Edna Everage began her career in 1956 as an Olympic hostess, wondering ‘how black’ her guests might be. Kev Andrews is working on the same principle it seems. But is it a desperately cynical search for something the ALP can’t react to, or an expression of Kev’s deep ”parochialism”, to put it politely?

KA has always struck me as a conviction polly, and I suspect his reaction to supposed non-assimilation by Sudanese migrants is an expression of some murky attitudes deep within.

It’s probably about time a Roman Catholic like Kev examined them. After all it wasn’t only jews who were on the rough end of these attitudes. The first ‘un-Australians’ were Catholics like KA, who it was said — from 1880s to the 1950s – were an alien and disloyal presence in British Oz. The only thing that dissolved that was …. Immigration, providing a new set of scapegoats. Nasty nasty stuff. At least Edna made a pav.

Mike Steketee has noted in today’s Oz the deep trouble the Libs will be in if they lose on November 24 — something noted by Norm Abjorensen six months ago and this correspondent six months before that.

But the problem is more general than that, as the predicament of Dave Cameron — currently walking the tightrope at Britain’s Tory Conference suggests. Having tried to reposition the party as blue new labor, he is now tracking back to Laura Norder, desperately looking for an in.

But once politics everywhere has collapsed — witness the socialists in France — then there is literally nothing for oppositions to do — since they are in effect opposing ‘common sense’.

Parties that can draw on deep collective traditions — solidarity in the ALP’s case, ”duty” for the UK Tories — can survive this. Those in thinner soil — the Liberals — can wither very quick. Will John Howard come to be seen as the one who raised the Liberals to power then buried them?

Peter Fray

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