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Meanwhile, Sue Neales says:

SUE NEALES

February 27, 2010 09:47am

SUE NEALES: Officially the line was that Labor would not react to this week’s EMRS poll. Behind the scenes it is scrambling.
The Labor Party has publicly said it is not changing its re-election strategy or tactics at all in the wake of Wednesday’s calamitous opinion poll.

That EMRS poll, which put total support for Labor at a critically low 23 per cent of all voters, showed the Government in danger of losing five seats in State Parliament and, with it, its 12-year hold on power.

Officially the line was that Labor would not react to the poll; that it was entirely happy with its presidential-style Team Bartlett approach with all its touchy-feely apologies for not listening harder and sharing more freely the pain of the electorate at soaring cost of living price rises.

But behind the scenes, Labor was scrambling in panic.

It was clear their tactic of relying on young thumb-ring-wearing Premier Bartlett to make voters forget Labor’s mistakes and scandals of the past and look forward to a brave new clean-green future of fine wine, food festivals, optical fibre, wind farms, hot rocks and tourism was not working.

Neither too was Labor’s new-look philosophy of being honest and transparent, fighting clean and not dirty, and waging war on the Liberals and Greens without resorting to personal attack and nasty, rearguard, ugly and mean politics.

That also meant the plan to hide away most of Labor’s old-regime ministers such as David Llewellyn, Michael Aird, Jim Cox, Graeme Sturges, Doug Parkinson and

Michael Polley, from public view—and only to wheel out the more popular women ministers such as Lara Giddings, Lisa Singh and Michelle O’Byrne on rare occasions when the Premier was in another part of the state, was flawed too.

It was time, ruled the hardline Labor backroom boys led by behind-the-scenes election strategist and former Deputy Premier Bryan Green, to revert quickly to past winning ways.

That meant, within hours of the poll’s publication on Wednesday, turning to plan B.

And plan B, as Tasmanians have so clearly seen during the past 24 hours simply is a reversion to old-style Labor values, spearheaded by forestry issues and wedge politics.

Wedge politics is never a nice way to play the game.

But it is a wonderfully useful tool for any political party having trouble breaking through or winning voters over with its positive campaigning messages about “momentum moving forward”, wonderful job creation schemes, and magical promises for a better future.

Wedge politics means playing dirty—if you believe the smug tacticians hidden away behind Labor’s frontline—proving how tactically smart you are in comparison with your bungling opponents.

Wedge politics is about taking a line, or bringing in a new policy, which in one swoop leaves your political enemies nowhere to move without being wedged in a corner they never wanted to occupy, caught offside or exposed as hypocrites and liars.

Read more HERE: It’s Plan B for Labor

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