In the 80s cartoon series The Transformers, the character of Starscream was always my favourite. He was egotistic, self important, driven, backstabbing and insubordinate to his leader, Megatron. But I've always wondered, given the open disloyalty Starscream continually demonstrated, why Megatron kept him around.
Well, I haven't always wondered that. Truth be told, five-year-old Simon probably wasn't too concerned with the internal politics of the Decepticons. My analysis at the time was most likely, "Robots transforming! Woo!"
Starscream wasn't shy about his ambitions to lead the Decepticons, in fact he let everyone know. Surely, Megatron was aware of this and it begs the question: Why didn't he get rid of him?
Not only did he keep Starscream on staff, but he entrusted his rival with important tasks, giving Starscream prominence and a grounding to wage a leadership campaign. In the 1984 film, The Transformers: The Movie, Starscream overthrows an injured Megatron and I've got to say, Megatron only had himself to blame.
The same can be said of Julia Gillard.
Kevin Rudd unashamedly destabilised her leadership. Everyone knew he wanted to be the Prime Minister again, so why keep him around?
Rudd is self aggrandising, whiny, believes leadership is his destiny and goes on and on about himself to the annoyance of all. Kevin Rudd is Starscream.
Julia Gillard's mistake was not to properly take him down. Her defeat of Kevin in 2010 has always been referred to as a political knifing. I think of it more as a slight grazing. If you're going to take someone out, you don't then make them Foreign Minister. You put them to the back bench, or force an ambassadorship to Antarctica, but don't have your adversary zooming all over the globe meeting with world leaders. Even Megatron would think that folly.
The Starscreams of the world never give up. Like in the 1984 Transformers movie, it should have been no surprise when after a mortal battle with Tony Abbott (who is not Optimus Prime, by the way), Julia limped back to the good ship ALP; her personal approval in tatters, groaning, "Wait, Kevin; I still function..." that Kev seized the moment and set her adrift.
As Rudd ponders his future and his colleagues debate whether or not he should quit parliament, I'll leave you with the words of Starscream: "Bill Shorten has fallen! I, Starscream am leader!"