Monthly Archives: February 2012

A Different Kind Of Truth

The Old Is Not The New, It’s Just Good

Van Halen came out with a new album about three weeks ago. I rushed out and got it at Utopia records in town. May as well do these things the old way. I know people are downloading these things but being a fetishist (as Rob Gordon would have it) I need to own plastic. I don’t know, if I ever wanted Lady Gaga, I might download that, but a new Van Halen album deserves my full purchasing commitment. The point is to not give into the ravages of time; not surrender to the seduction of the new. If you truly love rock music, there’s no way you’re not going to fork out the money for the CD. Mine even came with a free poster, so suck on that iTunes!

What’s Good About it

The word out there is that these aren’t even new-new songs but re-arranged and re-written old songs, some of which were on that legendary demo tape to Warner Brothers. From the first note to the last, the Van Halen you hear sounds as bristling and energetic as any and all of the early Van Halen records that featured David Lee Roth. And really, that’s what we expect, and that’s what they deliver.

The playing is superb, the engineering is great, the mix is lively, and it just plain rocks. At the heart of it is Eddie Van Halen, still doing his remarkable guitar playing that changed the landscape for guitarists for a generation. The whole package might not sound fresh to music critics, but it sounds real, and lived in. You know, being ‘good’ is fresh enough for me.

What’s Bad About It

Are you kidding me? Uh… It’s not a double album?.

What’s Interesting About It

Well, that’s an interesting title for a start, that poses some epistemological questions. I don’t know how philosophical a bent David Lee Roth has developed – judging from his solo works, maybe not much – but the line evokes two discussions about knowledge. One is whether we can ascertain truth and one is whether truth is multiple and that there can be conflicting, contradictory but simultaneous truth. The song ‘Bullethead’ suggests that reality might be a bit more vague than any definition we give it.

I’m sure the guys in the band aren’t thinking about this sort of thing to much, and yet you get the feeling from the record that fame and success actually wore on them a lot more than they admitted. truth, as they found out was a socially determined construct, so they want to throw it back on us saying absolutes are questionable.

The long absence between ‘1984’ and this album for David Lee Roth is the stuff of rock legends so I won’t go into it here, but it has to be said, he’s slipped right back into the soundscape like he had never left. It makes you think, if it’s so damn easy, what took you guys so long to get back? The answer to that might be the GFC wherein a lot of bands have hit the road again in order to scare up some cash after investments were burnt in the GFC.

At least this is the silver lining on that very black cloud – and it shines too.

Going Black And White

I’ve noticed over the years that when bands want to hit the reset button, they come out with black and white video clips. ‘Tattoo’ and the other bits of video that’s been released are all in black and white. Unfortunately it reminds me of the time The Who took on Kenny Jones to replace the deceased Keith Moon and came out with ‘You Better You Bet’; The time the Police came out with ‘Every Breath You Take’; and the time U2 went all bluesy and did ‘Rattle ad Hum’, half in black and white. I don’t know if it really means anything but the black and white thing always seems like a statement, but ends up being something else.

The band is resetting in the sense that they haven’t had an album out since 1998, and they’re doing this one with David Lee Roth so it stands to reason. The problem is that the Who only really had one more album in them and then stopped putting out material for along time, and the Police really only had the 1986 remix of ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me’ left in them. It’s really not a good sign. Speaking for myself, I haven’t done anything since I worked in black and white, so… I’m just saying.

“Can He Still Do The Splits?”

I’ve had a few people ask this question of David Lee Roth. Because the question never crossed my mind, it kind of took me by surprise that quite a number of people are asking this question. I don’t understand how this comes to the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to David Lee Roth rejoining the band, seeing that my own consciousness of the band totally revolves around Eddie’ guitar playing. I mean, it’s like asking if Dennis Rodman still has weird hair when the subject of the Michael Jordan era Chicago Bulls comes up. I mean, yeah, no, maybe, but were you watching what that team did at all? David Lee Roth’s splits? Come on, this is Eddie’s band. 🙂

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ALP Finishes Rinse Cycle

What Came Out In The Wash

Even though we all knew what the outcome was going to be going into the meeting today, I’m still of the opinion that these ALP power brokers are full of shit for picking Julia Gillard over Kevin Rudd. In the last 5 days of blogging (and energetic commenting over at Facebook), we kind of figured out that these people would much rather face electoral oblivion than work under Kevin Rudd. That it wasn’t just Nicola Rocks-in-her-head Roxon that had this asinine opinion,it was 71 of them, plus Julia Gillard who naturally voted for herself. It would have been funny had she voted for Kevin, just to rub it in, but… no. there is no humour in politics.

