The times conspire to give the appearance that Labor is terminal. The cycle of state governments is running against Labor, its membership is dwindling and its standard bearer, the federal government, is weak.
For Labor, minor omissions have had major consequences. Had NSW Liberals elected a better leader than Peter Debnam, Labor would have suffered a mild defeat at the 2007 election and be on the way back.
Labor is not alone in losing members. Candidate selection, campaigning and policy-making have been outsourced from the ranks in the other main parties.
The electorate is more responsive to offers than to ideology, which is not a good thing, but it is not a peculiarly Labor problem.
And had senior members of Labor's federal caucus got to Kevin Rudd before Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan, Labor today would have had an emissions trading scheme in place (hopefully in mothballs waiting for the rest of the world's) and been returned in its own right at last year's election.
Despite these travails, Labor remains essentially humanist, concerned with the needs, wellbeing and interests of people.
The Greens, by contrast, will never defend humanity against nature. Brown regards humans as tellurians, inhabitants of the earth, along with plants and animals. The Greens care little for our most important gift, our intelligence, or for our most important human achievements, such as our families and our nations. On these grounds, the Greens can never be a mainstream party.
Picture Brown's address to (his recently mooted) United Nations of all People. "Tellurians of the world unite!" He gets no further because a Chinese guard drags him off stage as a dangerous environmentalist and gay activist.
And so on.........