How can the Australian Labor Party stop being such a pathetic bunch of losers?
Some people think this is quite an important question, but more intelligent people who read bigger books and watch East West 101 realise that in fact it is a very stupid question, because it assumes facts not in evidence. What proof do we have that the ALP are a pathetic bunch of losers, after all? And if you say, "heaps", well, what proof do we have that you’re not a liar? None.
It’s very similar to the old classic "Have you stopped beating your wife?" or "When did you first develop a sexual attraction to cats?" It’s just not fair to demand that the Labor Party find solutions to its horrible problems without first establishing that these problems exist — if they wanted to deal with problems that don’t exist, they would have joined the Greens.
So, why do we think the Labor Party’s shot? Why do we think it’s knackered? Why do we think it’s been sodomised by fate and stood up at the movies by history? Have we all been conned by the mainstream media, and by the mainstream media I mean Barrie Cassidy? Let’s look at the facts.
The facts are that the Labor government was elected by the Australian people in 2007 on a platform of being wonderful and putting John Howard’s head on a pike. Those were marvellous days, as we watched Kevin Rudd travel the country on his Steam Engine of Hope, voice booming, telling us of a better tomorrow full of solar power, hyper-intelligent children, and vast plantations of fresh refugees ripe for the picking.
Now, some will say that that tomorrow has not come to fruition. Some will say that that tomorrow has not even come close to fruition. Some will say that I made all that up and it’s stupid. Typical Canberra insiders.
There is an old saying that goes, "Rome wasn’t built in a day". It’s a saying that is both true — Rome wasn’t built in a day, according to current archaeological theory — and inclusive of deep wisdom. Not only was Rome NOT built in a day, it SHOULDN’T be built in a day. Imagine how rubbish a city built in a day would be. The plumbing would be shoddy. The railways would be death traps. The football team would be lacking in tradition.
Is that the kind of government we want? A cheap, rushed, allen-key assembled bit of tat? Wouldn’t we rather a government that took its time, that mulled over all the options, that underwent slow methodical processes, that sat down with industry and worked through issues and consulted with stakeholders and held inquiries and commissioned reviews and looked at things from all sides and stopped occasionally to have a bath and treat itself to an apple pie and allowed the committee process to run its course and avoided jumping to conclusions before the independent commission had reported and took four weeks’ holiday each year in Vanuatu to recharge the batteries and was always there to pick us up from school every day with a smile on its face?
Wouldn’t we rather that government? How about we be patient? A strong, humane, carbon-neutral, well-educated country is on its way, we just have to let Labor do its thing. What is its thing? Who knows? Nobody. Labor moves in mysterious ways its wonders to perform. Doesn’t that give you confidence? If it doesn’t, it’s probably because you’ve been reading The Australian. Fascist.
So we’ve established that the only reason we object to Labor’s lack of achievement is that we are too impatient and something about the GFC probably. What about the other objections? What about factions? What are factions?
Factions date back to the very dawn of the Labor Party, which was founded in the late 19th century by Bob Ellis and Philip Adams as a more efficient way for pseudo-intellectuals to postpone getting a real job. The founding fathers of the ALP realised that the best way to organise a modern political party was to split it into factions, so that the constant jockeying for position would ensure no single person could ever get too powerful or competent. These days the ALP consists of a number of factions, such as the Left, the Right, Labor Unity, the Victorian Left, the NSW Right, Labor Disarray, the Queensland Right, the Taswegian Left, the West Australian Middle, the crypto-Mensheviks, and Hufflepuff. These factions exist in a sort of perfect tension, counter-balancing each other so that at no point in the political cycle does anything get done, sparing both the party and the country dangerous activity.
Yet somehow the idea has taken root, planted by Mark Latham, watered by Kevin Rudd, and fertilised by some fertiliser, that factions are bad, that they are a "cancer" on the party. Which is pretty bad taste, I think, guys. Cancer is a serious subject, and not to be mocked. A better analogy would be to say that factions are hepatitis on the party, only not as bad as hepatitis, as Simon Crean’s campaign slogan used to say.
The best way to demonstrate how great factions are is via this simple syllogism:
– The Liberal Party has no factions
– The Liberal Party is made up exclusively of human excrement.