I know I’m being harsh when I call these 71 members of caucus assholes but in the past I have actually been quite generous when it came to ALP leadership issues. I didn’t think much of Kim Beazley and was dismayed by his willingness to embrace anti-terror legislation as if tougher-than-Johnny was going to get him over the line. Not a great moment in progressive side of politics, but … I voted for him. Simon Crean was another leader I felt iffy about, what with his perennial inability to get some kind of narrative going against the tidal wave of conservative patter coming from the Liberals. He was like a tongue-tied mute when you needed a bard. Then there was Mark Latham – less experienced, brash, scary, violent (but exciting if you ask me) who the faction bosses hobbled on the way to the polls. I sure as hell voted for Kevin’07; and as a side issue which is what State politics is, I voted for Bob Carr, Morris Iemma and maybe even Barry Unsworth way back when. And each and every time, I didn’t really question the progressive cause, nor did I stop to consider the weird bedfellows I had in rabid socialist unionists and former communists and former student politicians and even people with whom I disagreed outright.

But here’s the thing: I could not bring myself to vote for Kristina Kenneally, and I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Julia Gillard in 2010 because I just couldn’t take the machinations that brought these people to the top of their resepective totem poles. I’ve wondered if this was because I was some kind of political misogynist, but no, I would have voted for Joan Krrner and Dr. Carmen Lawrence and Anna Bligh if they were in my State. (Had I been American I would have voted for Hillary Clinton over anybody except Obama). But I drew the line with these two.

What they have in common is this: Mark Arbib did the politicking to swap leaders to install both these women when it was unnecessary to do so in both instances, and was in fact detrimental to my trust of the ALP. I’ve been pondering about my rage and really, it comes down to Mark Arbib and his apparatchik ways.

So it is with great pleasure today to find that Arbib has resigned from Parliament.

Senator Arbib – often described as one of the “faceless men” for his role in helping remove Kevin Rudd as PM in 2010 – described his shock resignation as a “gesture of goodwill” to the party to help it heal.
Senator Arbib, who also served as Sports Minister, said that he was also resigning from the Parliament for family reasons.

He said that after he was promoted to the ministry late last year, his daughter cried because it meant he would spend more time at work.

“Don’t take the job, Dad,” she said.

Unlike a lower house seat, his resignation from the Senate will not force a by-election. The NSW Parliament will choose a replacement from the Labor Party.
Senator Arbib said that the past week in politics had been one of the “most difficult” weeks in Labor Party history.

He said that leadership ballots were “difficult complex and emotional” events.
Senator Arbib said that he believed Prime Minister Julia Gillard could and would win the next election but it required a commitment from the caucus to put recent events behind them.

“What it requires is professionalism,” he said.
Senator Arbib said that healing the party’s scars required more than talk.

“It requires more than words, it requires action,” he said.
“Everyone has a responsibility, all of us have to play a part. And that includes me.”

It’s a real bummer that Kevin couldn’t persuade his colleagues to give him another shot. I won’t vote for Julia Gillard – ever – so that is just that. Yet, it is some kind of consolation that Mark Arbib has been sent packing. Oh, he’ll still collect that big pension that pollies get to pull down, but it is best for the ALP that he be sent packing. Nobody’s going to convince me this man was an asset for progressive politics in this country.

Good riddance.

Not Done With Despising

All this has lowered my estimation of these people in caucus, especially the ones who voted for Gillard in the face of the numbers. They’re dicing the future of Australia with Tony Abbott. Which is why I am not contemplating a donkey vote at the next election. If these people are willing to dice the future of Australia with Tony Abbott, then I’m entitled to do the same with my vote.

Machiavelli said contempt was corrosive. A leader can be loved, or feared, but the option is not there to be held in contempt and unfortunately what we have here is a situation where I now hold these people in contempt. I don’t think I’m alone on that little count. The tenor of people who were hoping Kevin Rudd might have persuaded a few more people are particularly frutrated today.

