Friday, February 22, 2008


Australia's Muldoon?

I normally try to avoid talking about politics on this blog, and there are other people who do it better. But I thought I might kick John Howard in the head one more time, just to keep the joy fresh. I'd like to share with you, dear readers, a thought that has occurred to me lately.

John Howard is Australia's Rob Muldoon. This only struck me when listening to the long-overdue "sorry" speech back-to-back with David Lange at the Oxford Union, but there's more to it an them both being ousted by fast-talking public-school boys who overshadowed them almost immediately. I'm not prepared to defend the resemblance between Rudd and Lange in any great length, but I think the Howard-Muldoon contrast has legs. Both small-minded, short-statured, xenophobic control freaks who won't be kindly remembered by history. They lived in different worlds, of course; Howard would have wet himself if he could have exercised the kind of power Muldoon had over the nation. But, like Muldoon, the attraction Howard held for the electorate is hard to explain in hindsight.

There a still a few of Muldoon's fanatical fanboys around, albeit diminished in numbers, but it's getting hard to find anyone prepared to admit to supporting the Springbok tour. Or who can remember what they thought, John Keys, you lying coward. It may be too soon to tell what'll happen to the memory of Howard, but Brendan Nelson's pitiful attempt to adopt a Howardesque stance on Aboriginal reconciliation certainly went down like a lead balloon. The man himself was conspicuously nowhere to be seen to defend his long-held position. And while his sycophantic toadies in the publication that we Sydneysiders laughingly refer to as our daily newspaper continue to toe the faltering party line, I think someone should tell them that they're rapidly becoming unfashionable. Miranda Devine, I am looking at you.

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