Jim Claven almost got beaten by Billy Shorten for the Victorian ALP Presidency despite the pre-vote deals to ensure Jimmy’s ascension. So who ratted on the deal?

Jim “No Name” Claven, criticised in Crikey for being an unknown, unelected, unelectable, anorak wearer finally won the Presidential crown but is feeling just like the Mayor of Hiroshima looking around surveying the damage caused by an Enola Gay Shorten delivered nuke comprising radioactive elements of ratting and Shorten’s conservative press attacks on the Party.

The Modernisation Alliance have delivered its first of what looks like many victories against Feeney/Shorten but with Claven’s uninspired candidacy it did it the hard way with a very close result. If Sword or Holding were the candidate, it would have been a much better result, most think.

Sword’s decisive moves in conjunction with fellow leader Tim Holding MP for Springvale and likely next Minister in the Bracks Government, laid the groundwork for Claven to win with 60% of the Party vote. More symbolic than anything it was going to be an exciting way of sending a message to the Party that the NUW/Network move to a neutral corner was capable of delivering a big swag of votes for modernisation.

Problem was the candidate. What a dud. He has all the charisma of a postage stamp and all the talent of a forty something unelected policy researcher with at least one failed election campaign for an easily winnable seat under his belt, a boring book that belted the crap out of his Left comrades and an attitude that he is a big man about town now that HE won the Presidency. Sword won him the Presidency and he should act like it.

Crikey’s claims a while ago that Claven’s book “Centre is Mine” indicated he was likely to flip-flop on 60:40 was quickly confirmed (conveniently after the NUW and the Left unions and delegates had voted) with his press pronouncements that 50:50 might be OK after all. Sword is going to have to tolerate this flaky, light, dandruff man for a while to come and supports him with no enthusiasm. Claven must earn Sword’s respect as a serious player, it is clear he has a long way to go.

Some in the Network camp are understood to be extremely unhappy with the ratting that has gone on in the Modernisation Alliance. They point to the risks they’ve made voting for the Socialist Left candidate for President, bringing 50 votes. Without these critical votes and moral support, Claven would have received 184 votes or 40% of the vote. NUW/Network made the difference and delivered victory.

Who ratted on the Modernisation Alliance and why?

Prime Suspects are:

1) ETU Dean Mighell the now Greenie, long time sporting shooter who exercises control over the ETU’s votes within the ALP, believed to think that he could jointly serve as Co-Messiah with Shorten and run the entire world together with their rich wives and chambray shirts. The hot air coming from both of their mouths could fuel a Richard Branson hot air balloon crossing of the Atlantic.

2) Ferguson Left There’s nothing Left about Ferguson, his views on refugees would make Janette Howard blush non-menopausally. Mar’n is believed to be close to Sword but could not deliver his union boys to vote for Claven.

3) Kosmos Felekos Kosmos is growing impatient with his lack of promotion, may be talking to Conroy according to some. He is being closely watched.

4) Nazih El Asmar Questions about a last minute ballot replacement have arisen and have not been satisfactorily answered. Given the job he was given in the Government and the support of the NUW for his memberships if true this would lead to his elimination. Mar’n is believed to be highly suspicious of his local warlord Nazih.

5) The Independents A group of opportunists who stand for little although they have fought branchstacking in some FEA’s.

For Shorten to have climbed to 48% of the vote is not good. The Feeney/Shorten junta is discredited and defeated and should not have been 12 votes from victory. Their only weapons are whining about the SL takeover of the Party, which is an easily revealed falsehood. What has occurred is an NUW/Network takeover of the agenda setting for the Party, restoring the leadership role it has long played but had been subverted by the conservative catholic tendency in Feeney/Shorten (Crikey: isn’t Feeney Jewish?). The SL is in no position to deliver anything without NUW/Network approval. Sword and Holding have not built the respect they have around by agreeing to a socialist left agenda. Any lies about that will be proven to be over time.

