Mark McGowan seems like a decent, intelligent and competent bloke. But I think he's got a tin ear politically, or he gets some very bad advice, or both. He hasn't managed to articulate a clear, cohesive and principled strategy in opposition. His tactic seems to be to try and woo special interest groups with a beef against Colin Barnett and his party in the hope that the numbers will add up to a sum great enough to get him over the line.

I saw him speaking at an anti-shark-cull rally once. That was very opportunistic and unwise. Playing political footsies with shark-huggers is like playing literal footsies (finsies?) with sharks. Odds are you're gonna get bitten. And there will be blood!

His most recent tactical error of this kind is his discussion paper promoting bike riding:

"A Better Cycling Future" seeks to blueprint a new relationship between motorists, cyclists and the broader WA community.

Mr McGowan said Perth cycling had the potential to help alleviate traffic congestion and to improve the health of West Australians, but, he said, a multi-faceted approach would need to resolve the challenges in creating a cycling future.

"We need a plan that incorporates infrastructure, education, planning and legislative change to make cycling a part of everyday life in Western Australia," he said.

Looks very much like an attempt at widespread social engineering. It's the kind of thing that would appeal to a lot of smug green inner-city latte-slurping types who fantasize about being Cadel Evans as they pedal in to work. But for those hailing from Perth's ever expanding suburbs who are commuting by car? Well, they tend to find those mamils an annoyance, and will give little support to the party that sees their rights as paramount.