John Singleton made a Fabian Society speech on Labor's chances of winning in 2007. Unfortunately the speech is not online, so I cannot read it directly, instead I am reduced to quoting Alan Ramsey in an smh op-ed. In the speech Singleton argued that Beazley was another "lazarus on a triple bypass", he should have just done away with the pretence, and called our political system a waitocracy.
From the op-ed;
Labor was so "poll driven" now it "astonishes" him. He'd thought Mark Latham, whom he'd met only once, was a "fantastic oppurtunity" but now "we're returning to Lazarus with a triple bypass". - Howard's put down of himself in 1989 - "only now Lazarus is Kim Beazley".
So where have we heard that before?
John Howard and Kim Beazley are the same politician. They are both products of the Australian waitocracy. Howard has been remarked upon as lazarus with a triple bypass because he survived several leadership changes before becoming Prime Minister. ... Both pursue small target political campaigns.
Road to Surfdom also linked
to the article, and
Gary and I discussed it at length
on his philosophy website. From that discussion I wrote;
I think they are wrong, it [the opposition needing a visionary and charismatic leader] makes for good journalism, but is meaningless when compared against our political and media system. Party legitimacy, discipline and authority comes with winning elections. The party can be a bunch of no-hopers with no political vision, in fact this was true of Howard and Beazley both using "small target" strategies to try and win government. It worked for Howard, and nearly did for Beazley with only Tampa and 911 scuttling it.
It is a waitocracy, you dont need vision, or a compelling leader, you just got to hang around until you get a go, and then once you are PM, the media loves you and claims you are a "leader". The party likes power, and having the taxpayer's purse, so they fall in line with the leader. Legislation, the treasury and smacking down the media are then all used to ensure the party remains in power.
This vision and leader celebrity form of political journalism doesnt mean much. If Labor follow the Keating style of political management without his arrogance they will be fine. Howard has expanded government to an unhealthy point. If they shrink government, as they did under Hawke and Keating, then Labor will be fine. They can wedge away to their heart is content, and claim Simpson and the Donkey for Labor.
We will then see the same cycle in the Liberal Party as we did between 1983 and 1996. A constant changing of leaders as the Liberal get subject to celebrity political journalism. The same journalistic hubris of the right being in disarray and Labor being the "natural party of government".
I am sure that Singleton has a speech writer who is probably pretty smart, but we saw the Lazarus with a triple bypass analogy for Beazley in ozplogistan first.
I for one welcome our new speechwriter blog reading overlords. They may as well dig through our ideas and commentary more, because we do it better than mass media does; and ever has done.
More Reading on John singleton
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