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Mark Latham: ‘Labor rat’ or dangerous mongoose?

Mark Latham: ‘Labor rat’ or dangerous mongoose?

As Grace Collier writes, someone with nothing to lose needs to be taken seriously indeed. That Mark Latham now treads the launchpad of a probable political re-entry should greatly concern his detractors. More so his old Labor brethren, firmly when it suits them, cemented in the boring fairy tales of Labor folklore. You know the old pub parking lot spruiks from the back of a ute, schooner in hand, exhorting those not busy running off to SP bookies to ‘vote early and vote often.’ And reveries of that ‘light on the hill’—someone left the dunny door open—while menacing wharfies coursed the throng for donations. Mark Latham could be an apprentice Trump. Would you bet on Latham or Shorten, or even Turnbull to be victor in the near future? Which one will be the cobra?

Those sledging Mark Latham are foolish. The last person on earth that anyone should ever get in a fight with is someone who has absolutely nothing to lose.

Source: News Corp

Mark Latham is a king rat with a bite that could cause serious harm

Someone with nothing to lose should always be considered an extremely dangerous person. Someone who has nothing to lose will not care what anyone thinks or says about them. They will not care about the harm they may suffer. Instead they will stand, their back to the wall, and fight with every ounce of their being, and consequently they will usually win.

When Latham is called a “rat” or a “king rat” by his former Labor colleagues, it doesn’t hurt him in the least. The public don’t see why the term Labor rat is a pejorative one.

This week our commentator Troy Bramston said a rat was “a term enveloped in Labor mythology” and “somebody who joins or supports Labor’s opponents, breaking solidarity”.

A rat is more than this, though. The sordid reality is that a rat was a term originally coined by criminals. A rat was someone who put observance of the law over blind allegiance to their fellow crims and subsequently informed on them to the police.

In the labour movement, a rat is someone who gives away dirty secrets and reveals damaging information about dodgy conduct. In the labour context, people who see and know things are expected to keep their heads down and their mouths shut, and in the end the rewards will come to those who wait.

This is the contract that binds and this, too, is the reason for Labor’s shrillness. Latham doesn’t need their rewards, he knows where the skeletons are buried and he is quite happy to point them out.

This week a spectacular ding-dong unfolded on Paul Murray Live on Sky News between Latham and our commentator Graham Richardson. In my opinion, the person who looked rattled was Richo, but you are encouraged to Google the clip and form your own conclusion.

In the heat of the argument, Latham reeled off a long list of names and details, including a mention of a Swiss bank account. Richo’s mouth opened and closed like a gasping goldfish. It was spectacular television if nothing else. In the aftermath, on Twitter, journalists circulated titbits about Richo’s past, using pages from published books and detailing allegiances with known criminals, historical activities and financial transactions.

None of Richo’s past activities or alliances has ever resulted in formal adverse findings or prosecution. Nevertheless, both the exchange and the fallout stress the point that those with something to lose should avoid fighting with those who don’t.

In terms of media-pulling power, Latham is a perfect 10. Any airtime he offers will be greedily gobbled up.

Latham could have a cap made with “Labor rat” embroidered on the front. He could cheerfully do the rounds of all the television stations, proudly wearing it, and reveal “why me being a Labor rat is a good thing for people like you”.

Latham also could have some other caps made up with “Labor grub” across them. These could be waved at the cameras, with offers to post them around to key Labor people who he could nominate, elaborating on the reasons for the nomination.

If there is going to be a war between the Labor grubs and the Labor rats, then let’s get on with it. It is not too hard to see who the public will side with, is it?

Latham’s faults are well-documented, out in public, and he is the first to admit to them. He has nothing to hide. Unlike those he criticises, he isn’t regarded as shady, shifty, dodgy or untrustworthy. To the contrary, he appears honest, so honest that the main complaint about him is that his brutal honesty is just too brutal.

