Some of it might be mischief-making but some of the talk is from credible folk who put a premium on being right not just right-wing. So there can be no dispute they mean it.
But, of course, they mean it in a context where Crean, whose failed leadership is still the stuff of legend in Canberra and in caucus, where new depths of unpopularity and abysmal morale were plumbed, not even imagined now as Labor enters its Carbon Apocalypse.
Other less credible commentators are probably just repeating the Crean line to stir the pot or perhaps because they too remember him being so bad. His jargon-filled thought-bubbles would certainly be enough to pour cement in federal Labor’s coffin.
The reality is, in caucus, Crean would struggle to pull a vote other than his own, keeping in mind that most of what became his base, which then became Latham’s base is in fact a base built by the charm and skill of a Julia Gillard.
So where does this crazy Crean talk come from?
It certainly isn’t coming from the Caucus, where we have many sources than even the best of conservative commentators. To a comrade, they all laugh about the talk of Crean. It’s not come from the Canberra Press Gallery either.
We suspect it started from a cadre of well-monied and influential Melbourne businessmen who have liked – and backed – Crean for years. They know Crean from his generally well-regarded tenure at the ACTU where he talked a good game and mastered flattery of the uber-wealthy. We won’t name and shame them all because it’s not their fault they fell in with a bad ‘hole but one of them is Sol Lew, the billionaire big retailer, currently crying poor over shopping centre rents, online competition, GST thresholds and so on.
As we have previously chronicled in our fearless reporting of our days in business with the two, Lew went on to employ a former Crean Chief of Staff Michael McLeod as his spinner. McLeod went on to elbow several close Lew confidants out of the way and even got himself appointed to the boards of many of Lew’s private and public companies. One Lew insider told us recently they still haven’t figured out what McLeod actually does to justify his big salary. Whatever it is, McLeod has certainly been in a good paddock, apparently recently making plans to attend a Spanish “fat farm” known as granja de grasa.
Crean’s rather shameless role in government – a fact well-known throughout the caucus – is to loudly advocate the interests of many of his mates, including Big Retail.
He doesn’t do it because he’s on the take. His version of the national interest is one where his big, rich mates are well accommodated. Kind of like Mussolini but with a less-efficient train service.
It’s one of many reasons why Labor’s more likely to give big Dick Adams a run than Creanster.
VEXNEWS sources confirm that Crean is still friendly with and comfortable enough in the company of several prominent very rich Melbourne folk to sound off recently to several of them about how he’s feeling about life, about how Gillard is a disappointment to him, that he’s not in the centrally-co-ordinating role he was promised or assumed he’d get under Gillard and so on. His words about Wayne Swan are said to be unfriendly and critical also. Even that things could be so much better with he and Carole moved into the Lodge.
We doubt he meant such loose talk especially malevolently or to provoke bizarre leadership speculation, and we concede, in the context that we don’t like him and don’t rate him, that he does his Regional Development shtick reasonably convincingly, most of the time. We think so anyway. We haven’t researched what cockies make of the Harrold’s-dressed dandy from Middle Park via Geneva.
The Big End of Town theory is the only half-way plausible explanation for how the outrageous, laughable and unlikely proposition a Crean Labor leadership resurrection has been repeated in credible media outlets. It’s even led a few dopey punters to bet on him. The bookies must be grateful for the donation.
There won’t be a leadership change – for Labor – prior to the next election. Normally that would be considered a good sign. Not so much now. It’s more a reflection of deep pessimism about the result and a general view – that we share – that it’s not the Leader’s fault Labor is at such a low ebb while only four years into its federal administration.
Labor’s troubles are much more to do with the unpleasant but necessary dumping of Rudd and the equally unpleasant and in our view completely unnecessary wattle-on-the-lapel governing pact with the extremist Greens party, which is publicly sworn to Labor’s destruction and is as popular outside of the inner-cities as the Hendra virus at a horse-stud.
Labor should have told the Greens menace if you don’t want us, vote with Abbott, but we will do no deals with the likes of you. We suspect they won’t be repeating that mistake but the damage is done.
They are increasingly seen as carrying out a Greens party agenda, even though that is mostly an unfair criticism. The truth is the Greens agreed to much less on carbon than they’d demanded under Rudd’s leadership. Their cynical white-anting on asylum-seekers has been ignored for what looks a very promising lateral-solution in Malaysia. And the government won’t be imposing changes to the ancient institution of marriage without a mandate (no pun intended).
But, at least for now, they are being presumed guilty by association with a party so extreme they wish to strip private schools of government assistance, close Zoos, drive Israel and Max Brenner into the sea and destroy what’s left of Australian exports after the soaring AUD has taken its toll.
If the Prime Minister were to fatally injure herself doing Pilates or was inadvertently run-down by an Evan Thornley ACT-taxpayer funded electric imported-vehicle, she would not be replaced by Crean.
More likely to be Stephen Smith, if the Perth-based family man wanted it which some think unlikely, Greg Combet, who is enthusiastically endorsed by horny Bob Hawke as a fellow Messiah or, skipping to the next generation, Labor’s master-communicator and ideas-man Jason Clare These are the folk who could get the numbers, potentially. None of them are stupid enough to want to seize and sip from Labor’s currently poisoned chalice. Rudd would probably put his head above the trench to assess the battle-field, before quickly ducking down after intense cross-factional Howitzer-fire. He won’t be Leader again, despite occasional fantasies to the contrary.
And Crean has even less chance than he does.
Any other analysis is not supported by the facts.