We have all been frightened by something.
For some it is spiders, snakes or cockroaches. For others, it is that nameless thing behind the door or under the bed.
With the former, the fear generates a fight or flight response. The latter freezes us in the hope that we will remain unnoticed.
Conservative politicians have always relied on fear to keep the electorate in check. A sufficiently fearful population will tend to stay with the devil they know. The risk of that nameless ‘thing under the bed’ is too horrible to contemplate. A sense of doom keeps us from wanting to move or to change.
Menzies was brilliant at creating that fear of something insubstantial. Fear of ‘Reds under the bed.’ Conflating Socialism with Communism. Unknown difference was hiding behind the door and had to be kept at bay. It worked for more than 20 years!
Fraser did the same with the fear of unknown, untried
sources of finance. We knew we were in debt to Britain and America and that was good. But to go into debt to a Middle Eastern Country. Well, that was a SCARY proposition. Why? because it had never happened in the past and who knows where that will lead. That worked for 10 years.
Howard wasn’t sure what to make the electorate afraid of until he was on the verge of losing the 2002 election. Then he discovered the evil of Islam and the horror of ‘Kids Overboard’. A double whammy of fear which kept him in power for another six years. That bed still had something under it but the door? Well don’t ask about that, you may be told what is actually behind it. A dressing gown on a hook!
Tony Abbott replayed the same fears and it got him into a power he was incapable of handling. And so he was replaced by Malcolm Turnbull who felt he was above the fear game and so almost lost the 2016 election.
Now we have Scott Morrison. The seller of quick fixes to the masses. Where the bloody hell was he? His idea of a fear campaign is lots of cockroaches and spiders and snakes. Not the ever-present sense of doom which has worked in the past.
The current election is showing us that the Conservatives need a new source of fear if they are to succeed. Even if a ‘boat’ does arrive at Christmas Island, it will not change things because we have all seen Morrison pleading with the people smugglers to send a boat or two. Those scary Asylum Seekers on Manus and Nauru have lost their effect because they have shown their humanity in the saddest way. But suffering from a pointless incarceration. And now we have seen their suffering. The average Australian is not a monster. While they were unknown they were scary but now we know them. They are humans like us.
So what fear can this Government find to keep us in line?
The economy? Labor will stuff it up! That won’t work because they themselves have stuffed the economy!
Labor will cause Power Price increases. Nope! The boy who cried wolf comes to mind with that one.
Sadly for the current Government it seems they must now rely on an alien invasion from outer space to engender the required level of fear of the unknown. Without that, they are doomed!