Image for Kevin flies in the No-fly Zone. Labor struggles into the air ...

As a long-time (in my case very long) observer of politics, I must give overwhelming credit to Kevin Rudd, once Prime Minister, now Foreign Minister, for the just-announced UN decision for a No-Fly Zone over Libya (Implementing the No-Fly Zone, HERE).

Kevin went onto the front foot last week, way ahead of other world foreign ministers, let alone world leaders, calling for UN leadership, as others pondered and dithered.

And, the leader Labor (but not obviously the people, ( Has Australian politics ever been more depressing, HERE ) so comprehensively rejected, wasn’t just putting himself out there on Libya.

He was way ahead of the rest in warning about the need for Japan to properly brief the world on the dangers of potential nuclear catastrophe.

While PM Julia Gillard dithered and diplomatically soft-pedalled - certainly not the tear-jerking assertive (and cringe-worthy) Julia of Congress address (HERE) - Rudd showed real leadership, sensing the fears and voicing the inclinations of many (some?) Australians.

I watched ABC’s Insiders last Sunday as Barry and the hired hands (who included Andrew Bolt) rounded on recalcitrant Kevin; condemning his temerity in speaking the truth - as he saw it. And Barry, much to my disappointment, happily joined in.

Now, irrespective of what you think of Kevin 07 - and he is vilified inside and outside of Labor as an out-of-control megalomaniac -  he was right on these two issues.

And crucially ... in a Labor world dominated by cautious machine-man-and-woman focus group/opinion poll politics, how refreshing was it to see a politician of (apparent) conviction ...

• Business Spectator: Everything you need to know about nuclear
The BS Weekend Briefing

First published: 2011-03-18 06:08 PM

Poll Bludger: Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor

Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor
Monday, March 21, 2011 – 11:08 pm, by William Bowe

The Australian has managed to keep its Newspoll (HERE)result under wraps until publication, possibly because the highly unexpected result was being quintuple-checked to ensure nothing had gone amiss. The surprise is a big rebound for Labor after a string of poor shows, their primary vote up from an all-time low of 30 per cent to an almost respectable 36 per cent, and the 54-46 deficit recorded in the wake of the carbon tax announcement has been reversed to a 51-49 surplus (one wonders what metaphor Laurie Oakes might be able to employ this week). Labor has taken a chunk out of both the Coalition, down five points to 40 per cent, and the Greens, down three to 12 per cent (it seems the two-point post-carbon tax rise they recorded a fortnight ago was peculiar to that poll).

Newspoll seems to hit upon a particularly bad sample for Tony Abbott, whose approval was down six to 33 per cent and disapproval up three to 54 per cent. However, this has not transferred into a huge improvement for Julia Gillard, who after a shocking result last week is up a point on approval to 40 per cent and down four on disapproval to 47 per cent. On preferred prime minister however she is almost back to where she was a month ago: over the past three polls it has progressed from 53-31 to 45-36 to 50-31.

While the figures are hard to believe at face value, this isn’t the first evidence to suggest that Labor has actually recovered slightly since the polls fell in behind 54-46 after the carbon tax announcement. The Morgan phone poll published on Friday, albeit that it came from a small sample, had the Coalition lead at just 51-49, and we have since seen the rolling fortnightly Essential Research track a point in Labor’s direction.

This post began life with a headline announcing the 53-47 to Coalition result in Essential Research, which I ran with as it appeared we wouldn’t be getting a Newspoll. It read thus:

Essential has the Coalition lead down from ...

Read the rest HERE