Fabians’ folly

You have to wonder at the Labor Party’s cult-like approach to its disparate membership. It matters not how ‘out there’ you might be so long as you are inside the tent. If you are an outsider, you are automatically persona non grata. And if you have committed the most grievous crime of all – leaving the tent altogether – then expect vituperation and condemnation to rain down upon you.

It must surely be this zealot-like mindset that anything can be forgiven so long as you are one of us that has led to a recent perplexing promotion to Labor’s senior ranks. Patricia Karvelas in The Australian reports that Sharon Grierson, the ALP Member for Newcastle has just secured leadership of the Caucus Economics Committee.

She has done so after Julia Gillard threw out the Kevin Rudd handbook and pledged that Labor backbenchers (and Ministers for that matter!) could actually have a say in policy formulation. A wonderfully enlightened approach to running a  modern democracy!

The fascinating aspect of the Grierson victory is that she is a member of the ALP’s Socialist Left faction. Yes, socialism may have departed the official platform but its spirit has never left the party’s soul, apparently.

How quaint that a committed socialist can now be in charge of a key Labor economic policy formulation engine. Though perhaps quaint is not the word. It may underline Wayne Swan’s recent rhetoric about renewed regulation for the major banks. Maybe Grierson is making her presence felt very quickly?

Perhaps, too, it explains the willingness of Labor to get into bed with the Greens and their wacky economic notions (is anyone sure those guys don’t do drugs?)

It is also food for thought given the surging influence of America’s Tea Party and its antipathy to big-spending big government that Labor here exalts a socialist who no doubt thinks the Rudd-Swan-Gillard stimulus package didn’t go half far enough and that $43 billion for an NBN is barely a decent down-payment. How Ms Grierson must salivate at the thought the US printing another $600 billion in new currency. Whither sanity?