25 February 2010

Studies in political failure

It appears likely that Peter Garrett has survived the pathetic attack from the Opposition. Abbott needed to demonstrate forensic detail in cataloguing the failures of the home insulation scheme: to do so would have shown that he was as hungry and determined as his fans say he is. It would also have demonstrated that the public service is sick of Rudd. The fact that the Coalition haven't maintained any relationships with any public servants since Godwin Grech, and that the public service aren't reaching out to the Opposition, are two dogs that aren't barking: both these factors need to change if there is to be a change of government.

Abbott could have landed a real blow on the government, particularly given Rudd's weak roots in the ALP organisation, by pointing out the unwitting bankruptcy of the unions in not proving their worth to inexperienced workers by being in their workplaces. He coulda/shoulda made more of Troy Buswell's gift that the Feds leant on state regulators to go easy on installers. Yes, it has come to this: here lies Tony Abbott, a man with less political acumen than Troy Buswell (and a similarly creepy sex obsession).

Abbott demonstrates the failure of opposing for the sake of opposing: you can see him coming and if you can withstand the initial flurry, you know he will tire eventually. He is like a dog chasing a car: there might be a bit of sound and fury and the driver may be disconcerted at first, but you can't really believe that the dog will somehow displace the driver from the car and operate it better than the incumbent.

For all Abbott's feebleness, Garrett looks like a beaten man. Beyond the election he's likely to pack in parliament and go back to doing the odd Oils gig for Good Causes. Garrett's federal electorate of Kingsford Smith includes most/all of Keneally's state electorate: given that her career in State politics will be over in April 2011, and given that both Lionel Bowen and Laurie Brereton crawled from the wreckage of State Labor governments to take that seat, you'd have to bet on Keneally being the next MHR for Kingsford Smith. Labor have dropped her in it so deep that it's the least they could do.

Not that she'd go far - NSW Labor will be so on the nose and is well represented in the ministry already, thanks all the same. She'll arrive just as a Victorian leftwinger takes more and more power over the government, and will be in competition with long-suffering members of the Class of '07 for ministerial vacancies that Keneally has clearly come to see as her right. Watch for a "Don't you know who I am?" moment from someone who sees herself as an overachiever but who is already out of her depth, at forty.

Speaking of being out of one's depth, Gordon Brown looks like Britain's Nixon. Those shits who clung to his coat-tails have no right to complain, they stuck by Brown and covered up for him and the inevitable happened. Thankfully Britain does not have the clout that the US had under Nixon otherwise there'd be real trouble.


  1. And the abbott's answer to his manifest failings this week is to have a.........idea fest! Because he obviously aint got a clue.

    Bring on the election say I, let's put us all out of our misery. The meejah are utterly pathetic and I am fast losing patience with any sort of reasoned debate about future of country, all we get is future of these fools who are actually employed by US.

  2. I thought the mention of Gordon Brown was insightful, given the trading of ministerial advisors between New Labour and the ALP around about the time of the 2007 election.

    You almost get the feeling that any parliamentary party with a Third Way tinge is doomed to repeat the same narrative. The NSW Government was elected two years before Blair and it's amazing how much of the former has been a prediction of the latter. There's Carr and Blair's resignation and the way they're both held in increasingly negative esteem, the short and abruptly-ending grace period for less than appealing successors, and both governments completely eroding their credibility when the constant rehash of media announcements fails to produce any tangible benefits to the community.

    I feel like I'm living through a delayed version in Melbourne. We must have had three different transport blueprints in the last five years, and the next major public transport project has been pushed back until the end of the decade. Apart from a freeway, there's been no transport infrastructure that wasn't tinkering at the edges. Meanwhile, you see the ministers in hard hats every other week with "Road X: It's Part of the Plan" livery in the background. The Brumby Government is happy to take the same craven attitude to developers as the state government in NSW, and we've had some white elephants that rival the monorail. We've had the same sort of scandals with the DHS as you've had with DOCS. Community consultation is a farce, and instead of seriously challenging any of this, the Opposition is gearing up for the same law and order campaign that Debnam tried in 2007.

    Anyway, didn't mean to turn this into a Sydney-Melbourne penis measuring contest. I worry that Brumby will romp it home later this year and we'll spend the next four years living the same biweekly scandals that NSW Labor has wrought on the state. Either it's the Third Way destiny or it's just the inertia of incumbency, I haven't been paying attention to politics for long enough to be able to tell.