Actually, that’s really quite simple. Anything that takes integrity. And anything that takes courage. This is a political party that is now so dependent on opinion polls and focus groups that it doesn’t cross the fucking street without market-testing whether it should look left or right for traffic first.
(A digression: it should look left. Then maybe it might notice that all the traffic in that direction has long since passed it.)
Which is a shame.
Because right now, it has the chance to really, really fuck with the people who are giving it grief. The big end of town has been calling the shots for the ALP ever since Hawke became PM, and in the nearly thirty years since then, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone at Labor HQ that some of that mighty governemental power could be used to create laws that would reduce the power of the very people whose power they live and die in fear of.
It’s true that Wayne Swan does seem to grasp this, although his ability to tie his words to a legislative agenda remains to be demonstrated. Still, he’s setting a good example for the rest of the party. You might think they’d follow it.
But no. In this country of the blind, our one-eyed government is apparently afraid to clear its fucking throat in case someone in the Murdoch press says mean things about them. Here’s the thing: you’ve lost those bastards already, Julia. But you could hurt them. You could reduce their power to hurt you. And if you were smart about it, you could do it in a way that actually gained you votes. You could take the little guy’s side against big media, and be loved for it.
You could do the same thing against the mining industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and not a few others that have been thorns in your side. You could remind them who really has the power here.
Sure, you’d probably lose the next election if you did.
But let’s face it, on current form, you’re going to do that anyway.
A long time ago, the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth said something wise. He said that it is better to die on your feet than live on your knees. He was right. It is.
But that would require courage. That would require believing in something, standing for something. That would require pride in your party’s traditions. That would require the parliamentary ALP, as individuals, to possess a measure of self-respect.
And the ALP doesn’t do that anymore.