KEVIN Rudd’s (31-71) trouncing by Julia Gillard is the end of the line for the former Prime Minister… and the beginning of a bright new future. As I texted him after the vote: “The best is yet to come.”
Kevin will not challenge again. His pledge to work for her re-election was deadly serious. His future depends on Labor retaining power. But he still believes that one day the doors of The Lodge will reopen for him to sweep back triumphant.
He’s almost certainly wrong. But that doesn’t mean there are no great achievements ahead. You see, the real story behind the challenge is all about Kevin’s sense of destiny.
As a young man he was fascinated by the life of Winston Churchill who rose to prominence as a young First Lord of the Admiralty in World War I before being banished from politics after the disastrous Gallipoli adventure. However, he returned in the post-war era and warned against the warlike rearmament of Germany then reclaimed 10 Downing Street and brought Britain through the dark days of World War II.
Churchill’s certainty about his manifest role in history spoke directly to Kevin’s own self-perception. So when he was decisively rejected by the voters in Griffith in 1996 he found the inner resources to throw himself back into the fray two years later to emerge triumphant. Indeed, he began his maiden speech to Parliament with these words: “Politics is about power”.
In the lead up to the leadership vote he even made an oblique reference to Churchill’s power of political revival. But Australia is not Britain and Kevin is not Winston, the descendant of an aristocratic line before whom lesser mortals doff their caps. His Labor colleagues will never have him back. It may take a while for him to realise this, but when he does he will let it be known that he would accept an offer from the PM to become our ambassador to the United Nations after the next election.
She will leap at the chance.
Once in New York, Kevin will pursue our interests like no other before him and might very well become secretary-general of the organisation himself.
And while there are no serious enemies to Australia in prospect at this stage (perhaps we have past that stage in world history), we could not have a more Churchillian representative to forestall any threats to our shores.