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.