Friday, October 21, 2011
Confessions of a faceless man inside campaign 2010 by Paul Howes
Confessions of a faceless man, is the memoirs of Paul Howes, head of the Australian workers union during the Australian 2010 election.
The first time I ever saw or knew anything about Paul Howes was on election night. He came across as pretty cocky, yet sharp. The book confirmed this view. The youngest leader of Australia biggest union he is in a significant position. The book is as much about him as well as his unions roll in the Labour party. I admired his intellect and his deep sense of history and indebtedness to leaders and workers in the unions who went before him.
Yet there was a side which was black. I couldn't get over he could make assumptions about people so quickly, often because it is just where they sit politically. It reminded be of basic psychology where people often make up there mind about someone in the first 90 seconds. Howes does this in 5 seconds.
This was a significant theme in the book. The roller coaster of good week, bad week of the election campaign. The leaks, the election debates, the polls. Because the election was still relatively fresh in my mind much of what Howes' spoke about I could remember quite clearly. The book did give fresh insight into the election.
Rudd was deposed as Prime Minister just week prior to the election. Really the only involvement of Howes in this saga was a phone call asking if his union would back the change of prime minister to Julia Gillard. Howes spends a significant time defending the Unions and the Labour partys decision to do this. Bagging Rudd is a constant theme in the book. Rudd gets just as much of a rubbishing as the leader of the opposition Tony Abbott.
I have to agree with Howes on much of his assessment on Rudd. Yet Rudd was unique in the labour party; not belonging to any factional group. I wonder how much this was significance on his inability to lead well and ultimately poor numbers when the Caucus voted for his leadership position.
Unions and Labours shared DNA
This was one are in the book which really opened my eyes. I didn't really understand the relationship of the unions with the labour party. They are incredibly intertwined and both sharing much DNA. The number of politicians that he mention which have significant union involvement is large.
I must admit I was pretty disappointed with this. I suppose I like my politicians to represent my electorate, not the unions. I suppose the same could be said for the liberal party and there relationship with big business.
All up a great book, easy read and I like his humour at times. I'm sure at some stage Howes' will enter politics and be line for the top job.