Apr 072011

ABC’s Q&A program, Monday night. That’s where it all happened. Where Kevin apparently broke with ‘Cabinet Solidarity’ according to some.

I watched the show – something I haven’t done on a week-in-week-out basis this season because the quality of panels hasn’t been attractive to me – specifically because Rudd was on, as well as the US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich who I’ve seen speak before & thought quite intelligent. A change for US Ambassadors over the past decade. The hour however, belonged to Rudd. As foreign minister all the queries about Libya were aimed at him, as with the questions about the NSW election debacle for Labor and the inevitable asylum seeker question. But it was the ETS question – “In the light of the current acrimonious debate over a carbon price, do you regret that decision?” – that opened the door for all the castigation from within the party, and all the supposition, innuendo and plain irrationality from commentators across the spectrum.
Everyone, it seems, is doing it. Creating fantasy situations in which Kevin rolls Julia and resumes the stolen throne of party leadership and Prime Minister. Or, as Clark & Dawe implied this evening, where Kevin takes to Billy Shorten with Draino and a toilet plunger. Amusing, but that’s all it is. I noted today Peter Brent in The Australian having an each way bet on a Rudd comeback. Greg Sheridan, no friend to Labor when he’s asleep, let alone awake, having a mischievous pretend-punt while poking his own unique brand of fun at Labor. I’m in agreement with Sheridan, although not for the same reasons and certainly not with the same tongue in cheek disregard. I genuinely believe Rudd performed masterfully, but more on that in a moment.

There is no move to dump Gillard as leader. But Rudd has made it absolutely clear he’s fit, tanned and ready, should circumstances change. Stranger things have happened.

Yes indeed Gregory, stranger things have happened. But I have to say Kevin Rudd making a comeback within his lifetime to the big chair, with even half of the current ALP crew still in place, would be an achievement more worthy of record than transmutation of lead into gold. Ain’t ever gonna happen. So why are these pundits along with many others among the great unwashed observer corp making these wild goose claims? Because the the incumbent PM isn’t doing all that well, and she DID cut the political head off her predecessor to get there. There aren’t many voters, of any political stripe, who think fondly of what Labor did to the man who brought them back from a long, cold political winter of discontent. She’s not MY Prime Minister and the party she leads is NOT my party. MY Labor party wouldn’t panic in the face of polls, or prevaricate over an issue it’s parliamentary leader had correctly identified as the “greatest moral challenge of our time”. A moral challenge, not a political challenge. The only challenge that existed politically in regard to the now scrapped ETS, was when to pull the double dissolution trigger. Not if, but when.
Masterful I’ve called Rudd’s performance on Monday night, and masterful it certainly was. He knew exactly where all the mines were laid and adroitly side-stepped every single one. All while firing from the hip, on the run, without missing his targets. We all know who said what to whom on that night in June 2010. We know it was Gillard & Swan who agitated strongest for complete abolition of the Rudd ETS. We know it was Wong & Combet who argued loudest for it’s retention. We all know it was Kevin Rudd who allowed himself to be surrounded and stabbed by the conspirators, frightened by the polls, the focus groups and the number-crunchers. I’d always thought Kevin was more of a conviction politician than an assassinated emperor, but I was wrong. Like Kevin, I acknowledge my mistakes in that regard. It seems he was shallower, has less courage and is much more easily swayed by the factions than I’d been led – by him – to believe. So, no….I’m not a sly but cheeky game player like Sheridan, nor will I have a dollar each way like Peter Brent. Kevin Rudd will not be back. However, don’t expect Kevin Rudd to walk quietly & dejectedly off stage because the director(s) decided on a re-write midstream. He won’t, and neither should he in my view. He was stabbed in the dark by those without the gonads to front him personally and tell him he was wrong, and why. Gutless Gumby’s who knew full well Rudd holds the party’s ideals higher than his own political ambition, and wouldn’t contest a leadership ballot. Julius Caesar and Kevin Rudd have a lot in common.
So…..’Cabinet Solidarity’?? Bollocks! I asked Greg Jericho (@grogsgamut) last night when I noted he was expressing the standard ALP internal line….

So here’s a tip Kevin. If you think the record is ever wrong on your Prime Ministership, start your response to the journalists with this line:
Everything that went wrong during my Prime Ministership was my fault.
And then walk away. You may not like saying it. You may think it completely wrong. But it the price of admission for staying as Foreign Minister. Decide quickly whether you’re prepared to pay it, because the ALP can’t afford the cost of you carrying on like the world owes you something. You were Prime Minister. Show some dignity.

…. whether he thought Rudd wasn’t entitled to protect his political legacy. He replied ‘Nope. Cabinet Solidarity’. Cabinet Solidarity? Really? If you’re standing at the urinal on a Friday night, Greg, and your mate next to you decides to deliberately piss on your pants leg because he didn’t like something you did at work that day, do you tell him, ‘yeh yeh, I know I was wrong, so keep on pissing’?? Maybe you would, Greg, I don’t know you, but I know your writing and what you wrote yesterday isn’t really you. You’re a lot more circumspect. I’m surprised. Really.
Cabinet solidarity?? No such animal. No contravention occurred and there exists no compulsion on Rudd to STFU about what other’s did to him, and continue to do to his legacy. Rudd was right to do what he did Monday night. He was surgically and pointedly accurate. He said nothing new, he identified no-one. He did, however, state his case, ensure we all got the message and understood precisely where he stood on the issue. He’s not going to walk off stage and maybe the director’s assistant should have hooked him stage left on Tuesday, but she didn’t. Damned if she did, but double damned because she didn’t. Just another example of the gutlessness of the ALP currently holding the title of government. Not MY Labor party. Not the party I grew up respecting and certainly not the party I helped to elect in 2007.

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