The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Kevin Rudd, keeping within the 40-yard lines

I quite like Mel’s term “the Ruddster”, and thus it shall henceforth be the official name of the Federal Opposition Leader on this blog, by pseudo-Royal decree.

So. Sunday’s announcement about “clean coal” — basically, the Ruddster wants to mirror-without-mirroring the Government policy of pumping money into coal power plants using technology that isn’t archaic — struck me as somewhat of a grand compromise, in that it tries to placate Peter Garrett’s crowd (look! it says ‘clean’!) while keeping unions happy.

Indeed, this is the only pattern that stands out to me when looking over his announcements from the last few months: he sticks to the centre of the playing field, doesn’t do anything all that radical or offensive, and he bends over backwards to keep everyone more or less on his side. I wasn’t old enough to ever witness Bob Hawke in action, but “The man who can bring business, government, and the unions together” was a pretty nifty campaign slogan, and the Ruddster seems to be inspired by it.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing — heck, if Rudd can keep some peace with conservatives, it’ll save us from the divisive time we’ve had under Howard — but it also means that if he wins the election, I won’t be expecting any ground-breaking new policy direction from him. There may be an exception in the realm of foreign policy, what with the Ruddster being a former DFAT employee and all, but so far he’s been singing a pretty similar tune to past Labor leaders. Maybe this is part of the whole plan: don’t come across as a loose cannon, keep people sympathetic (or at least tolerant), and then rely on the nerdy charm to win over voters!

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