Monday, September 6, 2010

Come again

To the launch of David Grant’s biography of Ken Douglas
at the Brierley Theatre, Wellington College. Yes. I never
got to say hallo to the biographer or shake hands with the
biographee, and left before the formal part of proceedings,
on account of a congenital condition that prevents me
from standing for hours on end with an empty glass in my
hand listening to people make speeches, or even, in some
horrifying cases, read long extracts from their newly
published work. I was there long enough however to clock
a large and varied crowd of launchgoers ranging from old
lefties to new righties, all giving the impression that
whatever hard-fought struggles there had been in the past,
that was all over now, and all that remained to be done,
politically speaking, was a tweak here and a top-up there
and Rodney’s your uncle. The hegemonic domination of
the centre-right is almost total; as one former cabinet
minister said to me, he was blessed if he could see much
difference between the major parties these days. He’s
right. There isn’t. Much difference. There never was,
actually, not since 1935, and it’s the same across the
Tasman, where Gillard’s Labor and Abbott’s Liberals are
really only factions of the same party. Can the left—a real,
thriving, thought-through, rambunctious left—ever come
again? Don’t doubt it. History isn't finished with us yet.

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