'I do not want to be associated with anyone or anything, anymore'
                                                                   -TURE SJOLANDER
                                                                   Me - My own Network

Labor's feud with the People's Princess

Updated February 27, 2012 10:11:54

It looks hopeless, because it is. Despite an apparent popular clamour for him to be restored to The Lodge, Kevin Rudd today seems certain to be banished by his colleagues to backbench obscurity, or to the backbench at least.

The whiff of singed martyr is already perceptibly in the air. Mr Rudd and his family have called upon his people to rise up, speak out - lobby their local MP, tweet, sing, design a T-Shirt - to urge his return to office. And the imminent smashing of these humble dreams by the ALP's "faceless men" serves to make his public case all the more strongly: "In destroying me, they thwart you."

It's curious the way political clichés tend to outlive themselves. The "faceless men" riff, for example, happily survives and is employed consistently by Mr Rudd even though the opposition to his return has been powered by a fleet of ministers speaking publicly. How many more faces, one wonders, does he need to see?

In recent days, both Mr Rudd and his opponents have tossed around historical and Biblical figures with whom the Member for Griffith might or might not be feasibly compared. Joan of Arc. Mother Teresa. The Antichrist Incorporated. Grandson of Satan. But they're all wide of the mark. There's one they missed

Come on. It's staring you in the face.

Where have we seen this dynamic before? The public's darling, struggling bravely but hopelessly against a powerful cabal of Palace oppressors? The selfless, wide-eyed courage? The virtuous disappointment at all these vicious tales of private tantrums, dysfunction, and general high-maintenance behaviour? The periodic photo opportunities, sipping tea with the common people, being kissed to death in supermarkets or speaking intently with world leaders? The air of innocence, offset behind the scenes by a gimlet-eyed and relentless talent for media management?

Yep. Of all the historical allegories that might be invoked this morning as The Gillard Government Versus Kevin Rudd enters its critical phase, The House of Windsor Versus The People's Princess is a pretty handy one.

In both instances, the subject was initially embraced by the establishment, and thought enthusiastically to be the hope of the side. In both instances, everybody covered up for a while the extent to which things were falling apart. And in both instances, the public sympathy for the subject - the widespread and unhesitating belief in the subject's version of events among those who have never met the subject - provokes wild and furious frustration in the narrower and rather more powerful ranks of those who have.

Mr Rudd's weekend activities - a brief mobbing in a Brisbane street, the devout acceptance of Anthony Albanese's tearfully-proffered vote and an interview with Laurie Oakes in which he once again expressed his puzzlement as to why his colleagues are so unkind - continued to drive his opponents wild.

Their belief in his fraudulence is now so complete that Mr Rudd needs only to lower an Iced VoVo towards a freshly-made cuppa to send them stampeding towards the nearest electronic media outlet to vouchsafe yet another instance of his past nightmarishness.

The time he went to a pub and was rude about Ms Gillard. The time he sacked a parliamentary secretary without even calling her. The time he turned up at a hospital without even phoning in advance.

To the casual observer, it might seem strange that a simple call from Mr Rudd for more civility in politics, or for the power of factions to be reduced, could incite in his colleagues such white-knuckled rage.

"He's WHAT? Now he's pledged to be kind to kittens? That f&%#€*$'n BASTARD! This time he's gone too far!"

They have their reasons. Complicated, passionate, long pent-up reasons which are persuasive enough for them to decide - after an uncomfortable five-year experiment with populism - to dispense with it entirely.

Today, the Labor caucus plans to banish the People's Princess.

Annabel Crabb is the ABC's chief online political writer. View her full profile here.

Topics: gillard-julia, rudd-kevin, government-and-politics, alp, political-parties, federal-government

First posted February 27, 2012 09:15:46

Comments (182)

Ture Sjolander:

  • 27 Feb 2012 10:10:06am

    Look how the 102 arrive in groups to the caucus corridors.

    Wrecking is the basics for renewal in science, art and of course politics too.
    Rebuilding the Labor Party is a necessity.
    This old party of Labor should right now be demolished to the ground, and not be united!
    A new fresh start is the answer.
    The same would apply for the Australian Parliament at large.

    The whole lot is beyond repair, and a Republic is closer than ever.

    God save the Australian People!

    Reply Alert moderator

    • Ture Sjolander:

      27 Feb 2012 10:52:04am

      Too late now: The disaster is served based on prerecorded conversations. 73 - 29.

      Reply Alert moderator

      • Ture Sjolander:

        27 Feb 2012 11:56:58am

        Pair in shoes and no pair to fill.
        Kevin 31 will suffer the same pain as Julia will.
        Would anyone love to be a PM with one third of enemies around.
        The big reshuffle will now destroy the Lab., unless anyone would suffer from a masochistic personal disorder.

        Reply Alert moderator

    • Ture Sjolander:

      27 Feb 2012 11:45:27am

      31 - 71 is not a uniting numbers at all.
      You shall see!

      Reply Alert moderator

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