– Do the math, biatch
So we’ve settled that. Also, the Greens have no factions, and you know how many governments they’ve formed in this country? ZERO. How many have the ALP formed? I dunno, heaps. Also, Bob Katter has no factions, so … you know.
"But what about the polls?" cry some rather rude people. "Look at the numbers! They’re plummeting like a shot parrot!" Again, inappropriate.
Yes, the numbers are not great, with the 2PP vote recently having dropped below 4 per cent, and Julia Gillard now trailing Sonia Kruger as preferred prime minister. But they’re not irretrievable — others have been in worse positions.
Remember 2001, when the Howard government was going so badly that they introduced legislation to classify Newspoll as child pornography? Remember when Kim Beazley blew all his money on crowns and ceremonial robes? And then along came the Tampa and those refugees starting stuffing their children with TNT and hurling them at our military installations and Howard locked and loaded and shot them all and everybody cheered and it was all right really.
So there is a precedent for a prime minister who everyone hates pulling through, meaning Gillard should not be too discouraged from recent polling indicating over 50 per cent of voters rank her as "Cruella De Vil or worse". Indeed, she should be ENcouraged — Kevin Rudd was more popular than she was when he was deposed, and she hasn’t been deposed yet, so she is clearly invincible! If she can just manage to draw strength from this fact, she may go on to survive and thrive and develop a healthy insanity.
But the main thing to take from the government’s abysmally low poll numbers is just what a brilliant strategic move it is. What’s that you say? "Don’t be so stupid you goddamn retard"? Haha, let me illustrate my brilliance!
Cast your minds back to Headingley, 1981, when the England cricket team faced humiliating defeat at the hands of the mighty Australians commanded by Kim "The Desert Fox" Hughes. Just at the point when all seemed lost for the English, Ian "Fat Prick" Botham went completely bonkers and the Australian bowlers suffered a severe collective seizure, and suddenly England had won! From the slobbering jaws of defeat they had snatched the saliva-soaked biscuit of victory, and all England rejoiced in the fact that the Australian cricket team always lets its supporters down just when they’re feeling a bit of hope, a tradition that has continued to this day.
Or if you don’t like cricket, consider ancient Sparta or Zulu or something. What I’m getting at is, the greatest victories are the unexpected ones. Nobody remembers the race you lead from start to finish; they remember the one where you come from a hopeless position to suddenly pip your rival at the post. They also remember the one where six horses crash into each other and have to be shot, but this analogy is about federal politics, not Queensland.
Point is, the greatest thing Gillard could do is deliberately put herself way behind in the polls, so that her inevitable victory will be all the more impressive, all the sweeter, all the more likely to put her name in history books as a latter day Jeanne d’Arc. You can’t help but admire the way she’s set it up, deliberately fumbling important issues, mishandling media relations, developing half-baked, ineffectual policies, handing the Opposition free kick after free kick, all to advance her subtle plan to emerge shiningly triumphant, like Galadriel in Lord of the Rings but without the nasty politically correct attitude, at the next election, humiliating Tony Abbott so completely he will probably go back to the seminary and/or unwanted pregnancies.
And this will undoubtedly happen. In 2013, when the carbon tax has been bedded down and proven to not only have a benign effect on the economy, but also cure gambling addiction; when the Malaysia Solution has not only stopped the boats, but rendered the United Nations obsolete; when Tony Abbott’s secret swamp-hut has been discovered and the thousands of mutilated geese dug up from beneath its floorboards … we will see the most astonishing political turnaround in this country since Philip Ruddock was awoken from his centuries of slumber by a gypsy’s curse.
And on that day we shall feel ashamed of the insults and vitriol we spent so much time heaping upon this great party, this wonderful institution that has fought for so long for the equality and dignity of men and other people, that has grown from the seed of workers’ rights to become one of the top four or five parties in the nation. We will all be ashamed, for we will see that the Australian Labor Party is still strong, still vibrant, and still that "light on the hill" that Ben Chifley spoke of all those years ago while coming out from heavy anaesthetic.
I mean, they’re better than the Liberals — is there any higher praise?
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