Yesterday we saw a changing of the guard at the pointy end of Australian politics. Today I both hear and read that many people out there are accusing the new Prime Minister of being a bloodthirsty, backstabbing cow. The 'cow' part is another show. No male would ever be assigned such a label. But I'm not frittering away one of this weekend's small chunks of free time to write about gender silliness.
In the immediate aftermath of yesterday's events, Facebook and Twitter, as well as the freebie rag mX carried as many brainless blurts about Julia being a backstabber as they did hollow proclamations of joy that we now had a female PM. Sure...it's great, for what it's worth, I guess. Personally, how a leader acquits themselves in such a role holds more truck with me than what kind of genitalia they have. For every moderate or outright leftie who is happy to see a female PM, I have two words for you: Margaret Thatcher.
So the 'woman as leader' thing is pretty timid stuff, as I indicated hereabouts yesterday. It's the backstabbing part I have a wee problemette with.
There seems a great deal of anger about the fact that 'we didn't vote for Julia'. For some odd reason, people in Australia think that they voted for John Howard and Kevin Rudd. They didn't. That's not how it works.
People have been moaning about not choosing Julia Gillard themselves. But the fact is the Westminster System does not provide a facility for direct election of a head of government. You NEVER vote for the PM. You vote for your member of parliament and THEY choose the leader. You vote for a government. In 2007 you voted for a Labor government which just happened to be led by Kevin Rudd. Kevin Rudd did not have a mandate to govern for three years...the Labor Government did. So changing horses midstream, as they say, is a perfectly acceptable thing to do.
Ah, you say, but Julia was disloyal. A backstabber. A Brutus to Rudd's
I say, with all due respect, what a load of hairy arse. The people who are bleating on about party loyalty are the same ones who cry foul when politicians go with party over conscience. Where should a politician's loyalties lie? With party or people? Here's how it went for Julia. She saw a man whose ability to sell his ideas and blow through his mistakes was all but gone. His numbers were woeful. He was a goner. She had been loyal and, ironically, was spurred by an accusation from the PM of being just the opposite. What to do? Allow the incumbent to take the party to the next election and risk a quick return to Ratboy Abbott and his ilk? Or stand up and lead the party herself in the hopes that they could win another term and push on with what they'd started?
In my view, she may not have shown great loyalty to Kevin Rudd, but that's not her first priority. Her focus should be on the people. In that light, she's not the backstabber.
It should surprise me that people don't have a basic understanding of their own political system but it doesn't. Hell, people don't even understand political ideology anymore. Look at this, from the Letters section of the mX today:
PUPPET LEADER: Gillard is a disloyal, two-faced backstabber and she will be controlled by the ultra-conservative old men who put her in power. - Kerrie
I sat here for ten minutes trying to write about how fucking stupid that is, but I yield.
Now, I know that mX is a rag, and until a few months ago its sole purpose seemed to be covering the daily collapses, rages and blowjobs of Amy Winehouse. I also know that writers or sub-editors drop a few troll comments into the Letters section to inflame readers' sensibilities in order to provoke comment. But sadly, some of the comments are from actual readers (I use the word advisedly).
Why do I keep picking it up for the second leg of my journey home? I'm perfectly happy reading a book from Springwood to the city (right now it's a nice, light bit of fare about Irish TV, passed on to me by the delightful Megan). I should just keep reading the book for the short trip west. But I always get one. I like to see if any of my acty friends have their pic on page two, getting a free bit of pubclity for a show. Then I read the section where commuters relate the stupid comments they have overheard. It's called 'Overheard'. Other than that I try to leave it be. There's no news in it. The stories they publish as 'news' are essentially the bits of fluff I have read online in the half hour before I go to work at ten to six.
I really try to avoid the letters because, sadly, they affirm my nagging and loathsome feeling that people are sucked out idiots. Or maybe it's just people who write letters to the editor. Mind you, I suppose a blog is just a vehicle for someone to bitch endlessly without having to buy a paper to see if they got a run. So, on that note, I'll shut up...for a little while.