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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

And then there was one « Previous | |Next »
December 2, 2003

I've have been caught up with things to do with the society of the spectacle for most of the morning.

So I've just just caught the news that has got Canberra excited and in a twizz.

Who won the ballot for the ALP leadership? That was the big drama. Well, it's Mark Latham as Leader of the ALP by one vote. That's the news. The wires are now running hot. The copy is being written fast and furious.


Bomber Beazley never got the numbers and his game is now over. Maybe he'll become the new Foreign/Defence Minister. It's now Mark Latham for PM. The pollsters will get their electoral number machines out to help answer the big question: Will the Tory working class return to the ALP?

Expect more of this though. The new boy is a neo-liberal at heart. For all his street smarts and tough talk he just loves the theorems of neo-classical economics. Just like Paul Keating. Under Latham the primacy of the market has again been embraced.

The Latham imagery is about working people climbing the ladder of success rather than trickle down. His own roots are in impoverished suburbs with decript public housing and dustbowl back gardens and people wanting a better life for themselves. He speaks about the outsiders and the forgotten ones in the suburbs and talks the language of self-enabling strategies that is understood by most suburban Australians. It is not the old language of public welfare, public housing and charity. Latham says:

"I believe in an upwardly mobile society where people can climb the rungs of opportunity to a better life for themselves and their family. I believe in hard work and reward for effort. I believe in a Government that is there to help the people who are doing the right thing - the people who are getting stuck in, doing things the fair dinkum Australian way."

It's aspirational voterland suburban talk. That's the future says Mark. We can get there by taking The Third Way. The Howard Government knocks out the rungs in the ladder, and so places obstacles in the path of those aspiring to a better life. Hence the Coalition is against the fair go.

We are going to hear a lot about the aspirations of those living in the mortagage belt seats of the western Sydney suburbs.

It is with joy in my heart that I can report that Boilermaker Bill over at got it all wrong:

"And Latham? Sorry Mark, but recognising you need to tone down the angry pose three days before you want to win a leadership ballot is just leaving it a little too late. No-one believes that your so called voter friendly vernacular has charmed anyone outside an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang. You should have learnt from your mentor, Gough Whitlam. He could come across like he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and a bookshelf up his backside: but he still won over the punters. Forget Civilising Global Capital - start with Civilising Mark Latham...
....Latham's trouble is that he has played the outsider for so long he's forgotten how to be a team player. Remember back to his semi self imposed exile after the 1998 Election when he claimed that Beazley's office had gutted his election policy. That's the problem in a nutshell: Latham thought it was his policy not Labor's policy. And every idea, every policy since then smacks of being Latham's policy not Labor's policy: nest eggs, tax cuts for the high earners, you name it - it's Latham's not Labor's."

Boilermaker Bill is out of touch with his own party. He's got lots of bile. And he's obssessed with putting the acid on Bob Brown and the Australian Greens.

It is time to return to the habits of everyday life----to take the dogs for a walk in the Adelaide Parklands and then make dinner. The media flows into our homes will be full of commentary about the boy from the suburbs made good but I will try and write a post on Bataille and eroticism.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:05 PM | | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (1)

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I've lived in this country for four years and am still trying to figure out how your politicians tick. However, I must admit that I'm quite happy Latham got voted in over Beasley. I don't mind his "vulgar mouth". In fact, I find it quite amusing that a politician is so blatantly honest. That, and well any politician who calls John Howard an ass licker and says that Bush is the most incompetent President ever is a Politician I can deal with.

Same with me.
Latham also has lots of policy ideas which are scattered throughout his books.