As I Please: Albo, Mick and the Luck of the Labor Party

Sunday, 11.05 am

At Evan Williams’s pre-Christmas lunch party yesterday (with John Bell, Ross Gittins, Gill Appleton, Myfanwy Horne, Leo Schofield, Viv Skinner, John Edwards, Geoff Lehman, Ed Campion and a goodly number of greybeard eminences with faces I know and names I forget, but not, this year, Gough Whitlam, or Margaret), I found Brian Johns aghast at at having heard of that morning’s Insiders’ comparison of Albo with Mick Young, Mick who could quiet or quench or quash a month of bad headlines with a mild one-liner on the floor of the House. Albo is fine, we torpidly agreed, but not, no, not, no, never, in Mick’s class.

Faced with Craig Thompson’s night of overpaid strumpets on an ill-used union credit card, for instance, he would have said, ‘Well, you get lonely in Melbourne. Next question?’ Besieged by the current Murdochist-Marxist theory that Labor’s work is nearly none, its agenda now largely enacted, and it should henceforth withdraw from the scene and go to bed with a hot water bottle, Mick would have said, ‘Yeah, it’s like someone saying, ‘Well, Edison’s invented the light bulb, so his life work is done. Let’s fire him before he invents the movies.’

If Mick had survived and Kim Beazley Senior died in 1996, we sluggishly agreed, Kim Junior would have become PM in 1998 and the Howard Era aborted eftsoons and Kim now on a twenty-five majority and affably yielding the throne at sixty-three to Tanner, Shorten, McKew or Combet after thirteen years in power. But he needed Mick’s help with those three extra seats in ’98. And it’s a pity.

At his funeral Kim said, ‘In politics, there are no friends, only allies. And Mick Young was my friend.’

And Gough Whitlam said, ‘Mick was the luck the Labor Party had, and now it’s gone.’

It’s fifteen years on and that great good fortune has not returned.

And so it goes.

If some spiritualist whiz can put me or McTernan or Hawker or his disciple Swanny in touch with Mick I am keen he do so.

We need his counsel, sorely, now.

And so it went.

2.05 pm

Ross Gittins appears to detest me.

I wonder why that is?

2.21 pm

We left at 5 and saw We Need To Talk About Kevin at the Roseville Cinema at 6.

I was I must admit struck by the reclusive, dark-eyed mass-murderer Kevin Katchadourian’s behavioural similarities to those of Kevin Rudd: the unforgiving hatred of those kind to him; the defiant refusal of the most ordinary social politeness; a willingness to masturbate while others are watching him; the continuing contempt for all of the rules of the game as it is commonly played; the curious belief that he is Chosen while all his allies and friends are mere grubs beneath the harrow of Time which he alone is driving; a willingness to smash up the whole community, and the peace of mind of the town, or the democracy, just to reassert his primacy, his overweening specialness, his underacknowledged or unsung genius, his command of all creation.

I am told by my friend Steve Ramsey he has Asperger’s Syndrome and is a classic case of it. I will write more on this later, or Ramsey will.

My review of the movie is above, or below.