That his politics were imperfect, born of his own flaws, was the very value of his presence.
If Latham’s value lay in his flaws, he was one valuable bunny.
He was never to be Prime Minister, we know that now. Yet he was about creating a new Prime Ministership, and this he may well yet achieve.
He already has. That new Prime Ministership includes control of the Senate.
The Latham message is still working through. It is not so much a message we can receive of words, nor of actions. It’s one of inner belief.
Latham’s message sure isn’t one of words, as Latham biographer Bernie Lagan confirmed the other day:
BERNIE LAGAN: Um, well, we talk by the email. Um, I got a cryptic message from him a couple of days ago, after some early publicity about the book leaked out, but I haven’t heard what he thinks of the book. I will no doubt hear.
ELEANOR HALL: What was the cryptic message?
BERNIE LAGAN: ”Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever.”
ELEANOR HALL: Seriously?
BERNIE LAGAN: That’s what he said.
ELEANOR HALL: That’s the extent of the email?
BERNIE LAGAN: That was the extent of the email, yeah.
The man’s a poet. Back to Bosler:
The message is that you must be – read that again – you must be – who you are. Yours is not to go through the motions of life, nor to have life happen to you. Yours is to live it.
Thank you, Dr. Phil.
Latham represented our real life in politics. That Latham’s political flaws and personal flaws tore him away from leading the country is not the issue. The issue is that once again the gaping chasm between our real life and politics had been bridged.
I thought the issue was “Ease the Squeeze” or whatever the hell it was Latham used to go on about. “Bridge the Gaping Chasm” probably didn’t test as well with focus groups.
Before Latham, something within us slowly died. John Howard appealed to that part of us. He does it still. He appeals to the deadedness within us. Mark Latham burst onto the scene and appealed to the life within us. We raged at him. We saw hope in him. One way or another, we were motivated once again by real life in politics, and we responded.
By re-electing John Howard with an increased majority.
Before Latham, we were threatened with suffering the silent, insidious retreat from our real life engagement, metaphorically back into the deluded individual solace of our private homes, represented not.
Bosler knows all about “deluded individual solace”.
Blamed was Latham for his tendency to speak of idealism, or its immature presentation, or its unworkability, but his focus was on the positive and the life force, and that which enriches us in real terms.
A tax cut enriches us in real terms.
Years ago we were told we were, all in all, just another brick in the wall. That may well prove to be so, but in today’s world Mark Latham’s unique political thrust has given us the political measure to not just be another spouse in the house.
Make up your mind, pal. Dr Phil or Dr Seuss? Speaking of “Latham’s ghost”, it still haunts the official ALP site. Google sends you there on a “Mark Latham” search, although Latham’s name no longer appears. Spooky.
UPDATE. Alan Ramsey in the SMH: “The media political class is in thrall to Beazley, always has been.” Except when they were drooling over Latham, of course. Still, nice to have Ramsey’s confirmation of the media’s Labor bias.
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