Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Leadership speculation

Kristina Keneally made a public appeal to her Federal Parliamentary colleagues under the heading Changing leaders is not the answer for Labor.

I read this just after reading another description that said if the FPLP did change leaders it "will have entered a recently charted, previously unknown, far reach of the Universe, known as the Keneallys."

The current malaise in the ALP, both Federally and more importantly its near elimination in NSW, has had me turning to my somewhat broad political library. In it I found this description;

The [X] Party has a leadership fixation. So it is not surprising that [Y]’s accession to the position …was accompanied by great expectation and standing ovations from among the party faithful. There were references to a new team which would make a fresh start. It sounded exciting until you remembered that much the same had been said about [Z].

[Y] may do better than [his/her] immediate predecessors. Or not. But [his/her] election … will not automatically solve the [X] Party’s problem. … The history of the last decade and more demonstrates that when engaged in national politics, [the X Party] tend to be outperformed by their counterparts. This is true of the leadership, frontbench, backbench, staff, even rank and file. It suggests that the [X] Party’s problems are organisational and cultural – and will not necessarily be overcome by yet another leadership change.

The task for [Y] and the [X] team is not just to win the next election. It is to re-establish [the Party] as the natural, or predominant party of government in Australia by winning three or four terms on the trot. This will require considerable political skills along with an efficient and knowledgeable party machine. In other words, [the X Party] need to set about reform and reinvigoration. ….

There can be no resolution of the [X] Party’s current problems until there is recognition that the party is in long-term decline. …The Party needs dramatic changes to its structure and policy positions. If both were implemented, cultural change would follow.

That could so very easily be a description of the ALP at both levels and of its Federal leader.

But the words instead come from Gerard Henderson's Menzies' Child" The Liberal Party of Australia 1944-94, the leader in question was Alexander Downer, and the year was 1994.

History tells us that the Liberal Party in near despair turned again to John Howard and he went on to win his four terms on the trot (1996, 1998, 2001, 2004). I do not actually think that history would be repeated necessarily with a Rudd return.

But equally I think complete despair is unwarranted...but action is required.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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