Crean came, and Crean went.
Watching him in action this evening at Melbourne University was rather underwhelming. Looking at the body language, the tone and the complete lack of ideas, it seems that Crean still has quite got over being dumped as Labor leader. Despite a promising, although slightly earnest, theme - Young People and Australian Politics - Crean managed to completely lack inspiration. He spent some time rehashing Beazley's budget reply *yawn*, then went on to excuse the utter mediocrity of Labor in opposition. No hopes, no dreams, no inspiring words to give hope the true believers. This was a colour-by-numbers speech.
One of the more frustrating aspects of Crean's talk was an aspect that has long frustated me about the Labor Party - they're critical of the government for its supposed lack of generousity with the spending of the surplus, but completely lack any acknowledgement that the reason the surplus exists in the first place is frugal economic management. Having said that, there's merit to Crean's push for infrastructure spending, a long term investment that will pay long term dividends.
Given Crean's lack of enthusiasm, you have to wonder why he bothered putting up a fight for preselection earlier this year. His chances of being leader again are almost zero, he also seems unlikely to be a senior minister when the ALP return to government, with the post-Keating era MPs the likely stars of the future. Unfortunately he lacks the gravitas to be a backbench intellectual, in the tradition of Barry Jones.
So what does the future hold for Crean? If tonight is any indication, a decent superannuation payout and a lie down is the answer.