Here’s an example – Sam deBrito:

I tell ya, every time I’m about to get well and truly sick of Kevin Rudd’s two-year-long temper tantrum, someone on Mount Hubris reminds me just how out of touch much of the Labour Caucus is and how they’ll happily convince you piss is Perrier depending on the day.

Tell me Brendan, Greg, and Ms Gillard; if the ballot for the Labor leadership is not a celebrity poll why the hell did you get rid of Rudd 20 months ago?

The rationalisation since has been, as O’Connor repeated Sunday, that it was “about who should lead the nation. Getting things done and doing things in the nation’s interest is not always immediately popular but it’s very important.”

And I thought it was about Kevin Rudd’s plunging opinion polls back in 2010 when you cut his throat?
Since then we’ve had all the words in the world telling us what a hard man Rudd was to work for, that he was a nightmare boss, but you know what?

WE DON’T CARE.

We have nightmare bosses out here in the real world and we don’t get to sack them when they drive us batshit.
We don’t get paid $300K like ministers do either (plus allowances!)
We don’t have any of your power or influence, except for one itty bitty thing: our vote.

And you ignored this, you took it away from us back in 2010 when you sacked a democratically elected Prime Minister – in a process some might uncharitably liken to a popularity contest – and we haven’t forgotten that.

And if that doesn’t sound angry enough to you, here’s Peter Hartcher:

The people consistently prefer Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard as Labor leader by a factor of about two to one. But Labor has gone the other way by a factor of more than two to one. For a party that is on a steady trajectory to electoral defeat, it was an extraordinary act of steely resolve. Or suicidal madness.
Under the Gillard leadership, Labor lost its parliamentary majority and then proceeded consistently to register the lowest primary vote on record.

And the only polling figures to shift in the past week beyond the margin of error was Gillard’s approval rating.
Yet the vote of 71 to 31 for Gillard suggests that Rudd, on net, has failed to win over any votes since last week. Even more remarkably, he has failed to win any votes since losing the leadership 20 months ago.

Some names have moved from one column to the other on the caucus voting lists, but, on a net basis, the caucus has shown itself to be deeply entrenched in defending Gillard.

This is a violation of one of the customary laws of leadership challenges – that the challenger carries momentum.

Mr. Hartcher’s trying to be fair where perhaps between the lines you can almost see him gritting his teeth. Something’s gone seriously wrong on the progressive side of politics, and this fiasco didn’t come close to fixing it.

Alone, Alone, Alone

Just so I’m making myself absolutely clear once more, I will not be voting for the ALP with Julia Gillard as the Prime Minister at the next Federal election. But I won’t be voting for the Libs or the Nats. I won’t even vote Green because they support Sea Shepherd. I won’t vote for an independent, without knowing what they stand for, but I don’t imagine I’ll find such an independent I can identify with.

It’s actually a lonely feeling to know this much, that I’ve cast myself adrift from all the mainstream options.  I’m all alone out here without an option.

So the Donkey is suddenly looking like an eminently respectable candidate.

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ALP In Spin Cycle Day 4

Ain’t Gettin’ It Done

It’s not entirely Kevin’s fault, but he’s not going to get it done tomorrow. he won’t have the numbers. Julia Gillard is looking smug so she probably knows what the vote number will be based on the factional bosses doing a headcount. That’s kind of that. I was swearing my head off about an hour ago, but that’s probably the anger phase of mourning. The fact of the matter is, the Australian public are not going to get their man back, no matter how much they support him through polls. His own party hate him even more.

In fact it’s being reported that some Labor MPs would rather be voted out at the next election than put Kevin back in the Lodge, so that explains the stodgy score line that really hasn’t moved in 3 days of speculating. They hate him so much like there’s no tomorrow; and quite frankly there won’t be too many tomorrows for the current ALP government. They will get tossed out at the next election no matter what. All this has done is to revive the emotions from the time Julia Gillard replaced Kevin Rudd. Clearly she is a better operator than Kevin Rudd, but her place in history won’t be as good as his thanks to her own government. It’s going to go down in flames.

