I can get and they don’t want to have to endure that ;-), but late at night is the best time to clear the thoughts and let the mind process and reorganise things a bit – there’s too much happening in too immediate a way during the day.

This is the fifth federal election campaign I’ve been heavily involved in, as either a candidate or a main campaign manager (or both) so I have a fair idea of how my mind works during these periods and how to pace myself. However, it’s obviously the first I’ve gone through in the position I currently hold and it does have its unique aspects so we’ll see. I’ll certainly need heaps of energy for the final week, but campaigns tend to produce their own brand of frenetic energy you can feed off, which suits me well as I tend to draw energy from others rather than from inside myself.

So, I’m sure it will all be fine, and if it’s not and I fall asleep in the middle of my speech to the National Press Club, the entire campaign and the work of thousands of candidates, members and supporters will be destroyed, but at least my staff will have the satisfaction of being able to say “I told you so” when I wouldn’t go to sleep earlier. (Never underestimate the pleasure of a categorically irrefutable ‘I told you so’ that is earned in the face of stubborn refusal to acknowledge reality over a long period.) Still, doing well on election day would feel even better, not to mention the side benefit of the major overall long-term gains for Australia and our system of democracy

A comment someone posted made me think a bit more about how misleading political labels can be, even though they are a necessary shorthand. I think they can also have the effect of becoming self-fulfilling straightjackets that discourage people from considering ideas they might otherwise be drawn to.

By way of example, whilst I used the ‘conservative’ label myself to describe some of the other candidates, political pigeonholes of any sort can be somewhat misleading – including terms like ‘left’ and ‘right.

It would be interesting to outline some of the positions which various Senators and smaller parties have taken on various issues in the Senate. When you look at their voting records , the positions people take are not always what you’d immediately expect.

This is why debates on so-called ‘conscience votes’ are always so fascinating to observe, because people have to think for themselves and get to say more honestly what they feel and believe, rather than just have to be a cipher for the party line or the expectations created by the labels that are given to them.

It would be interesting to do a list of some of the examples where people might be surprised by the positioning and votes of particular parties, but I might save it until after the election.

I’d rather this blog didn’t just become part of a big long election advertisement or viewed solely through the prism of the immediate campaign. There’s heaps of others areas for the election specific message to get out like at that fabulous campaign website www.democrats.org.au

Anyway, time for me to listen to wise advice and get some sleep – I won’t mention the time so I don’t get in trouble.

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1 Comment

  1. You did well last night on Australia talks back. Brown has achieved nothing in parliament in the last three years and if we get stuck with Howard again he’ll achieve nothing more. Love how he cites the Republic Referendum as evidence he can get something out of the gov. That was over 5 years ago. Howard’s lot might be a pack of bastards but that doesn’t mean you can’t force them to make concessions for progressive policies.

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