Tuesday, June 15, 2010

David Marr 's essay on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Much has been written and spoken about David Marr's new Quarterly Essay on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. David Marr is one of Australia's finest journalists and biographers and this essay confirms his skill as one of the country's finest writers and journalists. It is a beautifully written and engaging essay. As a challenging and intelligent piece of political journalism it works.

But at a deeper level I found the essay ultimately disappointing. I don't really "get" this interest, even obsession, with understanding and explaining the inner workings of the personality and character of politicians. For me the real test is their political rhetoric and their policies and political achievements.

More important is the action they take to advance the wellbeing of all citizens of this country and the action they take to protect and advance the common good. On that front Kevin Rudd and his government have largely failed. He promised much and has delivered little. The reasons for that policy failure are many and complex. However, therein, lies a major explanation for the collapse in his support.

It also seems to be forgotten by the political commentariat that the Rudd Government was elected in 2007 because the majority of people had wanted to get rid of John Howard and his government for some considerable time. They voted to get rid of Howard first, and in doing so they elected Kevin Rudd.

Despite my misgivings I would recommend all Australians read David Marr's essay. I for one will always read anything he writes.

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