Somehow this draft e-mail from Kim Beazley made it into our in-box…
Subject: Proposed new tactical directions – and thanks!
Dear men and women of Labor,
Thank you for re-electing me as Leader. I am both proud and excited – not to mention extremely flushed. Flushed with confidence. Flushed with enthusiasm. Flushed with anticipation! It’s a great feeling; a feeling that I hope to share. Come the next election I hope and pray that we are all flushed together! And I am confident we will be. Certainly, victory is possible, but not until after some significant changes have taken place. The first thing we need to do is re-unite as a party. How can we unify the country if we can’t unify ourselves? You will no doubt recall that I recently told you all to just “put a sock in it”. I reiterate that sentiment in this memo – but this time with a qualification; a qualification that I’d like to delineate:
As distinct from the Liberal Party, which has a very top-down culture, we are the party of debate and consensus. This is a tradition we simply must not discard. So, the figurative sock I am thinking of is not, say, a thick, wooly, footy sock, which, when placed in the oral cavity would completely stifle any attempted vocalizations. It could be more of a lightweight tennis sock – or even one of those elastic shin-huggers – a sock that, although achieving the required effect most of the time, would still allow certain vital phrases to be expressed – and consequently heard – if need be. Speaking of verbal matters: I am well aware that my peripatetic thought processes and meandering syntax have been a problem in the past. But no longer!
From this point on I make this commitment, both to you and the people of Australia: No more prolixity. As we all know, prolixity – or even a general loquaciousness – is a curse for a politician (or any public figure, for that matter) in this age of sound-bites and fleeting images. In the final analysis, what’s the point of taking a hundred words to say something when only five will do?
Just as I must reinvent myself, so must we all. Apropos of this, we must constantly push into new areas. We need to cease going over old ground. We must quit with the endless post-mortems. We simply have to stop repeating ourselves.
(And we must also do away with the negativity. Negativity never, ever works. It ultimately leads to low morale. And the last thing we need is low morale. Particularly not now. Really, just the thought of it fills me with dread…)
But enough of that! We must stop being obsessed with the past. We must become obsessed with the future, and how we can get there. We must act. And the first step in the process of acting is to agree – and agree unanimously – that I am the party Leader; that I make the decisions; that I articulate our direction. (Of course, I’ll contribute to this process by listening to all constructive criticism, and going with any good suggestions you might have.) Needless to say the most important sub-step of this step is to put the bickering behind us. (And on the subject of behinds: We must avoid any such obsession with that part of the anatomy in our rhetoric. These will no doubt remind the electorate of my predecessor’s unfortunate fixation thereupon, and his ultimately disastrous reign. So, no more references to posteriors, or the osculation thereof. It will be the kiss of death.) So, in summary: We must be combative, but not thuggish. We must be unified, but not undemocratic. And we must stop trying to have it both ways.
Thank you. And go get ‘em, fighters!