A woman who made the week's news
And what a week it was! The Labor Party threatens to tear itself at the seams, as those who sympathise with Simon Crean's bid to protect his pre-selection for his parliamentary seat made public their criticisms of the ALP's gormless leader (Beazley) and the party's destabilising faction fighting, while the right-wing faction criticised them for being public about it.
Julia Gillard has been especially vocal in her criticism of the factionalism and of Beazley. Perhaps she decided to take International Women's Day (which was last Wednesday) to heart and come out of her corner fighting. I almost felt like cheering.
Still, I don't know whether to cry at the ALP's utter uselessness at focussing on getting Howard out of government, or cheer at the possibility of a massive overhaul and renewal. Julia Gillard for PM? Maybe a disintegration, then split, and the ALP left aligning with the Greens to form a new Social Democratic party? (No, I'm not holding my breath.)
If you believe Black Inc's new Quarterly Essay, you would doubt the worth of waiting for a Social Democratic ALP coming to save us. So says Clive Hamilton, in Quarterly Essay 21, What's Left? The Death of Social Democracy:
The Australian Labor Party has served its historical purpose and will wither and die as the progressive force of Australian politics.What a fascinating idea. For many years, I thought the left of the ALP too weak and compromised to make its social democratic ideals work in practice – the party's right had too profound a control over policy and government under Hawke and Keating, and they pushed their economic neo-liberal agenda to the hilt. I believed ALP social democracy dead already.
Now, under a Howard regime, I've begun to actually mourn its demise in the rest of the ALP – to miss the semblance and vestiges of social democracy the ALP found convenient to perpetuate through the 90s. Gillard seems to remind me of it – its promises.
Hamilton seems to think the death is pretty self-evident (15 years after many of us thought so). Perhaps Julia Gillard and the rest of those from across the ALP spectrum who've taken issue with ALP factional 'warlords' are suggesting that the news of their death is grossly exagerated...
By the way, I marked International Women's Day by remembering to kiss my partner – while we were on the train going home after an outing in the City. It was a nice Melbourne day.