Monday, December 26, 2005

Lathamitis

So I'm still slogging my way through The Latham Diaries, and it's still quite a page turner. (It's just a pity about my goldfish-style attention span.) It's not that Latham's faults are necessarily intertwined with his strengths, as some have said, but more that he seems to move so quickly from one to the other.

Although I realise that I'm a bit behind, say, the world, in my comments on the book here, most of the material being discussed is at the very least a year old anyway, so I'd hope another couple of months on top of that shouldn't be too stressful.

Latham's January 4 2004 entry starts off strong with a few dot points on his policy ideas for the upcoming year. As evidenced by the plentitude of Latham's essays (here and here)and even books on policy related matters (mostly economic or community - socio-economic? - based), this is the area in which he excels, and it is in stark contrast to Beazley's reactionary Opposition. So as a new leader, Latham came on strong, and his diary entry is a valid record of that.

But then he fell into that same hole as always - the same one he never seemed to see.

"Saw the enemy [Liberal Party members] today in the Trust Box at the SCG for Australia versus India," he begins. That's all fine. He goes on to detail the perks and extravagances of his day, and the fact that "it's the world's best job: great view of the ground, chat away about the game, food and grog laid on, and you get paid for it".

Sure thing.

But then, his description of the other Trust Box guests: "a combination of ex-sporting heroes, business donors and political hangers-on, all enjoying the largesse with their nosebags on".

Er, what's that Mark, face still too stuck in your own nosebag to see the hypocrisy here?

The thing is, there's no dishonesty here, really. Latham admits the perks afforded to him, and he doesn't proceed to "Labor in theory but elitist in practice" displays as the others he criticises do, but it's his failure to realise the parallels between his own position and those he so admonishes that leaves him on such shaky ground. Latham's views are for the most part well thought out, defensible, and measured, but until he realises that most people are quick to turn into hypocrites the second free stuff starts getting piled at their feet, he'll continue be seen as the man who never saw the forest for the trees.

And I guess there's no point thinking otherwise now: he's set it all down in print.

3 comments:

Jill said...

Wow you can tell this is the "serious" one because of that professional looking interface, huh brad?

i want to read the latham diaries.

happy now?

Anonymous said...

this is Liz. I am commenting in your blog!

pandaobscura said...

Jill, you seem to be implying that I'm not a professional - which is such an enormous untruth that I don't even know how to begin to defend myself.

So I won't ;)