It’s nasty. It’s dirty. And despite Attorney-General Nicola Roxon’s political speak, Monday’s leadership challenge will not be the end of it, no matter which contestant triumphs. In a valiant effort to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted, Roxon is now calling for everyone to get behind whoever wins. Yes. I can see that happening. They’ve all demonstrated their capacity to focus on the big picture, haven’t they?
We are witnessing a clash of egos. It’s likely that anyone who seeks to lead a government is going to need exceptional self-belief and both Gillard and Rudd have demonstrated they’ve got it in spades. Remember Gillard announcing Rudd’s ousting with the revelation that the government had lost its way and she was the messiah who was going to get it and the country back on track?
Then this week we have Rudd telling us that only he can save us from an Abbott-led coalition government, to which Roxon responded that we ought to stop being fanciful about messianic rescuers. Of course she didn’t add, only if they were Rudd.
Neither of the contestants is messianic. They’re both more than a little shabby, and tainted by circumstances of their own making. If anyone is depending on either of them to save the country from Tony Abbott, they’re going to be very disappointed.
There’s a monumental battle going on to claim the high moral ground, when it ought to be about good governance. The level of vitriol directed at Rudd by Wayne Swan, Simon Crean and others is alarming: suppose Rudd does win tomorrow, or at later date, how are they going to work with him? Have they all forgotten why they were elected? Man up, people. Stop whining about the demon Rudd and get on with your jobs. The world is full of people who don’t get on with their bosses. Most of them have to just suck it up.
This can’t be the first government to endure serious tensions, but they usually don’t get into this disgraceful self-eviscerating state about them.
As if that isn’t enough, the populace by far prefers Rudd to both Gillard and Abbott. It’s a reckless politician that denies the popular will, especially with this history behind it.
The overthrow of Rudd was bound to end in tears. What a pity those who dreamed up that scheme lacked the foresight to predict it’s inevitably long-lasting and complex repercussions. There seems to be an alarming disconnect between the government and the people, one that began when Rudd was ousted without much explanation. It’s a bit late now to wash that dirty linen, and it also looks rather after the fact.
Gillard may well be more capable of facilitating the daily business of governing the country than Rudd proved to be. Rudd may well be streets ahead in popularity, and perhaps this does indicate he stands a better chance against Abbott in 2013. That depends on what he does between now and then, should he win tomorrow. If his return to the leadership causes widespread revolt and ministerial resignations that’s only going to play into Abbott’s hands. This doesn’t augur well for Roxon’s preferred solution, and as she has already stated that if Rudd offered her a portfolio she wouldn’t accept it, one has to wonder just what she’s on about. While Rudd may be difficult, some of the others don’t sound so straightforward either. They also sound a long way from making the best of it and getting behind whoever wins.
This morning Education Minister Peter Garrett announced he wouldn’t work in a Rudd government. Who do these people think they are? Elected representatives, that’s who they are, and they aren’t elected to refuse portfolios.
If Gillard is returned, she and her camp can be accused of yet again ignoring the will of the people, who’ve demonstrated in the polls they want Rudd back, and more, didn’t want him thrown out in the first place. Somehow, Gillard will have to turn around those who are resentful, feel cheated, and don’t want her as leader when it comes time to fight the next election. One can imagine how Abbott will use this “denial of the will of the people” narrative against the ALP.
The only winner of tomorrow’s contest is likely to be Abbott, I fear. Serves the ALP right, I also fear. But pity the poor punters. We’re the victims in this farce. Not Rudd. Not Gillard. Not any of those precious pollies who just couldn’t find a way to work with their boss. They should have tried harder, shouldn’t they? Because they are probably going to pay the ultimate price for ousting him when they become the opposition in 2013.
This is truly a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.