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Like Other Hardcore Labor Voters I Will Vote For Kevin... But I Won't Be Happy About It

gillardvrudd.jpg You would be hard pressed to find a better demonstration than this graphic on the left (courtesy of Guardian Australia) of why, if you posses Labor values and want to see a Labor agenda implemented, you should prefer Julia Gillard to Kevin Rudd. They share the same policies and believe in the same things, only Gillard made things happen and Rudd was a hopeless ditherer. I will still vote for Rudd because he is better than Abbott and Labor voters who believe the propaganda that Julia Gillard was a backstabber or believe, subconsciously or openly, that women don't belong in positions of leadership will also vote for Rudd.

But that's in the Labor heartland. In the marginal seats where elections are won and lost the overwhelming feeling will be one of "we can't trust this Labor Party that can't work together, can't put forward their best team and can't put the country before their own personal interests".

Personal interests. That is what this is all about. The events of last Wednesday show that Labor MP's are more worried about saving their own seats than they are in beating Tony Abbott. Labor candidates in marginal Liberal seats don't have a leg to stand on now. Marginal Labor seats will all flow straight to Tony Abbott and he will be the next Prime Minister. Meanwhile Labor seats on margins of between 4% and 8% MIGHT stay with Labor because it's in these seats and in the rock solid Labor heartland that people love Kevin Rudd enough to hold onto a grudge against Julia Gillard for 3 years. 

But so what? To beat Tony Abbott the ALP can't simply bunker down and defend the Labor heartland. They have to go out and win back mainstream Australia. Despite how many vox pops you see on the 6pm news featuring card carrying Liberals posing as Gillard hating, blue collar, Labor voters, mainstream Australia don't actually care all that much about the Gillard/Rudd stoush. They care about having an electable Labor party so they don't have to vote for Tony Abbott but a Labor Party cleft neatly down the middle is not seen by middle Australia as electable. A majority of Labor MP's preferred to turn tail and run hoping that they might not be engulfed by what they see as the rising tide of Tony Abbott rather than stand by the decision they made in 2010 and fight Tony Abbott with everything they have got. Weak really.

Meanwhile anything might have happened in a second Julia Gillard v Tony Abbott election encounter. It is unlikely, but she might even have won. People seem to have short memories. Julia Gillard has a proven record against Tony Abbott. Beat him at an election, then passed a whole heap of legislation in a hung parliament and never lost the support of that Parliament no matter how hard Abbott poked and picked at that Parliamentary majority. Kevin Rudd meanwhile, with a strong Parliamentary majority, completely fell apart in 2010 after a mere 6 months sitting opposite the relentlessly negative Tony Abbott.

Maybe the layman voter doesn't understand electoral maths and terms such as "marginal seat" so let me put it in a simpler way. There are people that will see the return of Kevin Rudd to the position of Prime Minister as a good thing and they will be more likely to vote Labor and there are people who will see it as a bad thing and they will be more likely to vote against Labor. Some will say that Rudd has pulled from his back the knife that was stabbed in there 3 years ago by Julia Gillard and those people will be more likely to vote Labor. Others will say that this whole affair is a national embarrassment and a good reason why Labor should be kicked from power until they can put the national interest ahead of their own narrow personal interests. Lets say for example that there are as many people that believe the former as there are people believe the latter and if that were the case you might say that the net effect on the election result is null because the 2 cancel each other out.

Ahhhh but it is not so because our electoral system is more complicated than that. It is not at all an improbable conclusion to draw to assume that the parts of Australia that love Kevin Rudd the most are the parts of Australia that vote most strongly for Labor. Kevin07 was the dragon slayer that after over 10 years of John Howard, rode onto the national scene to return the Federal Government to working class and progressively minded people. He was and remains very well liked in the Labor heartland. So it stands to reason that, paradoxically, those that hate Julia Gillard the most, those most pleased to see Kevin Rudd return to the office of Prime Minister are the rusted on Labor voters who live in electorates that Labor never ever loses. 

That can't be stressed strongly enough. The voters most pleased with the ascension of Rudd and the demise of Gillard, LIVE IN ELECTORATES THAT LABOR NEVER EVER LOSES.  Meanwhile voters who can see that Labor is an absolute train wreck, currently with half the front bench vacant because they have all retired on account of refusing to work for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, well those people live right across Australia. They live in the marginal seats across the country where the results of elections get decided. Let nobody say with a straight face that the Labor Caucus have returned Rudd to the leadership because he has a better chance of beating Abbott. They did it because defeat under Rudd might allow more of them to keep their seats for another 3 years than would have been the case under a Gillard defeat.

Yes Julia Gillard probably would have lost had she gone to another election against Tony Abbott but it wasn't a fait accompli. For one thing if Kevin Rudd had loved his party as much as he loved himself and gone about serving his constituents rather than serving himself and doing everything he could to tear his own party clean in half.... maybe Julia Gillard would have stood half a chance against Abbott. Who knows what stupid sexist, racist, homophobic thing Tony Abbott might have said to Leigh Sales in a 7:30 interview to prove himself once and for all completely un-electable as Prime Minister and if anybody was going to coax Abbott into being more of himself, coax him into revealing his true nature to the Australian people before they find themselves stuck with him as their Prime Minister, it was Julia Gillard - his complete antithesis and a truer, more appropriate adversary for Tony Abbott than Kevin Rudd.

Yet here we are. Labor will lose the election and Rudd will leave politics. He will have to because the people he is about to lead over a cliff certainly hate him too much to have him as an opposition leader. We will have Tony Abbott as a Prime Minister and we will find out exactly what that means. Of course the sun will still rise, the earth will still spin and our Iron Ore will continue to be shipped off to China. Most of us won't notice that a racist, sexist, homophobe is running the country and those most painfully aggrieved at this fact will survive to see Tony Abbott come and go just as sexist bigots across Australia survived to see the end of Julia Gillard as a public figure. Meanwhile we will all wait for a politics not so dominated by self interested near sighted apparatchiks. 

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ryan Albrey published on June 28, 2013 10:27 PM.

All Football Players Look Primitive and Everyone is Descended from Primates was the previous entry in this blog.

Anything But Labor, Anything But Liberal is the next entry in this blog.

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