At this point in time, I’ve decided I’ll brace for the inevitable Coalition win to come and years of living under the unscientific stupidity, willful ignorance, pathetic prejudice, and medieval mindset that is Tony Abbott. I don’t think I’m alone, with this dawning realisation. It’s a real shame it has come to this, and the ALP had better learn some thing from all this because the voters who supported Rudd and got burnt by Gillard are not going to be wooed back easily. As Mark Latham advised at the last Federal election, donkey voting may well be the best option. They got their minority government hung parliament for a reason last time. All this kerfuffle did was to remind us why we should dislike and despise Julia Gillard so much.

As Niccolo Machiavelli once pointed out, contempt is the most corrosive force to a leader’s standing. Let me just say my contempt runs deep for Julia Gillard and the current ALP faction bosses. If these MPs would prefer to lose office than see Kevin Rudd back, I am willing to help them out the door into the wilderness; and make no mistake, the ALP will be in the wilderness for a very long time after losing office this time. If an ALP party member should ever ask why I stopped voting, I will say, “your party broke faith with me first. You cannot un-fuck all that.”

I guess I’m pre-empting the vote tomorrow, but all indications are that Kevin Rudd hasn’t got the numbers. Simon Crean was smart in trying to nip it in the bud early. The unintended consequence is that it reminded me of my rage about the change in June 2010 and now I will never vote for the ALP as long as Julia Gillard is their leader.

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ALP In Spin Cycle Day 3

OMG Kev Is Still A Rock Star!

The newspaper headlines this morning were blaring out something that everybody knows. Kevin Rudd would trounce Tony Abbott. Polls also indicate people prefer Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard by a big margin. This much we suspected, and now we knew as of this morning’s reporting. Julia Gillard said this isn’t supposed to be like ‘Celebrity Survivor’, but neither is it supposed to be like the US Presidential election, nor is it meant to determine the future of Australia; well, maybe the last bit is true.

Slowly the idea seems to be cottoning on out there that if you put the past in brackets and not worry about the argy-bargy of today, what Monday’s spill is going to bring is the long term future outlook of the ALP – and lo and behold Anthony Albanese has declared he’ll pitch in behind Kevin Rudd. It wasn’t expected, but it was greatly welcomed by the Rudd camp. The point to be drawn from Albanese making his decision was that he probably got an ear full from his constituency that it had to be Rudd or else.

Or else what? They only had to point at the rabid Mr. Rabbit.

It’s pretty sobering for us punters as is; imagine what that’s like for a dyed-in-the-wool ALP man like Albanese? Who knows? Maybe Carmel Tebbutt had something to say after her near-loss of her seat at the last state election. The electorate were out to smash the ALP, and most of that public anger could be sheeted home to the incredibly unpopular, un-embrace-able, eminently dislike-able, thoroughly-contemptible Kristina “The Haircut’ Kenneally. Yes, Ms. Tebbutt probably had plenty of scars to show for the last campaign she went through, she must have said “ferfuxake Albo, bring back Kevin and be done with it!”

I don’t know. I’m just guessing. But how hard could it be to pick the leader? There are only 2 horses in the race; one very popular and one very unpopular. Urm… Ahh…. “Bueller!? Bueller?!”

A lot of people are telling me that they want Kevin back, and that they don’t really care if he yells at hosties or cabinet ministers; swears like a sailor in between takes for a video; goes to strip clubs; says really long words that is not in the common parlance or vernacular. They just want him back because it would be the right thing. Which makes Julia Gillard the wrong thing, no matter how she positions herself.

I’m now wondering how in the hell the faction bosses are going to rein in the impulse to jump ship from the Gillard-is-PM project. how viscerally do MPs feel this kind of thing? Is it like a punch to the nuts or a blowtorch to the eyeballs or just a good gut punch? Judging from Anthony Albanese’s strained, teary expression it might be a combination of all of the above. He looked pained. How are the backbenchers in the Gillard faction holding up? Especially those sitting on marginal seats? Isn’t this the coalface of the problem? It’s not Rudd’s fault they’re on marginal seats. It’s Rudd’s fault they lost their margin – if the stories about the leaks are to be believed. But if they then stick with Julia…

You get the feeling that the public are making themselves very clear. They want to be heard, and what they’re saying is bring back Kevin Rudd. It’s a remarkable turn of events.

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ALP In Spin Cycle Day 2

Kevin For President!

