I hate to actually have to take Labor court fool Bob Ellis seriously, but his pre-emptive strike on The Latham Diaries in the AWU mag The Australian Workerseems spot on: “They gave me everything I asked for, the bastards, and now I will have my revenge.”

Ellis knows Labor has to cop some of the blame, too: “We seem to have chosen a festering ratbag as party leader; so hungry were we for a Messiah, any Messiah, that we foolishly copped the first mad f*cker that said he was.”

We had some serious stuff about political culture from Iron Mark yesterday – talk about the “poisonous and opportunistic Labor culture in which the politics of personal destruction is commonplace.”

The same culture is present in the Liberal Party, too. It might be even more widespread there. Liberals are much too polite to have open factions, so rather than indulging in direct conflict they undermine each other mercilessly.

The Democrats have also suffered from the same thing. Ask Janet Powell. These sort of issues deserve to be talked about.

Today we’ve got a burlesque show. After this morning’s headlines the question has to be asked: can Latham even sell his book?

We have some impressions of the interview he taped with Andrew Denton yesterday in The Australian today: “‘A fascinating, brilliant interview’ was one verdict. A woman mourned that ‘such a man of high intellect’ had been lost to politics.”

The Sydney Morning Herald has a member of the audience telling of an “upbeat” Latham telling jokes to which the audience responded well – but will that be enough to mean Latham hasn’t been completely written off as a “festering ratbag” before it goes to air on Monday night?

Today’s headlines suggest the “mad f*cker” verdict is right.

Latham’s good ideas, his challenging ideas developed during his time in parliament – and, yes, he had plenty of them – have already largely been wasted.

From the coverage today, Latham will just be remembered for indiscriminate abuse.

Unless he has a very different pitch to make as he promotes the book, Latham might as well stay home with the kids.

Peter Fray

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