Tanner's attack on Nelson reveals a deeper truth of Lib-Lab Tweedle-Dum, Tweedle-Dee
Topic: aust govt
Opposition Leader Nelson attempted an Obama (speak for 30 minutes without notes) at the National Press Club last Tuesday 18 March 08. His talk had a(nother) whiff of faux conviction politician, and over reaching, with personal anecdotes regarding tragedy in medical practise, especially by comparison with sincere alpha aggressive rivals like Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and departed John Howard MP - all feared for their capacity for ‘wet work’ – that is capacity to damage the ALP yet now in Govt despite all that: The confidence and clarity of these anti ALP types are presumably based on their deeply held convictions and life experience, right or wrong. Does Nelson have that conviction, right or wrong?
The credibility gap, that Annabel Crabb's article in the Herald 21-23 March 08 above is reinforcing, builds on the dangerous satire of strongly performing Lindsay Tanner in Parliament question time last week: Framing Nelson as a barracker for ‘two AFL teams in the one competition, both St Kilda, and Sydney Swans’ (previously South Melbourne). It's superficially pursuasive line by tough guy Tanner.
This in turn seeks to resonate with Nelson famously having been a member of the ALP who then became a member of the Liberal Party, and now it's leader. That might look like a guy who is confused, which can be a fatal reputation for ‘a leader’. But is it? An equally likely explanation is that it looks like two parties who have converged.
Tanner himself is under severe pressure in his own seat of Melbourne from the burgeoning (left and yet environmentally conservative) Green Party. The times suit the Greens message and up until now the ALP’s tactic has simply been to steal their rivals clothes with such as Peter Garrett (former president of the Australian Conservation Foundation) as double agent out of the green movement in Victoria, but also such as Jeff Angel in NSW (director of the Total Environment Centre and ACF satellite ).
Rudd has won the election for being in many ways the ALP Christian conservative version of John Howard, newer model, which is always nice for greater reliability and extended product life span. A little different, but a lot the same.
Starts to look alot like the accusation against Brendan Nelson’s reputation for “sliding around” and “question of character” (to borrow veteran analyst Laurie Oakes terminology from a recent crunching Sunday 9 interview) is actually the same pragmatic political 'washing powder' whichever the Party packaging.
Yes Nelson does slide, yes he does present like a Jim Hacker, Yes Minister type compromise candidate between Abbott (hard right social and economic policy) and Turnbull (open minded, moderate on social policy, dry on economics) the short term non descript ‘interim’ leader standing for everything and nothing. The same accusation made against Rudd in early 2007 with some resonance.
Is there really any difference between the modern spiv poll driven developer/special interest funded opportunistic ALP, and the modern opportunistic poll driven developer/special interest funded Liberal Party? To ask the question is to answer it.
And here’s another reason why we take Tanner’s prima facie attack on Nelson with a grain of salt – we are having a post VFL/tragic/religious sporting life experience with anterior cruciate ligament injury to prove it. And 4 best & fairest trophies too.
We remember St Kilda as a pretty dirty thuggish team in the 1970ies. We started out barracking for Essendon like Tanner does, as a young bloke, but got so disgusted with their thuggery we moved on to Fitzroy aka Roy Boys, who are now the Brisbane Bears. The metaphor doesn't bear too much deconstruction does it? Both dirty, both unlovable, different colours but essentially the same. Just like the ALP and Liberal Party. So Nelson embodies that duplicitous duality, as does Rudd, as does Tanner.
That’s why Tanner’s attack has the unintended consequence of saying as much about himself as it does about Nelson. How ironic.
But there is actually another valid disjunction between the ALP and Coalition thanks to the former leadership of Simon Crean (and even Mark Latham) as per this shocker in the Sydney Morning Herald sourced to the UK Guardian:
21 March 2008 Iraq's civilian dead: why US won't do the maths
The last several paragraphs relate largely to the good Dr Nelson's time as Howard Government Defence Minister, with the hypocratic oath worth how much exactly?:
The first survey found at least 98,000 such deaths up to October 2004. The second survey, in the summer of 2006, interviewed a separate but also randomly chosen sample of 1849 households and found an excess of 655,000 deaths up to June 2006, of which 601,027 were said to be from violence rather than natural causes. This amounts to 2.5 per cent of Iraq's population, or more than 500 deaths a day since the invasion.
The estimates were explosive and were widely reported around the world. They met instant dismissal from the White House and London. "I don't consider it a credible report," Mr Bush said. Mr Blair's spokesman said the study's result "was not one we believe to be anywhere near accurate".
The editor of The Lancet, Richard Horton, admits the figure "seems crazy". "But the second study validated the first one. The pre-invasion mortality rate is the same in both, and the upward lines of the post-invasion rate are exactly the same."
He is particularly pleased by information unearthed last year by a freedom-of-information request by the BBC's Owen Bennett-Jones. This found that the chief scientific adviser to the British Ministry of Defence described the methods used by the second survey as "close to best practice". The adviser warned the Government to be "cautious" about criticising the findings .
The most detailed criticism of the Baltimore study appeared in the January issue of the National Journal, a right-of-centre magazine aimed at US policy-makers. It described the study's Iraqi field director, Riyadh Lafta, as "a child-health official in Saddam Hussein's ministry of health when the ministry was trying to end international sanctions against Iraq". It said he claimed high rates of child malnutrition during the sanctions period without giving data from the pre-sanctions period by which they could be measured. It alleged he and his interviewers for the study worked "under brutal political pressure" at a time when the ministry was controlled by Moqtada al-Sadr, the anti-occupation Shia religious leader.
The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health defends Dr Lafta, saying he was one of few doctors who never joined Saddam's Baath party. He has often worked with international groups since 2003 and "asked that he not be contacted by the media out of concern for his safety and that of his family".
Finally, it points out that more recent data suggests an even higher figure. The British polling firm Opinion Research Business asked 1720 Iraqi adults last summer if they had lost family members by violence since 2003; 16 per cent had lost one, and 5 per cent two. Using the 2005 census total of 4,050,597 households in Iraq, this suggests 1,220,580 deaths since the invasion.
Posted by editor
at 11:20 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 24 March 2008 3:28 PM NZT