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43558Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] Re: The left, the trade unions and the Labor Party ranks

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  • Michael Berrell
    Jun 7, 2007
      I caught the tailend of Keating's appearance on "Lateline" last night. A curious performance. His intervention seems timed to give Howard a leg up and provide ammunition to those who argue that a Rudd Labor Government would be dominated by unions. This dovetals with Costello's line that a union dominated Rudd Labor Government would destroy Australia's prosperity.

      Keating reminds me of Gorbachev even looks a bit like him these days. Keating's policies were responsible for almost destroying the Labor Party and giving it ten long years in opposition. Keating's policies were responsible for knocking Labor's primary vote down from 50% in 1983 to around 38% where its languished since 1996 really since 1990.

      Despite attempts to construct Keating as some type of grand statesman, the type of person modern Labor should look to, the fact remains that he was electoral poison when dumped from office in 1996 and remains so. His sporadic interventions and appearances in the public media can only do Labor's chances harm.

      These days Keating is driven by a deep seeded personal animosity toward John Howard and toward those he feels would undermine the economic reforms of the 80s.

      He reminds me of Gorbachev in that Gorbachev too is feted as a kind of elder statesman who appears periodically in the public media to pontificate on international politics when in fact he's completely irrelevant and impotent and was at the time of his departure from office in 1991 deeply unpopular. Like Keating, Gorbachev all but destroyed and shat on the thing that nurtured him. Neither Keating nor Gorbachev should have the temerity to lecture anyone on anything.

      Bob's right about one thing. If Howard and the tories (Great name for a rock band) manage to scrape back in at the end of the year, and with the economy doing so well you can't write them off, there will be a major demoralisation on the left side of politics. One could be forgiven for wondering whether Federal Labor can ever get back in again. Certainly a defeated, demoralised ALP woul lurch to the right, ditching its opposition to AWAS and giving ammunition to those in the party who want to sever the party's ties with the trade union movement. Rudd has made no secret of the fact that he would like to transform the ALP into something akin to the US Democrats.

      The person most likely to emerge to challenge Rudd in the event of electoral defeat would be Lindsay Tanner which should tell some on this lift that the so called ALP left is just as culpable as the right on this matter.

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