I watched Kevin Rudd’s press conference today. It was a remarkable performance. I didn’t expect to be roused by it, but it was quite the rousing gee-up. I don’t know if I should be surprised or not, after all Kevin Rudd in full flight is capable of some pretty emotive speechifying, and getting off the first plane back from Washington DC seemed like as good a time as any to launch into one of his special speechifying moments. He has a soaring kind of flare in his rhetoric and his perspective is decent and big.

It was also interesting because he worked backwards from a problematic like some Roman orator in the ancient Senate. The problem stems from the simple fact that the Opposition Leader is Tony Abbott – arch-conservative nutjob – and the nation might have to end up with Tony Abbott in the lodge, thanks mostly to Julia Gillard not winning. When you put it like that, it’s not just an emergency for Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd or any faction of the ALP, it’s freaking national emergency! And so, like Scipio or Pompey the Great, he’s promising to go vanquish the cultural barbarian (yes, Tony Abbott, that’s you) on behalf of all of us.

That’s why I’m here today, because I believe that to do the best for Australia and Labor, things have to change. It’s no secret that our government has a lot of work to do if it is to regain the confidence of the Australian people. Rightly or wrongly, Julia has lost the trust of the Australian people, and starting on Monday, I want to start restoring that trust. That’s why I’ve decided to contest the leadership of the Australian Labor Party, at the ballot in the caucus of the Australian Labor Party on Monday.

Well, my fellow Australians, that there is an announcement Kevin is running to be the first President of Australia. Of course, that’s not how our system works, so you wonder how effective this construction is, given that it is aimed squarely at Caucus.

If I might add at this juncture, a good many of this Caucus is in the Senate, so a good many of Caucus could rightly be called (or re-called) unrepresentative swill, for if they don’t vote for Kevin on Monday, they’re going against the will of the people. Stick that in your history books Nicola Roxon.

Until Kevin came out with his statement, I spent the morning quite morose because it was obvious by the deafening silence that Tony Abbott and his Liberal Party colleagues were just enjoying this in the glorious comfort of being totally uninvolved; and of course they are going to be the net beneficiaries of this ugly fracas. So, I was sitting there thinking “bloody hell, it’s going to be a Tony Abbott Liberal Government all because the Australian Labor Party would much rather have faction fights than do what’s right. This is a long way away from the days of Hawke-Keating, even though people are trying to use that as a model. Kevin Rudd says he won’t be challenging a second time:

Question: Mr Rudd if you lose on Monday how would you channel your passion for policy from the backbench?

Rudd: Well there’s a great tradition in politics in many countries for this being done. If you look at the older history of this country and various individuals have served as prime minister in one position or another they have continued to contribute in the public policy debate. Similarly in the United Kingdom they’ve done the same as well from the back bench or other positions on the front bench over time. I’m quite relaxed about that. What are my passions? Australia’s future in the world and how we carve out a future for a country such as ours in a very uncertain environment. Plenty of opportunities to shape the national debate on that. I’d also say I’m pretty passionate about my local community. My local community is something which means a lot to me. It’s where we have all had our being and it’s our place that we call home and we intend to stay there.

Question: If you go to the backbench would you rule out being drafted at some stage as opposed to challenging?

Rudd: I will go back to exactly to what I said before, I think it’s very clear-cut what I have said, I don’t propose to add to it.

Thus the point is, if any of the MPs are hoping for a second shot at a Rudd challenge to Julia Gillard in 6 months time, don’t bother. This is it. Monday is do-or-die for the party, thanks to Kevin Rudd, no, really thank you very much Kevin Rudd. Ouch.

So the reason you would vote for Julia Gillard is not because she did the stuff she did, but because you think she’s going to beat Tony Abbott. The reason to vote for Kevin is because he’s a better bet to beat Tony Abbott. If you put it that way, I can’t see why loyalty would mean so much that you’d lose your job over it. Dump Julia now!

Remember Obama vs. Clinton?

I’ll get hate mail again, but if I don’t say it, I’ll regret it. Here’s one from an ‘unreconstructed male chauvinist pigs’, to all the ‘unreconstructed male chauvinist pigs’ out there.

There’s been this asinine commentary that says Kevin Rudd’s no good with women. The nutshell version is that all the women in Caucus are supporting Gillard, therefore he must be shit with women. i.e he’s some kind of sexist shit.