I spoke with Latham for the first time this week, and he had a few comments to make about the present state of politics, which is his main concern. “The public is crying out for a third choice, and that would rapidly improve Australian democracy,” he says, adding: “A third party would shake up the system and produce a better policy debate — it is unfortunate our minor parties are so fragmented.”

In Australia, the traditional Left-Right paradigm is increasingly irrelevant. Instead, the divide is between insiders and outsiders, and those for or against government control, and those with or without skin in the game. Insiders are those with power but no skin in the game. Their living is secure, derived from government funding or government control of human behaviour or markets. Their tendency is to prefer the control of government, or institutions, over the population.

Outsiders are those with skin in the game and no power. Their living is derived from the free market or subject to the market. If they fail, they will suffer the consequences. They resist government control and take the view that any government we have should work for them, particularly since they create the wealth to fund it.

“The Australian economy is not working for the people,” Latham says. He points to the US, and says that this was and is key to the difference between our nations.

“My preferred choice is that the minor parties stop competing against each other and come together for the next election.”

Perhaps a merger is out of the question, but some formalised alliance may be possible.

In the US, Donald Trump was elected on a promise to make the government work for the people. In Australia, the feeling is the people work for the government. No one promising to reverse all that, and with the machinery to deliver it, has come along yet.

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • DT 14/07/2018, 7:29 am

    The public is crying out for a third choice … the traditional Left-Right paradigm is increasingly irrelevant …

    Astute observation.

    In fact most of us seem to be confused as the Turnbull Party emerges from the ruins of the Liberal Party and joins hands with the Union Labor Party and their Green partners.

    Worse, they dance to the tunes of foreigners, United Nation officials and the manipulators otherwise described as crony capitalists profiteering from UN agenda.

    Elected representatives selling out their constituents and nation.

  • luk1955 14/07/2018, 8:04 am

    IMHO, the Labor, Liberal and Greens are the Major Unitary Party. Try to find differences in their policies. Almost impossible. Any vote for one of those treasonous bastards is a vote for all the major parties, none who represent what the majority of people think or feel. The MUP is committed to the principles of the international bank cartel, which is to wipe out the middle class and make slaves of all but the elite.

    I used to think Latham was a loonie, but now he is making more sense than even some of the minor parties. I haven’t heard his views on that vile death cult called islam, and that for me is the most important issue.

  • Cliff 14/07/2018, 8:04 am

    I never – and I mean NEVER – believed I would ever find myself saying this, but I strongly suspect I am now one of many staunch conservatives who would vote for Mark Latham if given the chance.

    • Botswana O'Hooligan 14/07/2018, 8:23 am

      Very observant of you Cliff, and when you come to think of it we know what Latham and TA stand for because they come straight out with it whereas we haven’t the faintest idea of what the likes of turnbull stand for (except for himself or themselves) and they blow with the wind to stay in a job at any or all cost.

    • Cliff 14/07/2018, 8:27 am

      Interesting. I’ve been blocked from posting here (on another thread) as a spammer. Are my posts too long, or too frequent Ed? [No Cliff, rarely do we block or delete. For reasons unknown your comment was caught by our powerful security system and sent to spam. You have been restored. We can’t see why but something gets transmitted from some people’s computers. Our system to date has blocked 184,142 malicious login attempts.Ed]

      • TommyGun 14/07/2018, 3:24 pm

        That’s probably about 184,000 frustrated Left-Green asshats out there in cyber-land, fuming like hell that they can’t get on MM to insult us! LOL.

  • GTD 14/07/2018, 9:13 am

    Mark has seen the light for a quite a few years now.
    Love most of his views and opinions .

  • dweezy2176 14/07/2018, 9:32 am

    Does he still get to keep his “pension” if he makes a comeback? Surely, to have any credibility he’d need to either drop the pension or donate the salary to charity .. but then again .. once a “pardy” boy always a “pardy” boy!

