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Julia Gillard has announced a leadership ballot for Monday at 10 am
The most significant thing for me was that apart from appearing to be on the verge of tears at the press conference that she is trying to get Rudd to agree to go to the backbench and agree not to challenge again should he lose, something that I don’t think that he will do, why would he give up the inertia that his tactics have given him?
I will be watching this Soapy cliff-hanger with rapt attention
As I see it Rudd is presenting the party with a superb example of Hobson’s choice. a “heads they win or tails we lose” scenario for the ALP and I think that there is another possibility that has been not suggested in Ray’s post, Rudd may well just quit his seat if he can’t get the numbers at the next challenge. My reasoning goes like this, Rudd is a well known egomaniac and the only reason that he would want to retake the leadership now is if he thinks he has a chance of turning around the fortunes of the party not just enough to lose less badly than Gillard is certain to do but well enough to retain government. Thus he will need every possible day in the big chair if he is to stand any chance of doing this. Failing in the first ballot and then waiting her out will not be an option for a man of Rudd’s style because he knows that Gillard’s fortunes can only decline which would give him an ever worsening starting point and less time to save the day.
As much as he paid lip service to the old meme of better any* Labor Government than an Abbott government I think that he does not think this and with an eye to history he would rather be remembered as the man who pulled the pin on Gillard and her fellow plotters or as the party’s saviour staying on the Gillard express as it heads to that very big gap in the rails that is the next election.
With Rudd’s resignation from politics Gillard and Co will not have the confidence of the house and that means only one thing, an early general election at which Labor will be obliterated. Rudd can build and nurture the myth that he “could have been” the saviour of the party if only his fellow caucus members had found the courage to go back to him and turn their backs on the faceless men of the factions. He will go into mythologising himself with a fervour unseen since Malcolm Fraser lost his trousers and he, like Fraser, will probably end up carving a new niche for himself in the Australian political landscape as an “elder statesman” seeking to paint all of his (many) failings as examples of his exemplary moral virtue rather than just the usual political expediencies that are de rigueur for the current Labor Government.
Of course this is only my reading of one possibility that is coloured by my belief that Rudd is on a “crash through or crash” trajectory here and that he will accept only victory or political death not the slow burn of dissembling from the back bench and a third go at getting back the big chair when it will be to late for him to save the government..
As the Chinese curse goes, we are living in interesting times indeed..