Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Post- GE2015 reflections

I have been going through my thoughts over the GE results, the implications and what lies ahead for Singapore and opposition parties for these few days.

It is interesting to note a couple of important observations and contradictions:

While many people agree that the FEAR of PAP not forming the government made the middle ground swing their votes towards PAP, but we know PAP has been playing this card for past GEs as well. The most important comment made by Goh Chok Tong was "Freak Elections Result" in 1997.

Strange enough, instead of having that "cry wolf" effect, this time round this "cry wolf" tactic really worked. Was it because of LKY passing and this really made people scared? Was it because there was a coordinated effort by the Mainstream media which really projected that perception of "opposition gonna to win big" and this was echoed by the new media and opposition supporters themselves, coupled with huge turnout for WP and SDP rallies that made this "make belief" really turn out well?

The second strange thing is where everybody talks about the need to have "opposition unity" in terms of merger or alliance... whatever, orr even have shadow cabinet, just to show that opposition ready to take over the government, BUT won't this enhance the FEAR of PAP will lose power in the face of stronger opposition front?

Now, if this "freak election result" was the result of the middle ground voters being frighten off by the thought of PAP losing power, how would the projection of an even BIGGER and STRONGER unified opposition front help to convince them that PAP will not lose power? Can putting up a shadow cabinet help to assure and address these middle ground voters' Fear?

The other reasoning says that we should go back to "by election" strategy. That is a bit absurd. Comparing to GE2011, the only difference now is that Tg Pagar has been contested! But yet in GE2011, opposition as a whole fair pretty well!

Besides, I have said that it is important that we have all seats contested so that all Singaporeans can exercise their voting rights. It is an important process because no matter how the votes turn out to be, everyone will go through the process that empowers them and makes them think hard of the Nation's future. This process alone will enhance our citizenry (especially when we are having a lot of New Citizens since 2000) and make them realize that they have a stake in this country. It is part of building up National Identity. Thus I do not agree to compromise on that in return for "better chance of winning".

Some people opined that opposition must put up strong candidates etc so that we can win. But I believe it is precisely that opposition has spread their talents all over Singapore, creating the perception that there is REAL possibility of opposition parties winning in various wards so much so that it frighten off the middle ground. eg Singfirst Tan Jee Say in Tg Pagar, SDP CSJ and Paul T in Holland Bukit Timah along with the 28 seats of WP and if we add in Mountbatten, Bishan TPY, Tampines and CCK which has decent scores in GE2011, the total number of seats add up will be more than half of the seats.

Although we know that apart from having well known individual politicians in these teams, the overall team formation may not be "fantastic" but I guess it really creates an irrational fear in the middle ground voters. Only this can explain why this "Cry Wolf" tactic has become more "credible" and the fear was really invoked this time round.

My view is that this election is FREAK in every sense because the results were based on irrationality and fear rather than realistic expectation.

The fact that last GE has created quite a number of well known opposition individuals like Tan Jee Say, Dr Ang YG, Jeannette Chong, Gerald Giam, Yee JJ, Lee LL, in addition to Dr Chee and Prof Paul T etc joining the contest, the overwhelming combined effects along with the powerful over-population issues and the over-zealous of political parties and supporters rallying "VICTORY" all over the internet, all these have really helped PAP to create fear successfully into the middle ground voters' mind. In Chinese terminology, 物极必反. When something goes to the extreme, it will reverse and bounce back, backfire totally.

My take for this GE result is, chill. It is an unintended freak election results which were caused by multiple factors. We just have to see clearly that the strategy of putting up "sure win" political posturing will backfire on us. We just need to rethink on the strategy and messaging. Some of the things are out of our control but some of the things we could do better.

Last but not least, one important observation made. PAP has never wanted to debate about THEIR policies because they know they will be cornered into a defensive position. They have avoided all challenge of policy debates but at the same time, they attacked those parties which put up too detailed policy options (i.e. SDP and Singfirst).

I was careful not to put up POLICY manifesto and when the reporters keep asking for it, I felt extremely fishy! I will only put up "Election Manifesto" just like what PAP did (not that PPP does not have any policy stance) but will challenge PAP for policy debates.

In short, winning policy debates is really different from winning elections. PAP has been using this strategy of avoiding policy debates while cherry pick on opposition parties' policy views and attack them ferociously. Just have to fight smart against them.

Goh Meng Seng

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Comparing to GE2011, the only difference now is that Tg Pagar has been contested!
Goh Meng Seng

Not the only difference lah.

For one, GE2015 has more "mosquito" opposition parties, which makes majority voters see opposition even more "no up".

Another is that the strongest opposition, the WP, squandered their chances given to them in GE 2011 and also BE 2012 and 2013, by their repeated screw up performance both inside and outside Parliament. So this really disappoint many voters all over Singapore. And if strongest is already like that, what more the rest, least of all parties like the PPP?

So this disappointment over the opposition, and more than over the PAP, translates into a 70% resounding mandate to the lesser of 2 evils, the PAP.