I commented in an earlier thread that any attempt on Latho’s part to reach out to new constituencies or progress policy development seems doomed to be mired in a proxy fight on his leadership. But this isn’t Iron Mark’s only problem. Re-affirming the Schools policy, Medicare Gold and the “thrust” of the Forests Policy has gone down like a lead balloon. The government and the media will endlessly run the “economic responsibility” line. The NSW Right, Bill Ludwig & the AWU, sections of the Victorian union movement, and now the State Premiers are all gunning for him, not to mention a veritable army of former frontbenchers turned backbenchers – Tanner and McMullen being two of the most prominent.
Crean was destroyed by destabilisation and constant leaking. Bringing the Glimmer Twins, Swan and Smith into the tent is probably a variant on the “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” strategy. What are Latho’s chances? He’s hampered by the fact, like Crean, that his leadership partly rests on the support of the Left and sections of his own Right faction are deeply dissatisfied with his leadership, and unlike Crean, that he was a gamble that seems not to have paid off. An autocratic leadership style and a seeming unwillingness to take advice is not helpful either.
So, back to the Beazer? Or a nice whitebread politician with white teeth and a well-cut suit? Or can Latho hang on, and if so, how?
UPDATE: Latho says “I won’t be dumped as leader”. Never a good headline!
FURTHER UPDATE: Someone’s been leaking about Latho’s abusing Stephen Conroy for leaking.