The Policy Of Beauty

Bazza Jones was assuring us this morning that ALP leadership was not about beauty, it was about policy. Well, perhaps. But if he comes near you with a Knowledge Nation policy proposal, you’d be well-advised to run like fuck.

Given that this wisdom echoes Simon Crean’s “this is not a popularity contest” dictum, I think we can safely assume that the bloke who won more Pick a Box prizes than Bob Dyer ever dreamed possible, is backing Simon. On the other hand, the bloke who’s won more elections as Labor PM than any other, is backing Kim. At Royal Randwick yesterday Bob Hawke railed against “the most conservative government in Australian history” and demanded “what of the poor?” Indeed. Gone are the days when they could drag their raggedy-arsed misery down to the Double Bay Ritz Carlton and thrill to the sight of Their Hero arriving to tie the silvertailed knot with a daughter of the labouring classes like Blanche d’Alpuguet. There’s been precious little of those beautiful, morale-boosting spectacles in recent times. Bob knows beauty is a winner and Kim’s a looker in his book clearly.

Of course it’s not just about oodles of political charisma and a Zegna suit, though you do need to be able to be presentable sufficiently to stop people going eewwwkkk and switching off. If that happens, you’re sunk. Face it. You can have the most brilliantly crafted policies, of Solomonic depth and alluring reach, and you’ll still get some bloody voter saying “I dunno. I just don’t like him. There’s something about him.” The art of leadership is to maximise the former advantage whilst minimising the latter disadvantage. Howard did it. He trimmed his eyebrows, bought new glasses and got a GST. No-one owns to “liking” Howard, it’s much more about “respect” – which can cover a multitude of positive and negative facets.

Crean isn’t liked and no-one seems keen to respect him much either. Beazley is liked. But Beazley’s been beaten twice, Crean just sounds like he has. But Crean’s the incumbent and Beazley isn’t and ultimately there won’t be sufficient momentum for the Beazley candidacy to dislodge him.

I’m quite comfortable predicting next Monday’s ballot outcome at this stage, it’s just that I can’t see an ALP win in this, anywhere.

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Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Hawke’s always had paternal feelings for Beazley, which is why Beazlye got such a rails run when Hawke was Prime Minister. Who can forget Beazley’s win over Keating in Cabinet, with Hawke’s blessing, to create the monopoly that is Telstra —

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Geoff
I don’t share your gloom re the ALP. This appears to be an organic challenge to me, in the sense that Simon has not grown to leadership stature. The ALP looks pretty well exactly like the ALP looked before Simon took over, except in that they don’t have Kim, who is a better communicator: hence the challenge.

The optimistic scenario is that the confrontation will help etch the symbolic-persona of the winner more deeply in the public mind. If Simon can begin to rise to fill the vacuum since Kim left in the way that he presents himself, well and good and he will win; if not, I expect the big boy to win quite naturally next Monday.

Remember, it’s still probably over 12 months till the next election (even if it’s a DD), and at least the main story today is an ALP story. As the old dictum goes: it doesn’t matter what story is out there, just so long as it’s your story. I think the publicity surrounding the challenge is neither here nor there … or positive.

Not … I hasten to add … that I expect the ALP to win the next poll … I think they’re probably buggered whichever way they go … this, alas, seems to only be about losing by less.

Gianna
2022 years ago

Funny post as usual, Geoff.

I just find Beazley to be quite sneaky in all this and to me he’s actually making Crean look better by comparison. I’ve been warming to Crean again because I thought his Budget reply had substance and did a good job of differentiating the parties again. Beazley strikes me as a bit of a vulture and backstabber and I don’t think he has any more chance of beating Howard than Crean.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

No Gianna, but he’s a much more empathetic loser than Crean.

Gianna
2022 years ago

you’re right, he does defeat very well. oh, well, if we’re resurrecting losers can we please bring back Keating? At least he was funny.

Carita
2022 years ago

I agree Gianna, about Crean/Beazley. I’m not impressed by Beazley in all of this, and for me too it comes at a time when my faith in the FPLP is beginning to resurrect itself. I was starting to actually feel like we had a Labor opposition that meant something.

Norman
Norman
2022 years ago

Who was it who: —
1] raised questions about Labor’s capacity to govern by refusing to serve on the front bench?
2] refused repeatedly to join the front bench?
3] annonced his intention to undermine the leader via the newspapers?
4] attacked journalists who then tried to ‘imply’ that he was plotting to overthrow the leader?
5] arranged for mates to start leaking anonymous polling details?
6] arranged for other mates to begin carefully orchestrated announcements to undermine the man who was Labor’s [if not their] leader?
7] had the gall to suggest that Labor polling, which in the past was released only to the Leader and a very narrow group within the National Executive, now should suddenly be made available to the whole world [including presumably, assuming they were alert enough to notice it] the Liberal Party?
8] provided the Liberals with more and better material with which to attack Labor at the next Federal elections, than money could buy?

I give you, ladies and gentlemen, the man who, above all others, deserves to be hung, drawn and quartered, the new Patron Saint of the Federal Liberal Party —- ?

And you only get one guess.

SP
SP
2022 years ago

On the other hand Norman, Beazley’s challenge has
1)forced the Caucus to choose between polls and policy (and given them a real say in who will be their leader)
2)given Crean some positive media and broadened his image in the public (I know quite a bit more about him than I did before)
3)given Crean some experience at public campaigning (which will be useful if he wins tomorrow)
4)brought back some passion into the Labor ranks
5)the possibility of diminishing the influence of people like Swan

I just wanted to day that it is not all bad.

Norman
Norman
2022 years ago

Adolph’s decisions led directly to some quite remarkable technological breakthroughs in the 1940s, which without him wouldn’t have occurred. But I’m still not sure he did it for those resons?

SP
SP
2022 years ago

So does that stop you from using them now Norman?

Norman
Norman
2022 years ago

I’m one of the fortunate ones who not only wasn’t affected too badly, but [unlike many] I lived through it. We couldn’t get Violet Crumble Bars during the war, but there were other parts of the world where they faced even greater problems, SP. Dying, in particular, was far worse. I lived, so I’ve been able to benefit from some of the developments sooner than might otherwise have been the case. But, on balance PS, I can’t agree with you that Adolph’s actions resulted in a nett positive outcome for the world.
Kim, of course, has done far less damage than Adolph did. But I don’t think the last few weeks have been a nett positive, and I assume you wouldn’t suggest he has done it to help Crean?
I trust this answers the above question adequately for you PS?