Friday, August 06, 2010

What to do with the NSW Right

Bernard Keane nails it in Crikey today, the Federal ALP has been infected by a kind of anxiety disorder that they have picked up from the NSW Right.

While the Victorians and South Australians (Feeny/Shorten/Farrell) were the real deciders of Rudd's fate the shots seem to be called by Mark Arbib supported by Karl Bitar. The fascinating thing is that until recently Crikey itself was full of stories about just how much KRudd was doing things for them to support him from a challenge from one J Gillard when no such challenge was in the offing....until they made it so.

No matter whether the ALP wins or loses, it is impossible to know the outcome under the counterfactual of no leadership change. What one can say is that for the period before the change the NSW Right was far more influential than its political experience in Canberra and its responsibilities within the Government deserved to be. Someone needed to tell Kevin to use cabinet rather than small committees and it certainly wasn't the advice Arbib and Bitar gave him.

Crikey over the last two days has suggested the ALP has already begun to squabble over the spoils of defeat - that is who would be leader after Julia. Bill Shorten's name has popped up, and of course Wayne Swan has been reported as being the surviving "rooster" with a claim.

Actually irrespective of the result the ALP has to do something about the structure of the party and the political class that knows patronage and polls but does not understand policy.

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