Rudd and Gillard to win

I’m backing Rudd and Gillard to win in Monday’s leadership ballot both in the sense that I think they will win and in the sense that I think they should win.

The remorseless logic of leadership challenges is such as to guarantee the defeat of the incumbent in most cases. By the time there are enough people discontented enough to call on a challenge, the possibility of a convincing win for the incumbent has just about vanished. And anything less leaves them mortally wounded, while the challenger is encouraged to wait for another go.

In this case, Labor can’t afford a mortally wounded leader and there’s no time for a second round. So the logic is that those who are concerned about a win have to vote for the challengers.

As regards the substantive choice, I backed Rudd in 2003 and again in 2005. Since then I’ve only given up more on Beazley. Like lots of others apparently, I turn off as soon as he starts talking, even if I agree with what he’s saying at the time. On the other hand, Rudd has put in a solid performance, and shows some actual signs of thought.

The case for a change is even stronger when you consider the tickets as a whole. Macklin has been invisible as deputy leader (not always a defect in a deputy, but a disaster when the leader is as inchoate as Beazley). Gillard usually has something to say, and can attract attention when she says it.

I don’t know how this will run electorally, but I don’t see any reason Labor should suffer much damage from a change, assuming the losers retire gracefully.

42 thoughts on “Rudd and Gillard to win

  1. You got your wish. Let’s see how they go. Given the supporters’ history (they elected Latham) I am not too optimistic.
    Good government requires an effective opposition. Despite swio’s position I think that Rudd would have had a fair say in what course was taken on oil for food. I hope he chooses better over the next 10 or so months.

  2. “If you are dead in the water as Labour is, manning the lifeboats to avert sinking could be construed as the prudent thing to do.” 8

    Surely if a boat is dead in the water the prudent thing to do is to get it under way. Looks like Caucus is of the same mind.

  3. Homer,
    Metaphorically, it can be. A boat is always said to be “dead in the water” if it has no means of propulsion. In this case it looks like the ALP has judged a beached whale as causing it to be dead in the water. Perhaps if the ship was a whale we could see the ALP in that light.
    Metaphorically, I think I have my knickers in a knot.

  4. Ever since Tampa.

    That’s when Kim Beazley lost me. I don’t care if the back-room boys thought that it would cost votes; any position that countenanced the appalling dishonesty of the Howard government was unacceptable. Better to go down fighting than to go down a political coward.

    I’m too old to change my voting habits now, but it really has gone against the grain to have to vote for a Beazley-led ALP since Tampa. For me, any change is for the better.

    Oh, if only we had an ALP that was still at least fractionally left of centre. The ‘middle ground’ seems to have slipped into the realms of proto-fascism.

  5. I am pretty happy with today’s outcome for Labor. In particular they managed to avoid the catastrophe of a close vote, either way.

    I am also pretty sure that Howard et al would have strongly prefered Beazely. Wouldn’t surprise me if Howard stepped down soon, explaining it as a noble self-sacrificing handover to the next generation of leaders.

  6. Prof Q
    I have to agree with your assesment. Some twenty years ago I was peripherally invoved with Kim Beazley through work and politicking. While I found his message was often good he did not have the capacity to fire the masses. He always struck me as being a very good manager but not a good leader. Be that as it may I hope that history will remember him as a leader who, like Neil Kinnock, should have won an election but didn’t but in any event held together a dispirited party during its lowest ebb and helped rebuild it for eventual victory.

    And what of Howard and the conservatives? I cannot see Howard stepping down any time soon. However, if he continues to fail to articulate a succession plan he may hurt the conservatives in the long run. Given the benefits of incumbency he probably will win the next election but it is quite plausable that it may be at such cost that the aura of invincibilty that suurounds him will be irretrievably damaged, and with it his authority. This could in turn lead to a sucessful spill, or a bitter resignation once even he realises his political mortality. In such case any failure to establish a clear sucession plan may haunt the conservative for years to come. I would suggest that such a scenario is by no means impossible; in 1988 Thatcher was invincible. Two years later she was history, without any proper leadership the Conservative government limped along for far too long before the British public put it out of its misery.

    Anyway Kim, best of luck for the future. Unlike Thatcher I hope you accept the change in a magnanimous and graceful fashion, and that your talents will not be lost to the Australian public .

