Friday, November 6, 2009

It’s Not Just John… They Are All Deluded.

Is John Della Bosca delusional? It has been reported that some of his own colleagues have described him as deluded because he still harbours ambitions to be Premier of New South Wales. Never mind that he is a Member of the Legislative Council rather than the Legislative Assembly. The convention that a Premier must be selected from the lower house is only a tradition, not a law or a regulation, and it has been done before. Never mind that his public image has taken a battering in recent years, first with his involvement in his wife’s dispute with staff at the Iguana Bar, and then with the spectacular revelation of his affair with a much younger woman. Never mind that he has been a part of the government which is perceived as having failed to fix hospitals, failed to fix public transport, and failed to balance the books in New South Wales for the last dozen years. Why should any of that stand in the way of one man’s ambition?

Of course, it is important for people to have ambitions. It is important for people to have a sense of purpose in life. Without that, people begin to doubt their own worth, and the worth of their lives. Without a sense of purpose, they run the risk of staying at home all day, sitting on the couch with a packet of Tim Tams, staring at Oprah, until they finally decompose into a pool of sludge on the living room floor. Although some people might actually consider just such a fate to be a reasonable ambition, most of us aspire to something more, so there is nothing wrong with John Della Bosca pursuing his own ambitions. Unfortunately, what’s good for John may not be good for his colleagues, or indeed for the state of New South Wales.

I have said many times that the New South Wales government has passed the point of no return. It is almost inconceivable that they might win the 2011 election, and of course most of them know it. That’s why some of them are desperate to orchestrate some kind of miracle to turn their fortunes around. The logic is that if there is no change of leadership they are almost certain to lose, so therefore making a change is the only chance of achieving such a miracle. But there are two flaws to this argument. One is that none of the usual suspects are any more popular than the current Premier, and the second is that it’s not the leader that is the problem, it’s the weight of the last fourteen years of broken promises.

At the risk of repeating myself, it is too late to save the New South Wales government. It doesn’t make any difference who is Premier. They might as well write down the names of the entire front bench, rip up the paper and put them in a hat, and draw one out. They could have “pick a premier” and draw out a new name every week so that they all get a turn in the top job, but it still would not make any difference. The iceberg has already struck, the ship is already sinking, and changing the captain will not stop it. If John Della Bosca is deluded, then he is not the only one. The fact is that if they believe they can save themselves with more of that same old spin, they are all deluded.

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