You could say
I’m a little obsessed by the goings on in the Big House in
Canberra over the last week or so. It’s been so much fun and the
irony, belly laughs and general sense of humour coming out of
the place seems to indicate that we did, indeed, get dudded.
cultural warriors who championed the demise of political
correctness and the rise of Hansonism; those who threw truth
overboard as they pursued their ‘purification’ of the Australian
‘way of life’; those who believed that war, at any cost, was
worth far more than peace at the cost of profits and who
believed that absolutely every wage slave would better off under
their unfair and unjust workplace laws have now ‘seen the light’
and obtained ‘fresh guidance’ on their thinking.
an apology (of sorts but hey, lets not be too hard on the racist
hardliners – at least Brendan made the effort) and a week later
culminating in a bit of practical politicking and the scrapping
of their workplace philosophy, it seems the Libs and Nats have
seen the light and humbled themselves. Perhaps not.
night saw the first public humiliation of John Howard by his
former “mates” and colleagues as they opened up and perhaps, for
the first time in their public lives, told us the truth about
themselves. However, what intrigued me most about their
‘revelations’ was that they all blamed poor John.
If we are to
believe Costello, Hockey, Minchin, Downer et al it would
seem that they and others, who spoke out about his unwillingness
to bend to public sentiment, his willingness to renege on his
retirement promises and their self-recriminations over not
speaking up a little more vociferously in the party room, were
totally without agency over the last 11 years. Bollocks!
and snivelling sycophants were totally responsible for all the
decisions. Collectively they promoted the racist policies;
decried those who objected to their excesses; bought into
poverty thousands who could have been employed and oversaw the
biggest increase in the wealth gap during their tenure.
home blame to John each of the Four Corner’s guests revealed,
with customary unanimity, their own failures as politicians and
custodians of not only the common wealth but also the public
discourse. “Don’t blame us.” They shouted as one. “John didn’t
listen to us.” Again, bollocks!
conservative parties rip themselves apart and grasp the reality
of pragmatic politics, they can’t find it within themselves to
admit that their desire to hold on to power and privilege at any
cost rode roughshod over their responsibility to guide and shape
the nation for the better.
And so, here
we are, a week out from the “parliamentary” apology – not even
Rudd is game to admit total social failure when if comes to the
First Australians – and we find that the Libs and Nats have got
some fresh insight and realised that Work Choices was, perhaps,
not such a good idea. Yet, less than four months ago all of them
swore black and blue that work choices was the single most
memorable piece of legislation the Howard government introduced.
Seems like, as I’ve said before, the great forgetting has
But what of
John W. Howard? He seems to have disappeared off the map. Well,
not really. He’s been signed up as one of the ‘worlds greatest
speakers’ and is now getting paid obscene amounts to speak at
private functions around the globe. I’m not sure what he’s
speaking about but I do wonder if he is introduced as
“Australia’s greatest Prime Minister”. Who knows? Who cares?
What is important to remember is that he will never be held
accountable for the pain and suffering he facilitated.
apparent from the last week of parliamentary shenanigans is that
sorry is one word the Libs and Nats still find hard to say. No
sorry to the Four Corner’s audience for their spineless
performance while in government in not standing up for their,
now declared, scruples; no sorry to the thousands who had their
pay cut or lost their jobs under their Work Choices; no sorry to
Haneef, the surviving relatives of SEIV X, David Hicks or Vivian
Alverez-Salon and no apology to their fanatical ideological base
on whom they now turn their backs.
It is obvious
that the Liberal and National Party’s candidates are selected
not for their intellectual and moral fortitude but rather
because they are willing to dance to the tune their pipers call.
Even good old Barnaby Joyce is seemingly unwilling to speak out
and boast that he ‘told them so’ when he raised his “personal”
concerns over the Howard government excesses. Perhaps he might
have spilled the beans and ratted out his grovelling colleagues
and their willingness to sell out their morals for the taste of
power. Maybe that’s why he and others, remain mute to date.
We did get
duded by the Howard years. I can’t say I’m hopeful that the Rudd
years will be any different once the fresh paint on the same old
policies is dried and their true intent is realised. However, I
am confident that the new public discourse that Rudd has
introduced may soften the national conversation somewhat and
that, in doing so, he will enable us to find more creative ways
to stand up to power and resist the excesses so obvious under
I guess that
while this is happening I will remain obsessed and amused by the
squirming and public humiliation that the Libs and Nats must
endure as they rebuild their brand and attempt to steal back the
franchise they so desperately desire. I guess I will continue to
get my belly laughs from listening to and watching the evening
news and quality current affairs programs. My only real
political hope is that we are now a little wiser, collectively
and won’t allow ourselves to be dudded in the same way again.