I’ve just read through Kevin Rudd’s latest essay. My second exposure to the statistically prolific Rudd in writing – well, third if you count his recent blog on Climate Change. I have to admit that as with his February essay in The Monthly, I skimmed the final two ‘chapters’ having been worn down by the rhetoric, self-promotion and simple overload of data.
A few points which I extracted from the treatise:
- I find myself objecting to the allusion by Rudd that his government – and it’s by implication, not direct claim – the his government is centrist, while that which he took over from was clearly one of the Neo-Liberalist cabal. His government is NOT centrist, anymore than Howard’s was Neo-Liberalist. The Howard government was conservative. Right-wing conservative created in the character and ethos of Howard himself, by Howard. Rudd’s government is left-of-centre, while Rudd himself is right of centre. Rudd is attempting to create a centrist party styled upon his own ideology and belief patterns, with an understanding that factional elements within his party are always going to be pushing back. Good thing? Bad thing? A party and ideology in turmoil perhaps, but one which recognises the need to keep differences in check for the greater good. Not of Australians, but of the party itself in government. Something which can’t be said of the alternative government at the moment, although I believe that if Turnbull can feed his inner bastard and let it loose when necessary, he has the potential to shape a viable alternative.
- Rudd’s essay is an attempt at garnering attention in the wake of his enemies disorder. In the early part of the essay, I gained a strong impression of ‘Jack Horner’. Rudd is pointing to the advice given his government by Treasury and the RBA, to “go early and go hard” on the economic stimulus, which is what the government did starting late 2008. Credit to them for actually listening and taking note of that advice, which is something their predecessors didn’t indulge in a whole lot. That single point aside, the bulk of the essay tends to state the bleeding obvious, padded with data and a whole lot of ‘look-at-me’ entreaties.
- There is a warning in the text of hard times to come, but it’s vague. We’re not out of the woods yet, unemployment will go higher, productivity is the key and we need to be ‘shovel-ready’ and all that sort of rhetoric. That’s what it is, rhetoric. Nothing substantial, yet not exactly boogey-man tactics either. Anyone who stops to consider the flow of events in past recessions will know the road back from public spending adventures in support of economic recovery is always long, full of bends, curves, ups and downs. All the Rudd essay does is put into text what he’s been stating as sound bites
In brief, a long-winded exercise in self-promotion, a mate-ish arm around the shoulder, a nod& wink and a “she’ll_be_right_mate_if_we_all_pitch_in” salve to the collective conscience of Australian voters. To all intents, we’re half way through the first term. They may go early in 2010, if the political climate [change?] proves beneficial, but I’m now starting to think not. Turnbull is smarter than most of his cohort, but much hinges on his inner bastard. Rudd’s has always been out & on show. It was only taking a break when he wrote this latest blurb.