  7. Cpl said – “And what of Howard and the conservatives? I cannot see Howard stepping down any time soon. However, if he continues to fail to articulate a succession plan he may hurt the conservatives in the long run.”

    Unless something significant has changed and I have missed it, I am pretty sure that the Leader of the Liberal Party is an elected position. In that case Howard can’t have a succession plan. When Howard finishes, however that may be, then those that think they can win a ballot for the leadership put themselves forward and the party room votes.

    Talk of a succession plan is almost complete detachment from reality.

  8. ……as a commonwealth public servant, I want Rudd to win the next election and beef up massively the size of the public service….oh, the rent seeking opportunities !

  9. I hope that Howard loses the next election. Any lingering sympathy I may have with him on cultural conservatism has dissipated in his nasty over reach on IR.

    But I wish it could be to some one other than Rudd and Gillard. They appear to have learned nothing over the past decade about the follies and rorts of the cultural constructives. Looks like we will have to re-fight the Culture Wars all over again.

    On a more general psephological point, this election appears to be a critical test of the punters v polls hypothesis. THe punters still seem to think Howard can win, as show by Centrebet giving the Coalition $1.50 to ALP $2.50. Yet the polls have consistently shown that Howard will lose, to any half-way decent ALP leader.

    Its not entirely clear what has caused Howard’s fall from electoral grace. A mid-term slump combined with the periodicity of the electoral pendulum come to mind. But the two IRs – industrial relations and interest rates – have probably got a bit to do with it. THey are unlikely to turn around any time soon.

    If the punters are right and LN/P are returned then this will be a strong proof of Efficient Markets hypothesis. If the pollsters are right and the ALP win then EM will be reduced if not refuted.

    My educated guess is to slightly back the LN/P to win by a reduced margin. Where polls and punters disagree I go with punters.

    But I think Howard did his chances no good by ramming through IR legislation. In retropsect the L/NP winning the Senate was being handed a poisoned chalice. THe power went to their heads, same as Bush in Iraq.

  10. Jimmy the spiv obviously isn’t a public servant otherwise he would have know that little Gough has increased the public service at growth rates not seen since big gough.

    given the leadership was going on over the weekend that Nielsen was going on and everyone was saying Rudd was going to win that poll could be interpreted as the punters not only wanting a change of government but a change of ALP leadership.

  11. jack, $1.50 to $2.50 is hardly lock it in favouritism. And given that we’re still a long way from the election, I would be very surprised if the pool for that tote is very large at all. If I was a betting man (which I’m not) I would still reserve my judgement on the likelihood of a change of Government until much much closer to election day.

    I was incredibly heartened by Rudd mentioning Howard’s 22% interest rates as Treasurer on the 7.30 report the other night. About bloody time!! While interest rates are a foolish distraction, and houses are currently quite unaffordable, at least he’s fighting fire with fire.

    I think Howard will look tired and old by the time the election comes around. While Costello has shown he hasn’t got much in the locker when it comes to new policy ideas or charisma. I think Rudd has an excellent chance, but I’d like to see him in action for quite a few more months yet.

    I will predict that the News Ltd. opinion writers will be particularly awful in the next period.

  12. wilful Says:

    McMullan, not Rudd, should have been made ALP leader.

    If I was a betting man (which I’m not) I would still reserve my judgement on the likelihood of a change of Government until much much closer to election day.

    Ahh but then you might not get such good odds.

    I think Howard will look tired and old by the time the election comes around.

    He is already looking a bit torn and frayed around the edges. But he will probably have a big sack of goodies to hand out around election time, targetted tax-cuts and spending give-aways.

    I will predict that the News Ltd. opinion writers will be particularly awful in the next period.

    Possibly although these days its getting harder to tell the difference between general and particular awfulness in that quarter, for some of them at least.

  13. I too am intrigued by the betting market. And I’d also love to know the size of the pool. I suspect it is quite large. I think it is a disgrace the bookies are not required to advertise the pool in the interests of a fair go for the honest punter. The TAB always says what the pool is, but these online pirates seem to be operating according to a different set of laws. (Who writes this stuff?)

    Anyway the odds have quickly come back to $2.40/$2.50, where they have sat for a couple of years, after a brief spike to $2.80 or so.

    I have a savings plan where I tip a couple of wage units into ALP 2007 each month. Hence my jubilation at Rudd’s accession to the throne. Nothing like a stake in the political future of yr country.

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