|Nothing to crow about|
Mark (mad dog) Latham spoke of a number of 'rooters' in the front bench who
were backing the challenger for the top spot in the ALP pecking order, and yesterday their
chicken-coup failed. Kim (Fatboy) Beazley failed to get the numbers to defeat
Simon (Rottweiler) Crean in his leadership challenge.
A possible surprise outcome considering the rampant unpopularity of The
Rottweiler with the electorate, and the unlikelihood of winning enough votes in
the next election to win government, but winning
votes hasn't had much to do with ALP policy in the last few years, having
lurched from one crisis to another. But why choose Simon?
Of course few people would call John (victory lap) Howard a charismatic
man. He doesn't have the Saxophone playing, trouser-dropping appeal of Bill
(cigar anyone?) Clinton, or the frank Texan drawling guns-and-God appeal of
Dubya. Australians don't
choose their politicians for celebrity (that's what the Queen is for), but to
represent their public
service. And they have progressed from the foul-mouthed bullying ways of
Paul Keating, to the gentle, if somewhat over-taxing manner of Little Johnny.
But the ALP may have taken this lesson too far, and presumably believe the
electorate is ready for a petty, whining Simon Crean. A just characterisation
of of the typical public servant to be sure, but surely not one to be
Regardless, the ALP machine moved quickly to smooth the ruffled feathers
and to deny it was now party payback time - Simon had previously announced
a significant reshuffle in the shadow cabinet, and the perpetrators of this
foul deed (supporting Big Kim) looked like having their left-wings clipped, and
were destined for the naughty-boy's corner - up at the back. Simon now insists
they are now all one big happy family.
Unpopularity doesn't imply stupidity. Not-so-simple Simon knows that being
on the back-benches would have left them with nothing to do but to scheme,
plot, and crunch the numbers for the next challenge. Maybe he is a fan on the
old political adage
'keep your friends close and your enemies closer', or maybe he just
didn't want those chickens to come home to roost.