Thursday, December 04, 2003

Latham: Dangerous and crude, or a master spinner of tales?: "Yesterday it used parliamentary question time to brand Latham as a threat to Australia's national security because of what it says is his hostility to the United States and the US alliance.

"This is dangerous ground for Latham and he knows it. After a radio interview in which Latham made comments which could be interpreted as confirming his famous opinion of George W. Bush as the most dangerous and flaky US President of modern times, the Government aimed its biggest guns at him with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister both branding his attacks on Bush as unacceptable and driven by 'tribal dislike' of the United States.

"They both said he was a danger to Australia's security interests. Latham chose to respond by announcing that he intended to retain as his foreign affairs policy spokesman Kevin Rudd, who initially sought the leadership in opposition to Latham and then voted for Kim Beazley. Rudd is the most pro-American member of the Labor frontbench and has good relationships with key Bush Administration figures."

Earlier this year, before the Iraq war, Latham reasonably described Bush as the 'most dangerous and incompetent American President in living memory.' Bush has been described by a Canadian minister as a 'moron' and is regarded as somewhat dim-witted and uninformed to say the least. But he could hardly be in the Reagan category. As far as dangerous goes, the Bush doctrine of permanent global military dominance, preventive war, and the mendacious 'war on terror' is certainly regarded as the most dangerous and extreme policy formation ever to come out of Washington: insane policies which can only lead to war, devastation, waste, and the spread of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism. But all Howard has to do, literally, is mention the 'Alliance' and Latham and the whole of Labor go to water. 'The US Alliance' in a single phrase sums up the whole of modern Australian politics: Howard, the Opposition, the common policy.

Labor now takes more money from the corporate world than it does from the union movement, and that as much as anything signifies that its last pretensions as a workers' or peoples' party are gone. Labor's policy is essentially the same neo-consevative, neo-liberal corporate globalisation agenda of the Coalition, with transparent attempts every now and then to read the polls rejecting this policy and affect a difference from the government when there is no difference in substance. Only the Greens can fill the current vacuum and provide real opposition, and they can only do that so long as they are committed to advancing real policy agendas and not merely accumulating votes.

No comments: