August 19

A “narrative” for the government?

…Preacher Paul proposes…

So the government is lacking a “narrative,” indeed an “overarching narrative.” 

Paul Keating, speaking ex cathedra, decreed this on the ABC TV’s 730 Report (6 August 2008).

Accordingly his words have been received as infallible among the nation’s chattering class.

The “narrative” has instantly become, as the editor of The Australian puts it, the “new political buzzword” (Political plot in need of a narrative,” The Weekend Australian editorial 16-17 August,2008).

 

In recent days the “conversation” in the salons of Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne has been a lament about the Rudd Government's lack of a narrative, at least one which would please them.


 

 

…Mr. Rudd should listen to Paul Keating…


Malcolm Mackerras was, I think, the first to predict Labor’s victory in the last Federal election and in John Howard’s electorate.

In his view, Mr. Rudd should listen to what Mr. Keating is saying about a narrative, which Mr. Keating believes is  essential to the success of a government.

 However, he makes this interesting comparison:

“Each of Keating and Rudd has won a single general election, Keating in March 1993 when Labor won 80 of the then 147 seats in the House of Representatives, and Rudd in November 2007 when Labor won 83 of the 150 seats.

“So the victories were of roughly similar magnitude. Also similar was the reason for victory.

“In 1993 a majority of Australians rejected John Hewson's proposal for a Goods and Services Tax. In 2007 a majority of Australians rejected John Howard's Work Choices legislation. 

“The difference between the two cases is that Keating adopted a narrative for his government whereas Rudd did not.

“The following general election in March 1996 told us what a majority of Australians thought of Keating's narrative.

“We do not yet know whether Rudd will, unlike Keating, win a second general election.

“ If he has any sense, however, Rudd will listen to the advice of Paul Keating – and then do the opposite of what Keating advises.”

…defenders of the constitution and the flag should be on guard…

The editor of The Weekend Australian believes Labor’s victory in the last Federal election had deferred discussion in Australia over the malaise in the world’s social democratic or Labor parties.

This he says is  most evident in the UK where a Labor peer says  Gordon Brown was put on this earth “to make Tony Blair look competent. “

As we noted here (“2020 Summit blunder: governance experts wrong,” 30 March 2008), the elites have been telling Mr. Rudd what to do, particularly in a book edited by political commentator Professor Robert Manne.

Pity he and Dr. Mark McKenna did not do some rather elementary research before they made a particularly virulent attack on constitutional monarchists in promoting that book.

To return to the editor of The Australian, he  says “the warriors from the cultural Left” are reading too much into the election on 24 November 2007.

For them it was “the slaying of the Howard dragon, the end of Brutopia and a brave new dawn, if not for humanity, then at least for the humanities faculties.”

But Mr. Rudd does not seem moved by much in the left agenda, except for some cosmetic matters.

This call for this overarching narrative must put defenders of our constitutional system and our flag on guard.

As Paul Keating said:

“So I think… (we should) …also to say goodbye to QE2. You can't get around in Asia saying by the way we borrowing the monarch of another country, the Queen of Great Britain is our head of state.”

Calling for a republic, without the decency of telling the voters what sort of republic they are proposing, and why, and what new flag they have in mind, is an easy option for manipulative politicians.

It seems some politicians are quite prepared to undermine the stability of our system for short term gain.  

 


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