    • Cliff 14/07/2018, 10:45 am

      dweezy, I think you’ll find that it was Mark Latham (when Labor leader) who introduced changes to parliamentary pensions and post-parliamentary perks for ex-politicians that removed quite a few of the perks they enjoyed. These changes were only for new pollies – those already tethered to the trough could not have one perk removed, but newcomers had to wait until they were 55 before getting their pension, whereas a couple beforehand, a Liberal of Chinese ethnicity, (Chinn?) and Natasha Scott-Despoya (sp?) both walked away from politics in their very early 30s (Chinn was 31) with lifetime, fully indexed benefits.

  • crankykoala 14/07/2018, 9:33 am

    Dangerous mongoose for me. Here is an if only —- Abbott, Latham, Dutton and maybe old Joyce, who seems to have seen the light, to combine joining the Australian Conservatives. That would surely give Turdball a fright.

  • DT 14/07/2018, 9:37 am

    The 2010 federal election resulted in a hung parliament and PM Gillard in panic was forced to arrange alliances to be able to form a minority government.

    Not long ago former PM Howard commented that since 2007 the voting trend has been away from the major parties. Once they attracted between them about 80 per cent of the vote including swinging voters’ votes. But the trend is showing a loss of up to 20 per cent down towards 60 per cent.

    Mark Latham talks about minority parties being fragmented, and he is of course right. He also talked about minor parties coming together next election. What a good plan.

    If we placed Greens last, Union Labor second last, LNP third last and give minor party candidates or independents our primary vote maybe we can force a new alliance minority government with patriots willing and able to address all that the major parties have done that we strongly oppose?

    • Neville 14/07/2018, 9:14 pm

      Maybe so, DT. Certainly many Australians are thoroughly pi55ed off with the majors. Problem is, putting them in the order you suggest would elevate to a higher place on the ballot the whole seething sack of sanctimonious shitheads that constitute all the OTHER lefty “political parties”, and exist mainly to snaffle votes then preference them on to their pissant paymasters.
      Of course, MOST electorates do actually have only a handful of prospective trough-snouters who raise their collective little handies each election, so in those sorts of electorates, the ‘last, second-last, third-last’ strategy would scare the living bejeesus out of them!

  • Graham Richards 14/07/2018, 10:45 am

    It’ll give me great pleasure to see our moribund political system turned totally upside down. I’ll gladly vote to help achieve it.
    I believe the country would be better off without a government for a year or two. . Things couldn’t get much worse than the present system with 2 major parties which appear qualified only to misbehave while at pre school like spoilt brats!

  • Cliff 14/07/2018, 10:53 am

    DT, while not completely wrong in what you say, the sad fact is that, because of the preferences system, unless a majority of voters do as you suggest, (highly unlikely in apathetic Australia), your vote ends up with your least detested major party candidate (in the example you cited, the Liberal).

    ‘First past the post’ has its shortcomings and I can’t see either major party ever allowing it to be introduced here. However, I’d like to see a voter having the option of his vote not ‘bleeding down’ to a major party if he chooses to take that option.

    • DT 14/07/2018, 3:21 pm

      Can you imagine the fright major party MPs would receive if many of their candidates had to rely on preferences?

      • Tom 14/07/2018, 4:38 pm

        Don’t many of them rely on preferences already? Certainly the Labor Party would be out the back door in quite a few seats but for Greens preferences.

        Thanks to (what I think is) an outrageous gerrymander, I live in one of the safest federal Labor seats in the country, so as a non-Laborite, my Lower House vote is absolutely wasted. The only way I can show my protest towards Malcolm Turnbull’s usurping the Liberal Party is to deny the Liberal Party “my” $2.60 or whatever the amount is for every primary vote they get, so I vote informal and write on my ballot: “None of the above. Please use my $2.60 towards reducing the national debt”.

        I take considerably more care voting ‘below the line’ in the Senate in an attempt to ensure that my vote does not ‘bleed down’ to any (what I consider to be) unsuitable candidate.

