Australia politicians have sometimes tried to massage the egos of their constituents by labelling things as "world class" - universities, public transport systems (hah!), cities, bridges, whatnot. I've always found it a little transparent and needy. If something's so good, why do you need to draw attention to its excellence in such a obviously try-hard way?
But I've changed my mind. We're world class at speedy palace coups. 24 hours from plan to execution, with most Australians only hearing about it 3 hours beforehand or less. Hoping to wake to a victory over Serbia, and the possible entry to the World Cup Final 16, they got a new government instead.
It could be worse. Imagine Rudd dispatched Allende-style, with a bullet to the back of the head and loyal staffers thrown off helicopters into the Pacific Ocean. Or the various factions in the ALP could have skirmished like the Red Shirts and Yellow Shirts in Thailand, with tear gas, rubber bullets, the odd sniping and a 100+ body count around the shores of Lake Burley Griffith.
Am I exaggerating? Of course, I'm exaggerating. Australia doesn't do political violence very well, or very often either. This only makes the country look good compared to countries that are very adept at political violence, like Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. (The two countries whose asylum seekers were frozen out of refugee processing by the Rudd government.) Still, no one was physically hurt when Kevin07 became Kevin-Null-0, and even the possibility of last minute verbal stoushing was averting by him resigning in the last hour.
Never the less, the episode is the biggest stink in 2010 - for Australia, and for the region. I'd told my wife Wednesday night that a challenge may be on. But it was her father ringing from Việt Nam Thursday morning that let her know of Gillard's victory. It's big news over there, and why wouldn't she be? She felt sorry for Rudd, and indignant that he got toppled by his own party - feeling shared by many of her friends. I'm not too happy myself. I always thought the Ruddbot was too much a control freak for his own good, and too much an authoritarian for Australia. But he doesn't deserve the emotional agony he must be feeling now. Imagine - a successful leader beating John Howard in an election where the incumbent lost his own seat. And now disposed before he even completed his first term of office. The whole affair is a little bit shabby for my taste.
These feelings are by no means universal. Some are glad Gillard is in, and others say Rudd's character flaws lead to his downfall. Most are having a big "WTF" moment right now, including many of my workmates? I'm too trashed right now to summarize all the reactions. So my advice for anyone at home is to seek out better analysis than mine. I advise you click Guy Rundle's piece Rudd hasn’t been too left or too right — he’s been too technical. The title matches what he says. Then plod over to Mark Bahnisch's essay on the Political Execution of Kevin Rudd. Matchbox summary - any bounce from Gillard's verve and charisma is going to be hampered by the shoddy way she got to power.
I have nothing else to add for now. Too much World Cup and too much trimming my own mental tangents have taken a toil on my faculties.Share on Twitter Share on Facebook