The Greens are backed by idealism and all the energy of youth. Now they are sanctified by a formal alliance with a minority Labor government. The alliance confers legitimacy on a political force whose central strategic purpose is the elimination of Labor as the alternative to mainstream conservatism—a mission made easier by Labor’s redefining of itself as a party to the right of centre. It is remarkable that Labor is referred to without challenge by friend and foe alike as a ‘brand’. Not a project, not a mission. ‘If we are not a crusade we are nothing,’ once declared Harold Wilson of UK Labour. Australian Labor is not a crusade; Labor is what it is: the rhetoric of the hour, words for the moment when only words will do.
Ah, Australian Politics: you deserve prettier actors, a soundtrack, and more sex.
Secure in her numbers, Julia Gillard has called a ballot for the leadership of the country, while overseas, Kevin Rudd flies home to figure it out. The day before, Rudd made a statement about not sneaking up and assassinating a leader elected by the public, never pausing to acknowledge that the Australian public has no power or control over who is the Prime Minister. The vote on Monday is nothing the Australian public has a say in either--cut off from any real power, the people of Australia now get to watch the Right of the Labor Party roll Rudd into a sack and dump him in a river, somewhere out with the Irish on the backbench. But ah well. Australia has always long said people can make a choice who leads the country, and if you speak a lie strong enough, it will eventually be seen as a truth.
A part of me believes that, if Rudd had any sense of good revenge, he would return to Australia and simply take what he could of the Labor Party and form a new political party, fucking over Labor and the centrist right that has taken control of it. A new party wouldn't be any more electable than Labor is right now, but if you want to get even at the people who betrayed you, took away your job, and left you as the only first term Prime Minister to never sit a full term... well, if you were still smarting at that, it would be worth a go. To a degree, you have to believe that Rudd has a touch of that in him, especially given the way things are falling now. It does not appear as if he can win leadership of the party, again. He is, by all accounts, like by a minority within the party, and only a large part of Australia, who resent the earlier assassination, or have grown tired of Gillard and her leadership--but as I said, the last group have no actual part in the vote.
Much of the national Labor Party right now reminds me of the NSW Labor Party, leading up to its huge loss, where Barry O'Farrell simply had to not eat a live baby on TV and say something like, "I hate all black people but enjoy being fucked up the ass by a huge black dildo." That's literally the only way the Coalition would have lost. Right now, it's the only way Tony Abbot will not be the leader of the country next. He might have to eat two babies and take two black dildos in a rare display of double penetration. But otherwise, he's pretty set. He keeps low, hangs back, lets Labor destroy itself, and practices being nice to women in a mirror.
It's sad, really. There was a moment there where Julia Gillard could have stepped up and been a hugely inspirational leader, could have done so much for the rights of women, for being an atheist, for being a supporter of a republic. But she has been weak: controlled by the Right in Labor, unable (and perhaps unwilling) to support gay marriage, tax miners, and simply present herself strongly, she has mostly been the puppet of her backers, an empty vacuum that they have been able to pour their beliefs and ideas into. It is, as I say, a real shame, but then neither is it surprising.
As a small note to leave this post on, if Australia did get a vote on Gillard or Rudd, I would vote for neither. I wouldn't vote for Abbott, either, and I wouldn't vote for any party that passed a vote on to any of these people.
Which is good, because I don't vote. I have long stated that an important part of democracy is not just the ability to vote, but also to have the ability not to vote. As much as events like this fascinate me and interest me, they do not change my opinion about the current state of our Capitalist democracy, not even if there was more sex, prettier people, and a soundtrack with bands that I liked.