Now Begins Six Weeks Of Desperation, Savage Ugliness, Fear And Smears, Threats, Harassment, Knocks And Shocks
Or : Welcome To The 2007 Federal Election
So it begins. Six weeks of official campaigning, after nine months of unofficial campaigning, to determine who will run Australia for the next three to eight or more years.
Will it be Labor?
Will it the Liberals?
Will you even be able to tell the difference?
Are you already beyond caring?
This poll claims that John Howard will be chased into retirement on a wave of young voter fury and older voter disgust come election day. The numbers are foul enough for the Howard government that they must be close to ready to start sacrificing goats in the hope of conjuring up some magical intervention, satanic or divine.
The Newspoll due out by Monday night is expected to focus on the views of younger voters, and somewhat fresh issues like home carers, and it too will show that the Howard government is going to be carved up like a pig at a bacon lovers festival.
Most of the poll experts, and political opinionists - well, those that aren't counting on a John Howard victory to avoid getting the sack - agree that Howard needs nothing short of a miracle to win back the faith of millions of Australian voters in only 42 or so days.
The chant from the public stands is repetitive and steady : Howard's too old, too tired, too boring, too untrustworthy, too cynical, too cliched, too old, too boring, too smug, too arrogant, too worn out, too familiar....did we already say too old and boring?
Workchoices and climate change will be Howard's ruin. They can engrave it on his tombstone today, to save time later.
He hid the truth about what Workchoices would mean for the paypackets of hundreds of thousands of young Australians until it was almost too late, and he hid from the truth about climate change, until long after the vast majority of Australians had agreed that they were more concerned about how global warming would affect the lives of their children and grandchildren than they were worried about terror threats or an economic downturn.
It's going to be an ugly, vicious campaign, and 42 days will feel like 42 weeks. There will be widescreen, Dolby surround Smearing and Fearing until you just can't take it anymore and want to punch Flanders in the face. Or Tony Abbott.
Labor will be able to play it cool, with Rudd already acting like he's the prime minister, waiting for the old guy to bugger off, so he can get down to business. Expect more of this. They aren't the ones who are desperate, so don't expect them to be out there with the begging bowl, or the blood-soaked axe.
The real fight will be coming from the Liberals, and it will be one of the more democracy-tainting, soul-destroying, sickeningly savage events in recent Australian history.
If you thought turning on the TV and seeing hundreds of beach thugs beating women and tourists and attacking cops and ambulance drivers during the Cronulla Riots was an appalling spectacle, wait until you see what Tony Abbott and Alexander Downer and the Exclusive Brethren have got up their sleeves.
But that, in the end, will all just be part of the general desperation of the Liberals. They're like a boatload of fishermen who are floating with liferafts in the ocean and the sharks are circling.
The senior ranks of the Howard government know that if they are destroyed at the polls, the party as they know it will be torn to shreds, from the inside out. Think of the chest-burster in the Alien movies. Like that, but with more blood and exploding guts.
Few of the current ministers, with the exception of Philip Ruddock, will be ready to move to the opposition benches, or the back benches, which means the extremist nutfucks in the Liberal Party, the ones who think race riots are a great way to rally white Australia, will be fighting for their time in their sun. And they'll string their own off the light poles to get it.
It's also worth remembering that there are many people in business here who will do just about anything to make sure John Howard and the Liberals keep control of the nation, and that's where some of the real danger lies in this election campaign.
How far will the secret rulers of this land go to maintain their very profitable status quo? Kevin Rudd is not expected to do much that will drain their gravy boats, but dismantling Workchoices is going to make many of these corporate elites very, very angry, and very, very desperate.
And there's the international 'influence' already looming like dark brooding cloud over this country's future.
If you don't think the psychotic ranks of the NeoCons aren't going to get involved in this election campaign, you're going to be in for even more nasty surprises. Have you got your Go Bag ready yet?
It's going to be both thrilling, and sad, to see how far John Howard will go to avoid going down in Australian political history as one of our most spectacle losers.
There will be moments of brilliance from Howard, that will make you think 'Shit, he just might win this thing', and there will be many moments of pitying misery. Some of which may want you to crack a beer, in celebration, or sympathy. The 2007 federal election campaign is almost certain to be John Howard's political wake.
But you can't feel sorry for him. He had his chance to go, to leave in style, but he got too greedy and demanded one more dance, even if it meant a grim funereal march into the shadows for his party. Which it now surely does.
So what will the Howard Miracle be? Nobody can think of one. There's nothing on the horizon that can turn the anti-Howard tide. If you took a poll this weekend in just about any pub in Australia on what people thought of his plans for Aboriginal Reconciliation, the general response would "scumbag".
But John Howard doesn't have to go down like a loser, even if he is one. He always has the option of canceling the elections, should there be an event of the scale that a national emergency needs to be declared.
There are some events far more important than election day. And none of them are good :
An horrific series of terror attacks?
A sudden and mind-boggling attack on Iran by the US and Israel, leading to mass deaths of Australian soldiers in southern Iraq from retaliatory attacks?
A spectacular earthquake and tsunami slamming the east coast?
The outbreak of a mega-deadly bird flu pandemic?
But then, perhaps we're simply in for a dreary and utterly boring election campaign, now we've already lived through what was an increasingly aggravating unofficial campaign that has dominated most of the year.
Maybe election day will come and go before we even know it. And then Christmas plans will fill our minds, and a new year will be just around the corner.
Whoever wins the election, you can count on one thing for certain : in 2008, a fairly annoying speccy man who you don't feel you can trust 100% (or even 60%) will be running the country, and life will go on, roll on, rumble, bumble, stumble and flumble on, for most of us, pretty much as it did for in 2007, and 2006 and 2005.
Things won't change anywhere near as much as you might like to think they will.
They never really do.