My very conventional view – backed by a synthesis of recent polls – is that the Coalition will win the forthcoming Federal election easily. That isn’t surprising but it does raise the question of what Labor gained by replacing Julia Gillard with Kevin Rudd. Fewer Labor seats will be lost but my guess is that having what I see as a decent person (Gillard) replaced by a garrulous, contentless failure (Rudd) will impose ongoing problems for Labor. Labor does need a dose of Malcolm Turnbull-style intelligence. I cannot see what the electorate seem to have greater affection for Rudd beyond the fact that Labor will be less devastated electorally under Rudd – it is a puzzle because, with the exception of John Quiggin, no-one I knows cares much for Rudd. I am not denying the opinion polls but saying that I don’t intersect much with the group who do like Rudd. Where are you? Who are you?
Labor needs a longer-term revival and presumably it knows that. Switching leaders from Gillard to Rudd is a diversion from the core task of party reform. The power and patronage politics must end and the disgracefully high levels of corruption at the centre of the party need to end. Ex trade union hacks should not comprise the core of the Labor Party . Indeed a good start would be for the party to change the party name to remove any thought that it is directly linked to the union movement. Stupid workplace practices are stifling Australia and disadvantaging its workforce. The Labor party simply needs to represent all those in the community who seek economic prosperity with social justice. My hope is that that would be most Australians. The “prosperity with justice” slogan is almost a cliche but turning that into a political program with substance requires the sort of considered intelligence that Kevin Rudd lacks. It also requires a social democratic vision that is a long way removed from the party of Kevin Rudd and Eddie Obeid.
I have to say that after watching the uninspiring debate between the leaders last night – I ranked it as a nil all draw – that we do need something in the way of a revolutionary change in Australian politics that goes beyond the well-deserved boot up the backside of Labor. Cliche and waffle from both political leaders are not enough. The Labor Party has a long way to go but the Coalition also look uninspired and tired.
Update: This article in The Guardian matches my views on the debate. How dare this pair of clots offer themselves to intelligent Australians? The writer identifies a key new Ruddism that I also noticed – horizontal hand meets outstretched vertical hand to suggest there is some thought behind a vacuous, evasive remark. The writer also identifies one point that Abbott had in his favour during the debate – he knew when to shut-up. Rudd keep droning on with cliche after cliche when it was painfully obvious that he was evading the answer and offering only verbiage. Rudd really is a dope – I agree.