Labor's time machine
WHAT would Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard each give for a time machine?
Imagine: KRudd could go back to the dying days of 2009 and, when Julia and Wayne Swan told past Kevin to ditch the Emissions Trading Scheme he could have had him say "Nah, let's try an election instead".
Or he could go back to the first half of 2010 and tell past Kev he might be nicer to staff and colleagues.
Future Julia could go back to, say, May 2010, and tell past KRudd to pull his head in. Or, she could go back to the 2010 ALP National Conference and hint that trying to excise Kev from Labor history might come back to bite her.
But there is no time machine and the Morlocks of Federal Labor now have to try and pretend they never called each other "psychotic", "chaotic" or any of the other fun phrases they have lobbed about like a beach ball at a rock concert.
Is the war over? Can they all go back to being friends? The experience of past challenges (eg: Bob Hawke and Paul Keating) and frustrated ambitions (eg: John Howard and Peter Costello) suggests not.
What can happen now is present Kevin can sit quietly at the back of the party room, throw himself at his constituents and other good causes and await what he sees as future Julia's inevitable defeat.
If he's right, if he can remain Australia's favourite politician, if he can convince colleagues he truly has changed, then who knows - maybe he can become Lazarus with a quadruple bypass and lead Labor back from the wilderness again in 2016.