Fear, Loathing and Bigotry at Leichhardt

So Leichhardt was spared the ignominy of following Julia Gillard and Bob Brown into the cesspit of signed ALP-Green agreements.

Thus Rochelle Porteous’ last act as Mayor was her best. Her intransigence and undergraduate politicking ensured her own demise. Seriously, read the email chain Darcy Byrne has distributed and you’d swear Councillor 11% was a teenager.

Not sure if it is a reliable report, but Cr Byrne claims Cr 11% admitted the Greens Party had a “distrust of the Labor Party”. Well, blow me down. How unreasonable.

Unfortunate, however, that the general community didn’t get to see the re-run of Federal September 2010 and its logical outcome: a grand signing ceremony with Darcy Byrne and Councillor 11% and the launch of a “new politics”.

Because it would have revealed how token the ALP’s public distancing from the Greens really is. Leichhardt’s Greens are among the most extreme in the country (remember Hall Greenland).  And one of the ALP’s boys-to-watch was ready to bed down with them in 2012?

Such an agreement would also have revealed to the public a sad ideology and bigotry from Cr Byrne. It’s clear enough anyway. Repeatedly in chambers on Tuesday night he said the ALP wouldn’t negotiate with the Liberals ‘on principle‘.

The principle to which he refers is his own party’s bigotry about Liberals, one generated by straw man arguments and self-aggrandizing assumptions about who is moral, who is compassionate and who gets good outcomes. It really is retro-hatred up to the standard of ALP great (Two-Wongs-Don’t-Make-A-White)  Arthur Calwell.

What counts for ordinary people is outcomes. It isn’t a party label, it isn’t tricked-up ‘labour history’, and it isn’t 1950s-style class rhetoric designed to rev up the true believers. Cr Byrne plays those items particularly well.

So he’d rather negotiate with a party of upper class moralisers who support policies that hurt ordinary workers? That drive up housing costs, increase the cost of living, reduce available jobs – especially for our lower skilled – and divert subsidies from workers’ pockets to spivs running Green boondoggles? How progressive.

I had higher expectations of Cr Byrne’s  pragmatism. Local residents, rich and poor, don’t care about ideological purity. They care about stuff getting done. And that doesn’t mean more spending grants and poorly-attended protests; it means better basic management at a lower cost, with less grandiose campaigning from tinpot activists masquerading as Councillors.

The draft Governance Agreement (laughably labelled ‘Good’) and its email chain just reiterate how un-local our local representatives really are. Cr 11% repeatedly referred to fighting the O’Farrell government, and not once referred to improved basic services or financial management.

 The enemy of my enemy

The Liberals as a block voted for a Labor Mayor. I am not privy to the Councillors’ reasons, but I am glad. For while Cr Byrne won’t make the internal council reforms required – too many union mates – he will be more practical on broader issues than Cr 11%.

This is despite his childish conceptions of ‘Tories’, of whom Liberals are and what they stand for. Maybe he should talk to a few more of them, broaden his horizons, and embrace some inclusion – multicultural style.

But eyes will be on him. Ongoing Green-tinged nonsense will reverberate further than Marion St. The ALP has a lot to lose if they massage the loony left in the Inner West.


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