        My wife and I compared our Senate voting selections at the last election after drawing each up without referring in any way to each other while doing so. They were different, but with a couple of the same candidates – but what they had in common was, with the exception of Jim Molan, not one of our selections was for a major party candidate.


  • Jack Richards 14/07/2018, 11:20 am

    I have long been saying that the problem with the conservative right is the fragmentation and the tendency to work at crossed purposes. The left love to claim the 18-35 group as their own – but that’s not true at all. But on uni campuses the left are organised and militant while the conservatives are not and thus they are cowed and intimidated even though they probably make up the majority of students.

    So it has always been.

    When I was at Uni in the early-mid 70s there were about 50 hard-core radicals and about twice that number of hangers-on. They controlled the SRC – voting wasn’t compulsory and the radicals always voted early and often plus they also counted the votes!

    Most students couldn’t give a shit about campus politics as they were far too busy studying to go into a profession – and become the backbone of the conservative middle class and professional class.

    The chance of conservative parties like Bernardi’s, Hanson’s, Katter’s, Leyonhjelm’s et al ever forming an alliance is remote to say the least. None of them want to play second fiddle and though they all have much the same goals few, if any of them, would be prepared to supress their own egos and play a subservient role in united third party. They’d rather lead a small irrelevancy than be part of bigger team with a real possibility.

    In the unlikely event that Latham joins up with Leyonhjelm or Bernardi or anyone else his first job should be to find common grounds all the conservative parties can live with and unite behind. He has a public profile and always draws plenty of media attention so he’d be a real asset. He knows just what a mob of skunks Labor is and he’s quite prepared to spill the beans and rattle the skeletons in their closets. Similarly Abbott and Bernardi know what a mob of stinkers the Liberals are and will do the same to them.

    But I fear that a United Conservative Party is and almost probably always will be just a pipe-dream.

    • Bwana Neusi 14/07/2018, 12:55 pm

      Jack – You make a really important point here. The ALA were deliberately ignored by the MSM, except to occasionally label them as “Extreme Right”.
      Latham has the profile the MSM seek, even if only to disparage him, but seek him out they do because it is newsworthy and there is always a potential “Gotcha” up for grabs.
      Latham can do much to bring the various conservative groups to the fore, whilst degrading all three of the majors

  • dweezy2176 14/07/2018, 12:32 pm

    Mark Latham .. a perfect example of what is wrong with the system .. lounging around on his “snouts in the trough” pension lecturing on how to run the country after his stint as a “failed” political leader .. sez it all really!

    • DT 14/07/2018, 3:26 pm

      Years ago Mark Latham wrote an article for the Australian Financial Review describing the tribalism of Union Labor, the many factions, the deals between factions and individuals, who has the dirt whom, which ones are enemies or friends, etc.

      In short he recommended follow the paper trail to uncover the corruption. And pointed out that the Coalition have no concept of how Union Labor operates.

      When the Abbott led Coalition formed government after September 2013 a Trade Union Royal Commission was established into governance and corruption.

      The Turnbull led government shut the Commission inquiries down with much more left to investigate.

      • Joe Blogs 14/07/2018, 3:59 pm

        … including the Commission itself!

      • DT 14/07/2018, 4:16 pm

        So Michael Smith’s investigations indicate.

    • Joe Blogs 14/07/2018, 4:07 pm

      Latham may actually have had a “Road to Damascus” moment. In such cases, similar to some reformed smokers and drinkers, converts become particularly vehement opponents.

      Latham has strong self-belief and doesn’t suffer fools gladly, so he’d be a handful for the leader of any minor party.

  • Pensioner Pete 15/07/2018, 6:09 am
  • Dave 15/07/2018, 9:59 am

    We need a Trump style leader in Australia, Latham has left the rats, time for Abbot to leave his party of rats.
    Get this third party going, ( United MAGA party), plenty of voters want to make Australia great again. They can borrow MAGA from Trump.

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