|Arm twisting works for Maddog!|
Yesterday everyone was referring to Mark (Maddog) Latham as The Loaded
Dog - he wanted to get close to everyone, but no-one wanted to be close to
him. Today Maddog is the man - winning leadership of the ALP against Kim (Fatboy) Beasley
by an overwhelming two votes! (Yup, count 'em two). Count 'em again - 'cause
Fatboy sure would have.
Given the choice between the two-time-loser and an arm-breaking thug, they
chose the thug. At least he came out a winner against the taxi-driver. He must
have been practicing his political arm-twisting technique against the Sydney
Fatboy's problem of course was that he was taken by surprise. Witnesses
said that when he heard of the Simon time-to-go shoulder-tap late last week his
face dropped - Fatboy hadn't know about it, and hadn't been working caucus for
votes. Outgoing Simon supported Maddog and presumably managed to deflect the
sympathy vote to him.
This was Labour's last chance to do something sensible before the coming
election. Kind of like an old fashioned marriage where you had to stick with it
through thick and thin, the ALP is now pretty well stuck with Maddog until
after the next election. They could have just kept Maddog on a chain and let
him out occasionally to savage Peter (Smirky) Costello, but political nature
abhors a power vacuum, and Maddog rushed to fill it.
Maddog of course is Labour's generational change - the younger version of
Paul (Scumbag) Keating, and the Gough (maintain-the-rage) Whitlam protege.
Except that Maddog has the foul mouth of Scumbag Paul and none of the wit of
either of them. Keating fancied himself a bit of a verbal bully. Maddog is the
This is not to say that Maddog is totally devoid of qualities. On the
program he spoke about effective marginal tax rates.
the rate is a problem in that it adds to the disincentives for people to
work. We had a report two weeks ago showing that a million Australian families
have got an effective marginal tax rate of more than 60 per cent. That is, if I
earn an extra $100, the Government takes 60 of them.
At least he understands the problem. His degree in economics hasn't enabled
him to produce any workable solutions, but understanding the problem is a
start. Whenever Fatboy was asked about tax rates he just warbled about the
generosity of the Australian spirit.
And on the asylum-seeker issue? Lets just say that Carmen
(open-the-borders) Lawrence is unlikely to become Minister of Immigration
But Maddog's biggest problem is keeping the indisciplined rabble of the ALP
in check so they can put up a united front for the next election. Maddog's
snarling, bullying and arm-twisting may be just what the party needs.