I think Ramsey’s columns have always been worth a read, even though some might consider him too left to be listened to. The fact remains that he represents an older tradition of political journalism that had high expectations of politicians, their behaviour and their language. Most have probably died of disappointment in the past eleven years, but Ramsey keeps on.
He writes of a range of speeches commemorating Clive Cameron, the redoubtably combatant Whitlam-era minister:
Clyde Cameron died nine days ago. One of Labor’s last great
dinosaurs, however you define “great”, all the obituaries referred
to his immense capacity for “hatred”. Cameron’s abiding desire in
his latter years was to outlive Gough Whitlam, but he didn’t make
it, and when the condolence speeches rolled out in the national
Parliament this week, none was as eloquent or as incisive as the
one written by Sydney’s Ashley Hogan for her boss, John Faulkner,
the “father” of the NSW Left and one of Kevin Rudd’s inner
circle.

It began like this: “Of all the things I could say about Clyde
Cameron – about what he did, about what he achieved – one thing is
paramount, from which all the rest stemmed: Clyde Cameron could
count. He could count the number of members in a statewide union
ballot. He could count the number of votes on the state or federal
executive of his union and party. He could count exactly how many
votes the AWU could control at ALP conferences. In 1955 he counted
how many votes Doc Evatt needed at federal conference to expel the
Groupers. In 1970 he counted how many votes Gough Whitlam needed on
the federal executive to intervene in the unelectable Victorian
branch. Both times, as history attests, he got his sums right.”

See what I mean?

Economy, simplicity, rhythm.

This is not just to suck up. It is to acknowledge a great truth
of which most politicians in our current national Parliament know
nothing. Mainly, though, it is to let you in on an old but
marvellous story Faulkner recounted about Cameron’s creative
ability to get things done.

Hogan wrote: “In 1967, for example, he got Frank Walsh to stand
down as premier [of South Australia] to make way for Don Dunstan,
by moving a motion at the party’s state council congratulating
Walsh for putting the party’s interests ahead of his own by
standing down in favour of a younger man. This was the first Frank
Walsh had heard of his selfless decision, but when the council
erupted in a standing ovation, he saw the writing on the wall. This
was not Clyde’s normal way, though. He later said: ‘Nobody likes to
see any outfit run by one man, so it was important to be discreet.
A person who holds power is a madman to flaunt it.’ “

Now you see the point.

Are you listening, Prime Minister?

More than worth noting!