If you think about it, it’s hard to imagine some of these women not lining up with Julia Gillard because Julia Gillard’s Prime Minister-ship represents the great feminist agenda come to fruition. Whatever her faults, she’s the pinnacle of that movement’s success. I cannot for the life of me imagine the likes of Kate Ellis, Nicola Roxon, Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek, Sharon Bird, and Jenny Macklin walking away from that Quota Affirmation agenda.

The other thing that should be noted is the spitfire barrage that came from Maxine McKew today. It doesn’t seem like Maxine had too much trouble working with Kevin Rudd – but hey Maxine McKew comes from the ABC where genuine meritocracy actually was the way things went. You sure don’t win a Walkley Award on the Quota Affirmation agenda. So Kate Ellis and Nicola Roxon – who have been vocally trashing Kevin Rudd in the press – can stick Maxine McKew’s resume in the objectivity pipe and have a good smoke. Ladies, it’s bad form to be playing the gender card and pretending it’s not on the table. If I played the race card that way, you’d seethe at it at every turn pointing at my genitals reminding me I’m male (which is the way all these discussions went in the 1980s and 1990s).

All of this brought back memories of the denouement of Hilary Clinton’s campaign to be the Democrat candidate for the Presidency back in 2008. She started as the front runner but slowly found herself falling behind the more charismatic Barack Obama, who in the end beat her by a long stretch. Afterward there were huge recriminations from the feminist camp about it, but the polling numbers simply said Obama being black and charismatic was more important than Clinton being white, female and not as charismatic.

I think we have exactly the same situation except Kevin Rudd isn’t black – instead, he’s an egghead from Queensland, which makes him a kind of minority all of its own. At the end of the day, what the 30% electoral support for Julia Gillard means is that the merits of Julia Gillard as seen by the feminists just isn’t translating to blokes or the unwashed masses in the middle and the manicured upper crust entitled. She might be the politically correct (and therefore ‘right’) candidate for the Canberra insiders, but that’s exactly her problem. The wider community just isn’t going to get that.

 

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The Tumbling Machine

And I have One More Thing To Say, Advance Australia Fair

What a day it’s been for politics. I’ve been pondering today what good would come of Kevin Rudd returning to the hot seat of Prime Minister. One wonders if he really will be an improvement on his former self. I know the plan is that he is trying to leverage his immense popularity in the electorate, but is he really going to be better than before? Will he even be better than Julia Gillard who can at least rightly claim she got a Carbon Tax and Mining Tax of some sort through. I might ave been a bit rash in selling Julia Gillard down the river last night. 24hours on, I’m trying to be a bit less knee-jerk, and more ‘ordinary jerk’ about all this.

The balance sheet would have it that Julia Gillard actually got some policy material underway and enacted handily in spite of her minority government. It is even conceivable she might have been able to do even more had Kevin Rudd not sabotaged hr election campaign and turned this parliament into the mess that it is now. Even then, I sort of think the only reason it came to that pass was directly because of the manner in which she rose to her office; but I have to put that out of my mind. Has Julia Gillard’s performance as a Prime Minister been that bad? My brain says no, my heart says yes.

It won’t matter. We don’t get to vote – the ALP Caucus does. Peter Hartcher made the funny observation that the MPs get to decide whether they want to work for a bad boss or face unemployment. It’s a terrible choice that many Australians get to face. When I think about the fact that it is Tony Abbott lurking out there hoping to cash in on this fracas, then I want the ALP to pick who ever they think they can win with; not whoever they think they can live with as PM. That still means Kevin Rudd, and he told us so himself in his press conference.

We sure live in interesting times, that’s for sure.

 

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The ALP Tosses Itself Into A Washing Machine

What A Mess

It’s a good a time as any to come back and write something here, now that Kevin Rudd has tipped his hand and resigned as Foreign Minister. I’ve been gingerly watching this saga of Rudd vs. Gillard unfold for some weeks now as incessant reporting made out the picture the Rudd’s challenge was imminent and immanent. I just figured that the election in Queensland was enough of a sideshow that Kevin Rudd would have his hands full being helpful up there that this challenge would not come for a good few weeks. As they say, a week is a long time in politics and now it’s all on.

