Election '07 - Four Days To Go

20 November 2007

We've published far fewer election posts here than I would have expected in the giddy moments of excitement as the campaign kicked off. Some of it has admittedly been due to my heavy work schedule and even a little laziness, but the main reason is that it's just so hard to get excited. Although I do very much want to see the back of Howard, it's hard to see what practical difference it will make, come next Monday morning.

It's not that there's anything wrong with Kevin Rudd precisely. But - screaming schoolkids aside - there's nothing to get excited about either.

It was all so different three years ago. Mark Latham was different, all right. At the time I had the feeling that, come the Sunday after the Latham victory, a different Australia would form. So when that didn't happen, it was incredibly disappointing (and to more than myself, although how many would admit that now?).

This time around, there's no such hope. I had trouble articulating precisely what was wrong with Rudd, until I read this article from Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald's News Review:

"In some circles, Labor Party people and Labor fellow travellers, Rudd, if not exactly hated, is deeply distrusted. It's not just Latham who thinks Rudd will lead a conservative government even more conservative than the Howard Government. It's not just Latham who reckons this is a Seinfeld election - he always had the knack of producing the memorable and resonant phrase - an election about nothing at all.

Some of these people, most of whom believe Howard has been a mendacious and politically soul-destroying prime minister, are hoping that Peter Garrett was not joking when he told the radio shouter Steve Price that once elected, a Rudd government would change everything.

For Rudd is Australian Labor's Tony Blair without Blair's easy charisma. Like Blair, he may know Labor's history, but he is unsteeped in it and he is untouched by Labor's ethos and its union roots. He is a man of faith, a Christian, a social conservative. He accepts and embraces the inevitability of globalisation, which sections of his party believe is a plot by multinational American companies to keep the developing world poverty-stricken.

Blair was always despised by the true believers in his party. And perhaps like Blair, Rudd will never be loved by the true believers in the Australian Labor Party, by those who fervently want nothing less than the remaking of Australia when Howard is gone. Rudd will, almost inevitably, disappoint them."

For years, I've longed to see the end of the Howard government, as I felt that it would usher in a new era for Australia. This Saturday may well bring about the end of Howard, but I feel like a person who wishes for a million dollars, and receives them in compensation for the death of a loved one: "It wasn't supposed to be this way!"

Be careful what you wish for...I asked that Rudd and Gillard not f**k this up. I just didn't know they'd be so spineless and derivative in their attempts to do so. Did it have to be this way? Was this the only path Labor could have taken to get rid of Howard? Maybe the damage the Howard Government has done to Australia has been so great that the answer is yes. The remaking of Australia is just not possible. I guess we'll never know. come Saturday night, we'll know if the softly-copy approach has worked. And I'll be happy if Labor wins, I'll just turn my mind to wondering what else might have been.

EDIT: There's more on this in an interesting article today from Crikey.


  1. Meanwhile, what is it with Kevin Rudd and schoolgirls? Whereas John Howard can only manage to bowl over old women in shopping centres, Rudd is inspiring boy-band levels of adoration among teenagers. The man gives hope to uber-nerds everywhere. Yesterday they were even fainting in his presence. When you're hot, you're hot.

  2. Pure left-wing nonsense!

    John Howard gets plenty of action, as this photo clearly demonstrates:

    (link is safe for work)

  3. Anon - more from yesterday's Crikey...

    Evan - it's not nonsense. It's expensive nonesense. But I'll check out the Howard page...

  4. Nico, that photo is incontrovertible evidence that Howard the main ladies MAN!

    Despite the occasional gaffes from politicians, this election has had zero level of interest from me. I only just became aware on Monday that the election was being held this weekend. And I usually consider myself a bit of a political junkie.

    But no, the election is just global warming this, working families that. Jesus Christ that last phrase shits me! It really is as Latham describes it - an election about nothing.

  5. As opposed to non-working families presumably.

    Or people like me, who work damn hard but have, for tax purposes, no family (don't get me started!!!)


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