Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Giving Meaning to Grief

Whenever I have a fit of grief I like to try and understand just what it is I’m mourning. I have not always been an admirer of Gough Whitlam, in fact I grew up in a household where Gough was seen as an ogre. My father detested him with a vengeance, well before Gough was considered cool, well before he really hit the national stage.

I probably don’t mourn Gough the man so much as what he stands for, dead or alive. You see, he had no fear of failure, something which seems to dog most of our political elite, and he didn’t fail! We only need to look at the Whitlam legacy to realise the changes he wrought in the short time in power; including healthcare and education reforms, recognition of Aboriginal land rights and others not yet rolled back.

Those reforms are now at risk because of his, currently, gutless party, and reticent leader Bill Shorten. To be sure the party and Bill Shorten  face a formidable foe in big money and the Murdoch media. Whitlam led a party still focused on the traditional spirit of collective and supportive community; that has gone out the window. The focus has drifted to the individual, to the self serving political culture preferred by the right, typified by Thatcher’s “there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women...”

Bloody Hell! Even when Labour does present positive, unifying and compassionate policy they can’t sell it. Is that because too many ALP MPs are busy covering their own ‘individual’ arses to have the guts to openly own Labor policy? Even Abbott’s individuals can get behind, and sell their simplistic divisive messages. They only fail when it comes to the ‘we the people’ game. “Team Australia” appeared stillborn because it sounds ridiculous out of the mouths of Team Divisive.

I was close to supporting my local Federal ALM member Lisa Chesters , but I know was just be supporting the bowl of insipid blancmange that is the current ALP. I’m perplexed by the current rash of ‘photo ops’ of ALP members, from heavyweights to also-rans in kiddie’s class rooms. What is the message? “It Might Be Time, when the kiddies are old enough to vote?” Sweet, and useless!!!

It is not difficult to identify policy targets and craft simple, repeatable messages to sell them. It just means behaving like a team, of championing those things the ALP has been long known for; social cohesion, compassion and equity. Well that, but probably in one and two syllable words. I know ‘m not the only person grieving Gough’s passing, don’t let it go to waste ALP, wake up and start fighting for our country! And keep it simple!

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