Tough as nails – and driving them through the heart of Labor

It’s tempting to ignore the current state of Australian politics but since it impacts every aspect of our daily lives, there’s an imperative that we should not turn a blind eye.

So, we look once again at our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and wonder how history will judge her.

The Australian people have made clear through an endless stream of deeply negative opinion polls that they have already settled on a verdict and they’re for a death sentence. This woman has to go and many of us believe the sooner the better.

But there are still many who would vote Labor and find it in their hearts to give a tick to Gillard to keep her as our national leader.

One of the characteristics they suggest justifies this support is Gillard’s toughness. And it is true. The woman is as unbending as they come. She clings to her office with a tenacity that would do an oyster justice.

But at what price?

This is the issue that bedevils any legacy Gillard may have. It is clear that she is massively damaging her own party. Yes, a miracle could yet happen and she could lead Labor to victory. But even the most dyed-in-the-wool Labor voters know in their hearts that this cannot happen: indeed, should not happen.

Gillard’s supposed toughness is, arguably, her greatest flaw. It masks a deep insecurity and marks her as selfish beyond belief.

Any leader worth the name would try to focus on the greater good. And, in Gillard’s case, this is surely not to ride your own party into the greatest electoral massacre that has ever been predicted in Australian politics?

If Gillard cared about her professed love of her party and what it used to stand for, she would step aside. She would do the honourable thing and fall on her sword. But, no, she clings to office, refusing to bend to the oppressive weight of public opinion.

How could she continue to ignore the despair of her colleagues almost all of whom know with a sickening certainty that their time in parliament is at an end? Because Gillard is, above all, utterly selfish.

Make no mistake, as an opponent of Labor’s brand of politics, I hope she stays in the Prime Ministerial office until the very end. Any other leader – even a janitor plucked from a broom closet in Parliament House – would deliver more votes for Labor than Gillard.

Which is why her supposed toughness is, in fact, weakness.

And those who profess that such views are somehow misogynistic are wide of the mark. Gillard is not helping feminism because she is failing a basic test of humanity: the willingness to put others above self.

History will judge this woman, not as a woman, but as a deeply flawed person who cared not about others, only herself.

Those who think she is as tough as nails should despair that every one of them she is driving through the heart of Labor.