The longest night
Last night was the Winter Solstice in Australia, and many Australians will now be a-bed in order to get up and (hopefully) see Australia beat Serbia in the soccer. Tonight, however, will be a long one for Federal Labor MPs and their staff. It will also be a long one for the press gallery (and if the press gallery couldn't pick a story like this before it was announced, they should all be sacked).
The fuck-up squad that is the NSW Labor Right have struck again. Rudd is in trouble precisely because he followed their advice on emissions trading. The pollwatchers all assumed that dumping the ETS was like dumping promises on disability funding in NSW: all very nice if you can manage it but not core business. Now, they have the gall to throw to someone who's never courted them, who owes them nothing and who - when they come asking for protection from angry voters - will shriek 'betrayal!' should Prime Minister Gillard send them away with a flea in their ear.
Rudd is mainly in trouble because the micromanagement and policy constipation of his own office has reached a point where policies are being strangled and stunted. The RSPT should have been linked to the failure of the ETS. The mining companies whingeing about the RSPT should realise that they've blown $billions in "compensation by spiking the ETS, and now that they face the prospect of losing still more with an RSPT you have to wonder which clowns are doing their government relations these days - particularly now that Labor are removing the last doubts over their re-election.
Rudd is still ahead of Abbott, and the story of the coming election would be the story of Abbott being slowly exposed and ground down. He's not PM material, he'd embarrass a half-decent ticket of student politicians with garbage like "Kevin O'Lemon", he has no policies and no vision and will inevitably let his true self slip - the misogynist, fear-mongering, economically retarded narcissist who insists that he be taken at whatever face he presents at any random time. Gillard is his worst nightmare: she has it all over him and he knows it.
The comparison with the Libs in '07 could not be starker. They knew the incumbent was stuffed but wouldn't, couldn't take a chance on Costello. Labor would be mad to pass on Gillard. When she and Faulkner, the old undertaker, went to see Rudd it was already over.
Rudd is the first Queenslander to lead his party since Bill Hayden, but at least he got to the Lodge. Thank you for your leadership over the apology, Mr Rudd, and for lifting the nation above the financial storm - but all political careers end in failure and now here's yours. Rudd will be looked after because nobody would give him a serious job now that his management style has seen off one Labor government (Q'ld 1989-96) and has rattled this one so much that it's going to elect a leftie woman from Melbourne, via Adelaide and Wales. Wonder no more about those young-to-middle-aged women voters who were abandoning Rudd but not going to Abbott, and flirting with the Greens - Gillard will be given the benefit of the doubt, and for Labor Abbott is the gift that keeps on giving. Labor will win seats off the Coalition now, and it's too late for the Coalition to switch a fourth time.
Not since Billy Hughes shafted a Queenslander and put it all over Liberal Sir Joseph Cook during and after World War I - including stealing his party from him - have we seen two UK-born leaders of our national political parties. We've seen a corporate leader sacked for sexual harassment with a staffer (when in my day it would have been the young woman forced out for "causing a fuss") as a portend. Things are changing fast, and thankfully so because I was starting to get bored.