Well, that WAS the AGE headline this morning. The lead paragraph read....
Simon Crean will retain the Labor leadership today by a landslide. His rival Kim Beazley, is struggling to attract support from 30 of the 92 Labor MP's.
Now with a difference of only a few votes from their previous prediction, the headline reads....
CREAN WINS LEADERSHIP BATTLE
Simon Crean has fought off a leadership challenge from his predecessor, Kim Beazley, who has vowed not to make another bid for the party's top job.
What happened to the landslide? Maybe the Age were initially hoping to hose down any post-vote leadership issues. Hah! No matter how much the flunkys there try to stabilise their Labor mate's plight there's no getting around it, a Beazley vote of thirty-four is just about the worst situation the party could have found itself in. Crean's claim of "a decisive win" is absolute bullshit.
On one side of the equasion there's no ultra-close margin to encourage Beaza to run again soon. However, neither is there a smackdown for Big Kim. Thirty four is a reasonable amount of the vote and means one in three Labor MP's think Crean's a dud. Some endorsement!
With the result right smack, bang in the middle of no man's land there'll be trouble a brewin'. If they reckon the last ten months have been bad. Give it a month or so and the following five to ten months will be just the same. After Crean's initial flush of victory wears off there will be plenty more white-anting. After all, Steven Smith & Wayne Swan are still there. At least Smith did the right thing and gave up his portfolio. Is Swan going to follow suit or is he an unprincipled gutless wonder? I suppose he considers the front bench a better vantage point for knife throwing.
Then when Labor, realising the error of their ways, decide to bite the bullet again and decide Crean's unelectable, Howard will probably call an election. Probably sometime between November and March.
Who's it going to be though? Thrirty four votes may reflect badly on Crean but it also means a lot in caucus reckon Beazley's a twice cooked goose. Any challenge from him SHOULD appear unlikely but I don't see how Labor can accept the status quo.
Actually, I'm surprised the margin didn't blow out in the last 24 hours. Surely caucus would have watched Meet The Press yesterday. Michelle Grattan asked Beaza why hadn't Barry Jones been slapped around over his Knowledge Nation balls-up. Beazley's blustery, blubbering hale-well-met evasion bordered on embarrassing and reflected the lame tone of his B-Grade challenge. He should just get the hell out of politics all together.