Sideshow – Kevin and Julia. Main Bout coming soon.

Posted: June 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” 

Nelson Mandela

For me, politics has always been about ideas. Whose ideas do I agee with; whose ideas will be workable. I point this out because – in this age of social media – I’ve more than once been dismissed as being a latte-sipping lefty as though such people have no right to an opinion or a voice. Some people may approach politics as though do football: “I support the Sydney Snakes and I’ll continue to support them for the rest of my life.”

So, the events of the past week have disturbed me greatly. Not because Rudd has been “rewarded for disloyalty” or because Gillard has been treated unfairly. It’s been the continuation of the cult of personality which I think is detrimental to whole political process.

It seems to me that Abbott is nasty, vicious man. I don’t know for sure. That’s just the impression I’ve gained from comments like this one:

“So I got into the ring, determined to hit my opponent harder and more often than he could possibly hit me. I went out like a whirling dervish, kept hitting him again and again and again with just a left, right, succession. And then I got him this magnificent left upper cut and he seemed to go up in the air, across the ring and almost through the ropes. As I said, I could hardly believe it then and I can still hardly believe it. But it certainly made for a spectacular end to the Blue’s boxing match that year.”

He seems to approach politics in much the same way. But that’s not the main reason I know that I won’t be voting for him. It’s his policies that I’m opposed to. Within reasonable limits, it doesn’t matter what he’s like as a person, it’s what he’ll do that matters.

And so, to read some of the comments from SUPPORTERS of the various sides (even the terminology resembles football) disturbs me. I’m not talking about the tributes to Gillard. I’m not talking about the fistpumping from those who are buoyed by the bounce in the opinion polls. I’m talking about the denegration of Labor leaders from people who are clearly Labor supporters through and through.

Yes, Rudd probably did sabotage Gillard. Yes, Gillard did knock Rudd off three years ago. That’s politics. Perhaps, Rudd has been more sneaky about than most. Then again, the fact that everyone seems to know about his efforts may mean that he’s been more open than most.

But as for whether it was the “Gillard camp” who leaked stuff about Rudd and whether that was justified because the “Rudd camp” had been undermining her, which, of course, was justified because Gillard stabbed him in the back which was justified because he was going to lose, but hang on, how do we know he was going to lose…

I remember something I heard a very intelligent man once say: “The world is full of justified people!” I’m sure that the Rudd supporters can justify him challenging after he said he wouldn’t; I’m sure that Gillard supporters can justify attacking Rudd at every opportunity. But I can’t understand someone spending five hundred words denigrating Gillard, unless the actual hope is to turn them off voting Labor. I can’t understand undermining Rudd – “Well, isn’t that what he did? We’re justified!”

The question is: What do you want to happen? Forget the past for a moment, what ideas do you want to prevail? Abbott’s slogans, or the past seven years of Government? If Rudd supporters think we need to be told about Gillard’s faults – why, isn’t she gone? If Gillard supporters think we need to be told of Rudd’s faults – don’t worry the media have already started doing that.

Well done, Julia. Good luck, Kevin. Let’s move forward.

  1. I agree with your starting point. Politics SHOULD be about ideas not personalities. The fact that it has become increasingly focused on (Leaders’) personalities ahead of policies is to a large extent a function of the shift adopted by both major parties towards a ‘presidential’ style of politics which they seem to believe is in their own best interests. How often have we heard both Gillard and Rudd speak of MY government, MY policies, what I intend to do, what I have done etc etc. Of course the media swallow it whole and the public like it as politics becomes no more complicated than which LEADER do I LIKE. Is SHE a Liar? Is HE an egomaniac, snake in the grass? Does HE hate women? etc etc. This being the case, much as I dislike it personality politics is with us to stay.

    To me the whole saga of Rudd and Gillard is more interesting for what it might reveal about the underlying dynamics of the Labor Party. The factions were heavily involved in replacing Rudd with Gillard. Rudd is as I understand not a part of any Party faction? Gillard however was backed by “factional heavyweights” Bill Shorten (Labor Unity, AWU) and Senator David Feeney, (Labor Unity, TWU) who secured the support of “New South Wales right power broker” Mark Arbib Leader of NSW Right faction) and that Feeney and Arbib went to discuss a challenge with Gillard on the morning of 23 June and a final numbers count began for a challenge. The right wing of the ALP hated Rudd and as soon as he had sufficiently alienated his colleagues and the polls began to turn against him they got rid of him. The above probably also explains much about why Gillard would support shoe-horning the conservative Feeney into retiring former Minister Martin Ferguson’s (Labor Unity) safe Labor seat of Batman. Gillard needed to do what her backers demanded. The faction wants its man securely placed in the Federal Lower House and it looks like they will get it. It will be interesting to see whether Rudd changes this position.

    The fact that they could even contemplate replacing Rudd in this manner demonstrates the yawning chasm between internal ALP perceptions and public perceptions of the nature of politics. Is there a relevance problem here? The right wing of the Party who (presumably) in best ‘ Mafia-Don’ style made Gillard an offer she couldn’t refuse effectively kneecapped the Gillard government from the beginning and simultaneously sacrificed Gillard’s political career although the contract had (as later became apparent) three tumultuous years to run. Interestingly they also played a role in ending Arbib’s career and severely compromising Shorten’s at the same time. An all-round masterstroke. Can we expect more of the same? You betcha. Nothing has changed.

  2. Whilst moving on is a good thing, I don’t think it is entirely possible to separate character from policies. I certainly prefer empty words that I agree with to empty words that I don’t, but until politicians live up to their own oft-stated ideals, then all we will have are lofty words, and lies, blowing about in the wind. For society to really change, for justice and truth to really prevail, then that change has to occur at ALL levels, including the individual one. Then maybe laws designed to create equity and justice, to promote social harmony and fairness will have some real grit and sticking power.

  3. […] Sideshow – Kevin and Julia. Main Bout coming soon.. […]

  4. Dagney J. Taggart says:

    Good article. We seem to be moving down the road towards the American political personality cult style Presidential elections. The Prime Minister is simply the leader of the majority party. But of course it is easier for the media to dumb things down, to reduce a party to a single person.

  5. eleanawi says:

    I’m not too bothered by personalities, but character is important, as is ability. If a Party has some good ideas, but no ability to implement them, what is the good of that. If a Party has some good ideas, but it’s leader is of bad character, then I’m not interested in their ideas.

  6. chris gould says:

    When did the word LEADER become the only word we seem to prefer in polliespeak? (I think it is about the same time that countries became economies.) It always reminds me of the Furher and all the connotations of that. Maybe the language itself has influenced the way we think about our politicians. Also who of us would want to be judged on our personalities and personal flaws. Not desirable at all. Surely it is easier to argue and justify a well thought out policy than explain any thing about one’s inner world.

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