Carr is not giving a great account of himself in the press but that’s not his area of expertise. He is an ideas man not a slick salesman in a chambray shirt with an MBA. Carr is not perfect, he was guilty of presiding over the worst excesses of the SL Government which had notable lefties such as:

Brian Mier an Aboriginal Affairs Minister from the Pledge Left believed to have got pissed, thumped his Aboriginal Affairs adviser’s door at her home (with his ministerial driver waiting in the limo at the front of the house) and screamed at her comments like “you (blank blank blank bitch”. Enough to make you proud to be Labor. Mier eventually resigned from the Government after the adviser, Trish Jones, claimed $150,000 settlement for the incident.

Peter Spyker Minister for Transport who barely spoke English but was the SL minister in charge of billions of dollars of infrastructure decisions. They were wild times.

The NUW/Network group regards such people as disgusting. The union opposed unqualified and inappropriate ministerial candidates then just as it does now. All elements of the Modernisation Alliance must be committed to cleaning up the Party of people like this, whatever faction they are in.

Feeney/Shorten’s conservative media baron backed media offensive has consisted of these cunningly crafted messages:

The Socialist Left has taken over the Party.

The SL will run the Government in the same way as it did under Kirner

Sword is obsessed with Feeney/Shorten on a personal level and “hates” them

All three are lies, say the NUW/Sword camp.

The NUW/Network group while numerically smaller than the SL contain the balance of power. Without the NUW/Network they go back to being a minority

The SL is a lot more pragmatic than those days. Jennings, Tanner, Griffin, Kosky etc are believers in low tax, small government mostly. Kosky calls herself a “fiscal conservative” while being a member of the Socialist Left. Tanner is an economic dry and shares much in common with Network comrades.

Sword does not hate Feeney/Shorten personally, he is negative about the Feeney/Shorten junta and their once iron-grip on Party preselections. It’s a popular view. Those in the Network group do hate Shorten in particular and he is going to find himself dying by a thousand cuts over the next few years. Wherever he is, Network will be. He betrayed Network years ago and it won’t and can’t be forgiven.

Speculation continues to mount about new State Secretaries. It’s not an easy job to fill. Assistant Party Secretary Daniel Andrews, Kosky ministerial adviser Eric Locke, Jennings’ adviser Andrew McKenzie are all still possibilities but because of their Socialist baggage would give another headline to the Herald-Sun. Other names are being suggested like the talented and ambitious NUW Assistant Secretary Martin Pakula and adviser Matt Carrick, who has expressed keen interest in moving on from Brumby’s office.

Also being kicked around was Marsha Thomson’s adviser Fiona Richardson, the convenor of what’s left of Labor Unity. She was keen to get the payrise apparently but is regarded by some as not having the intellectual rigour for the job. Crean’s adviser Mike Kerrisk, from National Secretariat is also being suggested by certain comrades. He is also an also-ran with an inferiority complex that some people argue is justified. His close association with Nicola Roxon, who once worked on the NUW but ratted on Greg to be involved with Feeney/Shorten is enough to make him unacceptable to some of the hardliners in Network but Sword regards him as a push-over. Delia thinks Tim Pallas should take the job. He’s not going into Parliament, is a proven manager, is getting bored in the Premier’s office and is liked by nearly all factions, except the hard right wingers of the stem cell fanatics in the SDA.

Sword has explained to Holding the need for restraint, but Tim is believed to think if you’ve got the numbers you use them and if you’ve got talented people for the job and no other faction does then you’re entitled to put them in. It’s a persuasive argument. If NUW/Network does a deal with Labor Unity then the Left is back where it started with only the narrowest of wins by a complete oxygen thief for the Presidency. Sword is considering all his options and rightly so. President Claven is now so excited about being famous because now when he’s at dinner parties and everyone is bored by him they’ll think it’s their fault.

Love to all my fans, Delia

Peter Fray

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