Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ivan the Terrible and Chairman Mao

The headline on the front page of Saturdays 'Age' was awkward, but made it's point:

'MADAM 31%'

Revealing both that;

a) Prime Minister Julia Gillard's personal approval rating has sunk to a disastrous level and

b) Newspaper copy writers still haven't quite gotten the hang of how to deal with a woman in the top job. I mean, 'Madam 31%'? Come on fellas!

The same report also had Labor's primary vote as 27% and catalogued some of the problems that have beset the Government and lead to such a disastrous, historically low, polling position (they couldn't have printed a comprehensive list of these problems, so extensive are they, and still have left room for any other news).

A short summary of these; Labor's muddled handling of both the asylum seeker and climate change issues, a growing perception that the Government stands for nothing and Gillard's own increasingly ragged performance as leader.

Looked at in conjunction; horrendously low poll numbers and serious problems in both policy and personality terms, the Federal Government appears to be f*cked at this time. While it may be two years or therebaouts to the next election - a long time in other words - the numbers appear to be so bad and Labor's plight so grim that nothing short of a nuclear attack by Indonesia, allowing the Government to sieze unlimited 'emergency powers,' would seem capable of saving it from electoral oblivion.

Things are so bad, in fact, that certain 'unnamed sources' within the Federal ALP appear to be thinking about reactivitating the Ruddbot. Which must have come as news to those others in the Federal ALP who did this to him last year:

'Didn't we kill him? We killed him! WE MELTED HIM DOWN!'

Hell, I guess even Arnie showed up again in 'Terminator 3.'

And, in one sense, I guess you can understand why people would start looking at other, non-Gillard options. I mean, Rudd was cashiered in the first place for leading Labor into a 'disastrous' position in the polls: primary vote of around 35% and dead even, or thereabouts, on the two party preferred. A position, in other words, that today would present a remarkable recovery, assuming Gillard were able to lead her party back to that position.

But, looked at in a different sense, going back to the Ruddbot makes no sense at all and would be, in fact, completely fucking barmy. I mean this is the guy who turned the comfortable electoral victory and buffer in 2007 into the mind bending policy/personality crisis that Labor are suffering from at the moment in the first place.

All of the major policy problems that are afflicting Labor at the moment; a convoluted approach to refugees, increasingly desperate policy on carbon pricing and accusations of waste and inefficiency in Government spending, all started on Rudd's watch. His predecessor has simply lacked the ability to come up with credible alternatives and reverse course.

And this is to say nothing of Rudd's personality and management stylings, which were somewhere between Ivan the Terrible and Chairman Mao on a bad brain day. To say that he was unloved by his cabinet colleagues (as well as wait staff around the country) is to put it mildly.

All of which leaves the ALP in the shit house federally, stuck between a current leader who appears to alienate the electorate more every time she opens her mouth, and a previous leader who most of them can't stand to be in the same room with. And all the time, those poll numbers steadily getting worse.

Which makes things interesting for Tony 'Action Man' Abbott, who would certainly win an election if held now but who appears to be resigned to being stuck in a holding pattern for the next two years. And two years is a long time for someone like The Action Man to hold himself together.... and a very long time for Abbott's colleagues to fret that he won't be able to.

For the only thing appearing to stand between the Liberal Party and a return to Government, apart from the passage of time, is that their leader will have some sort of fatal meltdown. You know the sort of thing; suddenly give that famous death stare of his to a little kid who accidentally bumps into him in a shopping centre, or suddenly declaring on Radio National that all unwed mothers should be placed in some sort of work camp system.

Unlikely perhaps, but not totally beyond the realms of possibility (based on previous form). And it is this one factor alone that the Labor Party faithful (all 14 of them)
will be clinging to during this dark time. That Abbott may blow up and thusly resurrect their fortunes.

The Opposition Leader, oddly, then finds himself in much the same position as Kevin Rudd was after that famous victory in 2007. And viewed in much the same way by his opponents. Despite the current poll numbers, they have fingers crossed his well known character flaws may yet do for him in the end.


  1. lolz to your T2 reference.

    Something you might find amusing: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/22/3250882.htm?section=justin

    I get to spend a day at Parliament House with Minister Ferguson in month or so. Including time in the advisors box, on the floor, during question time! Awesome or what?!

  2. Very nice sir! I look forward to hearing the inside details of that! And I hear that Parliament can get quite boozy, once the Parliamentary bar is open...