Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mark Latham: A vignette from Balmain

It was a dark and lonely Sunday night in Balmain, the most depressing time of the week, not long after Mark Latham lost the election.

Think before you speak, Mark
The streets were largely deserted, but there was one pool of light from a cafe in the most prominent spot in the shopping strip, where Darling St crosses Rowntree. The cafe was empty, but for one table right out on the street, where no passer-by could fail to notice Mark Latham, his wife and children. They had Tigers gear on, there'd been a match, but all the other fans had long gone home.

Now this is something you can't prove, but DH likes to think she is highly intuitive, and in the instant she sashayed past,  she thought she caught a whiff of absolute desolation and despair. And a sense of a sad, worried wife determined to stand by her man. The children too were subdued.  It felt sad, sad, sad.

Now at that time, DH really liked Mark Latham, and she thought of backtracking to offer him a bit of human cheer and support. For Balmain still had a tradition of hating a lousy Liberal, and loving a Labor trier. But she was afraid of intruding, and maybe there was a note of "look at me, but don't look at me" in the display, the kind more familiar in teenage rebels with rings through their noses. Again, who knows?

But it's sad to see a big brave man with good ideas and a grand vision broken.

These are not times that honour "characters", eccentrics,  gutsy speech or grand gestures. But perhaps we do understand and care more now about people struggling with mental imbalances, mood swings, and poor judgment.  What to do when people go visibly off the rails, or when their passion for a single truth trumps their effectiveness in a complex world?

For a start, how about not giving them any media rope to hang themselves with?  Let's hope Mark Latham pulls a rabbit out of the hat during his appearance on 9.  For his sake and ours. 

He's right that Labor is absolutely on the nose, but the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

Other Balmain vignettes on this blog eg:
When Barry met Nathan at the Sackville Remembering Paddy McGuiness 

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