The leadership battle for the leadership of the Australian Labor Party is great fun, at least if you are not a serious supporter fan of it. And it is probably great fun for some of them too, even though it should not be.
When Kevin Rudd was elected as Prime Minister, I have to admit I was wrong. I thought the likelihood was that he would promptly be replaced by a person with more left-wing support, just as moderate Andrew McIntosh was knifed by the more left-wing Ken Livingstone as Major of London; but my error was merely one of timing. It was some months before Julia Gillard knifed Kevin Rudd in the back; see 24th June 2010 Ruddy Cheek at http://www.users.on.net/~rjfenwickelliott/diary2010.html.
The effect of the recent battle is probably to render them both unelectable. So much dirty laundry has come out over the last few days that it is hard to see how either of them could run a credible campaign at a general election. So the battle is essentially for the job of Leader of the Opposition in Waiting.
There is an interesting parallel with the UK Labour Party in its long years in the wilderness in the UK under Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock. The powers that be – or rather, the powers that were – in the Labour Party (largely the Trades Unions) evidently preferred to have a leader they liked in opposition than a leader they did not much like in power. That did not change until Tony Blair took control; he was much more focussed on winning elections and was good at it (in fact, it turned out that that was the only thing that he was good at).
The polls show that Kevin Rudd would have a much better chance of winning a general election than Julia Gillard. But the Australian Labor Party likes Julia better, so they will probably vote for her on Monday morning. And they will probably lose the next general election. And Tony Abbott, as the next Prime Minister, will probably unroll a good portion of what the present government has been busy doing. And the Australian Labor Party will probably stay in opposition for quite a while. And the Australian economy will probably thrive for the next decade. And we will probably neither fry nor drown.
Which is all good, except it will be less deal less hilarious to watch than the current bun fight fun.