Long time readers of this blog know that in the balance of things I’m probably leaning to the centre-right of the ALP in policy issues, which means my horse in this rate ought to be Julia Gillard backed by the likes of Bill Shorten and Simon Crean. Except it’s not. I vowed I wouldn’t vote for her in protest of the manner in which Kevin Rudd’s prime minister ship was cut down mid-strream. I’m sorry, but I have principles. I have spine. And so I voted Greens for the lower house and the Sex Party for the Senate, largely in protest. I’ve written this before but Kristina Kenneally and Julia Gillard represent a certain kind of quota-driven politics that elevates mediocrity dressed as elites.

While Kevin Rudd might not have been my preferred Labor leader, the ‘coup’ (as the SMH calls it), essentially highlighted what a bunch of conniving bastards the ALP power-brokers were – and for heaven’s sakes these bastards have never apologised for it. So there’s something in me that approves of Kevin Rudd trying to have another shot at office, even if it gets really messy.

I’ve been searching my feelings about how I feel about Julia Gillard but all I come up with is a blank. Kevin Rudd might not be everything I’d want in the PM – he’s no Gough, Bob or Paul – but there’s something critically lacking in Julia Gillard (and no, it’s not a penis or a pair of testicles). I’ve been told she does committee well, and policy has been sound, but it’s essentially a Prime Minister-hood that started in connivance and conspiracy; and both the nature of her rise to office and the manner have constantly cast a dark shadow over her work. It’s a weird thing to say but she has the same lack of moral authority that say, George W. Bush had when he came to office in the USA in 2000. Just as the sense of dodginess never left Dubbya’s side, the ‘coup’ has stayed wit Julia Gillard.

Everything that her time in office has accomplished has been compromised by the lack of moral authority, which in turn caused the election result of a hung Parliament which made her enact policies she promised she would not do and made her look even dodgy. Which is what a lack of moral authority on a politician can do for you. It is exactly like that joke, “You fuck one goat”. In her case, her goat is coming back mighty angry,bearing a grudge, claiming it was rape.

I understand that in Canberra, Kevin Rudd has been seen as the terrible outsider hijacking the ALP, but from outside of the political sphere, it simply looks like the ALP drifted off into the land of self-interest and forgot public interest until Kevin Rudd came along and said it was important again. Even if I don’t agree with everything he says or does, it wasn’t as if Kevin Rudd was not a good Labor leader in his time. It is also entirely self-evident to the people outside of Canberra that Julia Gillard has been at best a mediocre leader, and it does not matter one bit how good her policy work has been. She’s been compromised and then went on and compromised herself further.

And this is what is really interesting about these two people and the ALP. While questions of performance might actually be of value in understanding and assessing Kevin Rudd’s place in our polity, with Julia Gillard these questions are moot because her own integrity got severely compromised on the very day she came to office. It begs the question, was it really worth it to Julia Gillard, to squander so much, to be Prime Minister? Stranger still, it seems the ALP cannot get to its future without having this stoush. So this is it. Like it or lump it, the ALP has to have this leadership challenge. As ugly as it’s going to get, this is their destiny.

It raises even more questions too.

  • For instance if the point of the Centre Right and the vaunted NSW Centre Right was to win at all costs, then how can they justify sticking with Julia Gillard with her bad polls?
  • If Kevin Rudd is so bad for the ALP, then why don’t they just kick him out than suffer this leadership tussle?
  • And if they aren’t kicking out Kevin Rudd, doesn’t sort of mean that the various factions are essentially just grubby little interest groups pushing their self-interest agendas? Isn’t that exactly what the Liberal Party is, except with different paymasters? When is principle going to come into any of this?
  • And if they do bury Kevin Rudd this time and chuck him to the gutters, you have to ask yourself what the hell is going on with the ALP that it has burnt through two leaders – Kevin Rudd AND Mark Latham – to keep pushing these self interest agendas?
  • Even if she survives this spill, will winning this spill give Julia Gillard any bounce in the polls? The electorate is not warming to this PM.

I don’t think I’m being all that cynical in asking those questions. Inquiring minds would want to know the honest answers to those questions from ‘the faceless men’. I kind of held my tongue and stayed my pen this early part of the year because I thought I should give Julia Gillard a fair crack of the whip but the more I think about it, I can’t see how the ALP can’t go back to Kevin Rudd and hit the polls. Unless they really want to be in opposition for another 10 years. I guess for the insiders, this is a terrible choice, but …don’t they want to win? Or can they really hate Kevin that much?

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