Mark Latham was on the ABC’s Enough Rope last night. The ABC, God bless it, transcribes bloody well everything so the entire interview is transcribed.
There was good give-and-take between Andrew Denton and Mark Latham, with Denton expressing at the end what many people think about Latham’s throwing in the towel:
ANDREW DENTON: What happened to you Mark?
MARK LATHAM: Well if you want a…
ANDREW DENTON: What happened to you?
MARK LATHAM: Glossy, ha, a fairy tale ending…
ANDREW DENTON: ...No, no, no…
MARK LATHAM: ...Well you know that wouldn’t be…
ANDREW DENTON: I find this profoundly sad putting aside any political view whatsoever, profoundly sad that somebody of your intellect and your capacity who spent so much time and energy and invested so much of your heart into attempting to correct society’s ills. And now, you know if people wanted to put it in a tabloid way, spitting the dummy or whatever, just going no too hard, can do nothing, I find that profoundly sad. What happened?
Latham said that he’s retired, simple as that. Denton reminds him that he’s 44. Latham squirms.
One bit that I found particularly psychopathic was Latham’s lack of moral justification for his lobbing of a “dirty bomb” (Denton’s words) at the Labour party. In their words:
ANDREW DENTON: I think a lot of people when they read this book are going to find it hard to vote Labor again based on the way you gut the party. Is that what you wanted?
MARK LATHAM: No, not at all. I don’t think they should vote Coalition.
ANDREW DENTON: Should they vote Labor? You’re talking about a party that is dysfunctional beyond repair. With a leader who stands for nothing. _[actual quotes from the book -jurgen]_
MARK LATHAM: Well, you know I think Labor would have a good chance at the next election if they had Julia Gillard as the Labor leader.
ANDREW DENTON: That’s not the question.
MARK LATHAM: I’m not well Andrew, I’m not look… I’m happily a home dad. I retired from politics in January.
ANDREW DENTON: You can’t say this, Mark. You just dropped a dirty bomb on the Labor party. You can’t say: “I didn’t do nothing”.
MARK LATHAM: I’m not here, I’m not here handing out how to votes some polling booth on ENOUGH ROPE.
ANDREW DENTON: You have absolutely disembowelled the Labor party in this book.
MARK LATHAM: Well, I’ve put down a frank record of how I saw things and I don’t think there’s a problem with that.
I’m not saying he shouldn’t have written some of the things that he has written, but I don’t think he’s being entirely honest with us (or perhaps even with himself) about his motives. He’s thrown a political bomb, and is walking away into the sunset whistling, and perhaps giggling a bit to himself. Telling your own story and blowing the lid off old lies is great. It’s fun, and personally cleansing, and if everyone did it, no one would need to do it – especially in politics. But dodging the question by saying things like “I’ve put down a frank record of how I saw things” is not enough moral justification, in my opinion.
The last quote I want to put here happens as Denton wraps up talking about how Latham skewered the Labour party in his new book:
ANDREW DENTON: You’ve given people a lot of reason to feel cynical. You haven’t offered any way forward?
MARK LATHAM: No well I couldn’t find any, that’s why I got out you see.
No way forward. What are we to do?
PS: Unlike the political party, I spell “Labour” correctly.