Bringing ex factor to politics

Published in Heckler, Sydney Morning Herald, April 4, 2012.

DON’T you hate it when your ex is right? Isn’t it even worse when that ex is a retired politician?

We’ve all seen it before. Ex-pollies who return to haunt us with erudite expert columns and cameo appearances on Q&A, gliding effortlessly through commentaries espousing clear, measured, reasonable solutions to anything from education to the economy. All of which leave us exclaiming: ”Why couldn’t you make so much damn sense when you were undertaking the task you were elected
and paid to do in the first place?”

Like all exes, politicians understand timing. A sufficiently long period allows post-separation resentment to soften into nostalgia and awards the former pollie a veneer of respectability. Thus, how long until the recently deposed Anna Bligh offers a solution to the crisis in the Australian Labor Party? Will we see intelligent articles under the headlines ”Hard Labor: How to Rebuild After Electoral Implosion” or ”Labor Pains: Anna Bligh on Delivering a Reborn Political Party”.

No doubt our former minister for foreign affairs, Kevin Rudd, is preparing for his likely departure from Canberra by penning a few tomes outlining a plan for sewing up the division within his party and ending, once and for all, the factional infighting that plagues his colleagues. Maybe he could even write some in Mandarin.

In response, I propose the formation of a new party, a party to ally the Greens, the Democrats and even the Mad Hatter’s Australia Party in their battle with the Big Two. I bring you the X Party – a party comprised of ex-ministers and former
senators who since retirement have channelled a hitherto untapped Confucian wisdom to deliver solutions to all of society’s woes.

The collective genius of these perfect parliamentarians would garner a fully employed, crime-free, highly educated, debtfree, tolerant, wealthy, racially harmonious, carbon-neutral, technologically advanced, cultured nation envied throughout the world.

But who would lead us to this salvation? Who else, but He of the second coming, Bob Carr. Assuming the new Minister for Foreign Affairs suffers the same fate as his predecessor, Senator Carr would be free to transform himself from Bob 1, who led NSW, to Bob 2, whose retirement would bestow upon him the gift of infallibility and the ability to lead us to the promised land. Finally, we would get our two Bobs’ worth.

With a team plucked from the ranks of the major “consulting” firms at the big end of town, Bob 2 et al would put their money where their mouths are and confirm the horrible realisation that our exes do look better now that they’re with
somebody else.

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