Friday, November 12, 2010

Smoke, But Not Yet Fire

How interesting it is to see reports emerging today questioning whether there are knives being sharpened in the Federal Labor Party for Julia Gillard. Melbourne Age reporter Katherine Murphy has written today that there appears to be some internal friction between the forces of the New South Wales Right Faction and the Prime Minister’s office. It comes in the wake of Party Secretary Karl Bitar’s address to the National Press Club this week which blamed the election result on campaign mistakes made by the Prime Minister, along with a perception of disunity. As I remarked at the time, the twist is that he is himself one of the reasons for that perception, and this week’s speech didn’t do anything to subdue that appraisal. Following that speech, another prominent figure from the Right, Graham Richardson, although now retired, has gone into print with comments further undermining confidence in the Prime Minister and the members of her office.

Katherine Murphy asks in her report “are we watching the beginning of yet another destructive power struggle?” Now, Ms Murphy may be seeing smoke where there is not yet a fire, but it is never a good idea to simply ignore the smoke. Is it really possible that the very same power players who tore down Kevin Rudd are now preparing to do the same to Julia Gillard? Surely they could not be that indifferent to the lessons of the recent past? It was the so called “faceless men” led by Karl Bitar and Mark Arbib who have dragged the party into ill repute over the manner in which they dealt with the problem of Kevin Rudd’s falling popularity. It was those same men who actually drove the disunity that they now claim has done them so much damage. But so far, all the evidence seems to suggest that they have not learned from their mistakes, and refuse to accept any responsibility for their own contributions to the party’s troubles. By that reasoning, it is entirely possible that they may indeed be thinking the unthinkable, and preparing to turn against their chosen leader. But if they do, it will only serve to confirm that they really have lost the plot altogether.

After all, if there is a problem with the Prime Minister’s leadership, these clowns only have themselves to blame because they were the ones who put her there in the first place.

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