Perseverance, n. A lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success.
(Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary)
If I hadn’t been long convinced that Kim Beazley has to go, if the ALP is to have any chance of winning back government, Jacques Chester’s paean, at Club Troppo, to Kim’s “bottomless reserves of patience and comebackitude” – in plain English his perseverance – would have done it for me. Kim reminds Jacques of Doctor Who and:
… another famous opposition leader, one who eventually made it all the way to the top.The idea of “Doctor Kimbo” is a bit of a laugh. Confronted by a Cyberleader determined to convert the whole of humanity into robotic drones, his most likely response would be “Don’t forget the Cyberdogs and Cybercats.” Daleks threatening to exterminate humanity? “Not good enough. Here are a few other species who warrant extermination.”
John Howard, of course.
The remainder of Jacques’ post argues, mainly, that it’s time for the ALP to lower its expectations of the leadership, in much the way that members of the Liberal Party have learnt to live with John Howard as Prime Minister.
Here’s one of the principles of governance that the Liberals have learnt to live with:
I think in public life you take a position, and I think particularly of the positions I've taken in the time I've been Prime Minister, I have to live with the consequences . . . and, if I ever develop reservations I hope I would have the grace to keep them to myself,That’s what Howard expects of himself – would he expect any less of his colleagues? Phil Ruddock’s rise from Immigration Minister to Attorney General gives a very strong clue to the answer. Petro Georgious conspicuous exclusion from Cabinet, and the attempts to strip him of his pre-selection are a pretty good indication of how Howard’s “broad church” deals with those graceless individuals who won’t keep their reservations to themselves.
(John Howard, reported in The Hun, November 22)
The Howard government – not just Howard – has to go. In a better world – not the perfect world of my imagination where all the women are leggy, bi-sexual blondes with identical twin sisters but one close to it – a drover’s dog could lead the Federal ALP to victory in the next election. But we don’t live in that better world. And for that reason, the ALP needs more energetic leadership than this:
The time that really counts as a leader — and it's 50 per cent of your task, the other 50 per cent leading up to that — is in the five weeks of the election campaign.
(Beazley to Michelle Grattan in The Age, November 25)
Cross posted at Larvatus Prodeo.