What a slimy, self-regarding, small, repugnant, grub of a man

I’ve become so inured to the sight of our current Prime Minister arrogating the ceremonial duties of our Governor General that I tend to no longer be outraged. Thankfully, Ken Lovell at Surfdom is not so reticent, and his description of the PM delivering the Remembrance Day Speech and laying the first wreath at the National War Memorial forms the title of this post.

convey a single message to the incoming PM:

Sir, you are the head of a political party. You are not Australia’s head of state.

It’s a message that needs to be made frequently and powerfully until the politicians understand it and act upon it. Because along with all the other damage that John Winston Howard has done to this country with his creeping opportunism, his cynical expediency, his tawdry instinctive lunge for the cheap immediate party-political point-scoring over any thought of the national interest … along with all that must be reckoned Howard’s destruction of the office of Governor-General.

I have no objection to the PM attending Remembrance Day service at the National War Memorial. It is appropriate for him to be there. But it is also appropriate for him to respect our nation’s constitutional head of state by giving the GG the primacy that is his due at a national occasion. He should not speak, especially not during an election campaign, and he should lay his wreath after the Governor General has laid the first.

crossposted from Hoyden about Town

About these ads
About

writer, singer, webwrangler, blogger, comedy tragic | about.me/vivsmythe

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in federal election '07, Howardia
29 comments on “What a slimy, self-regarding, small, repugnant, grub of a man
  1. As we all know well, thanks to Missing Link, hc doesn’t agree with Ken. Harry helpfully provided a link to this report of what the PM said. I quote:

    At the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Prime Minister John Howard said the recent deaths in Afghanistan of Trooper David Pearce and Sergeant Matthew Locke had been “a sad and vivid reminder of the ageless nature of sacrifice on behalf of a free people”.

    Mr Howard said the sacrifices of war were disproportionate and unfair.

    That both of these deaths should have occurred at a time of an election campaign that celebrates in a sense the great democracy not only here but around the world that they and others that have fallen in battle have died for, has reminded us not only in a symbolic way but in a real way of the nature of sacrifice in war,” he said. (my emphasis)

    Myself, I can’t see how anyone could mistake the mention of David Pearce and Matthew Locke, and the election, for anything other than political opportunism.

  2. philiptravers says:

    Glad I didnt really tune in to what the Prime Minister said,and maybe the GG deferred to Howard for personal reasons,that only a Viet veteran for the sake of mates,and the outcome of civilians as soldiers alike could. A case of self-respect riding higher than the miscreant Howard for those also fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  3. Foucault A Go Go says:

    tigtog

    Nice sentiments, but won’t happen. Until the Head of State is legitimised by the will of the people, we will continue to have this intolerable situation of a President the people did not vote for – the PM. The Turnbull Republican crowd – supported by pollies on both sides of politics – were the ones who “broke the nation’s heart” by proposing an insulting model that refused to acknowledge the wisdom of the people in directly selecting the Head of State.

  4. Helen says:

    I don’t know, I agree the arrogation of the GG’s role is a bad thing, but I can’t help thinking that I’m much more outraged at stuff like the illegal detention of Tony Tran and all the other examples of the way jH has made our society more inhumane. A wreath here or there doesn’t even make it onto my obstrepero-meter given the sheer level of continual outrage.

    (The JH pinata awaits its final layer of papier mache for the 24th.)

  5. Mug Punter says:

    Howard is the most consistent and predictable politician of this era.

    The fish rots from the head.

  6. Foucault A Go Go says:

    Helen

    I could not agree more. While I understand why new governments are loathe to drag previous administrations through the mud, on the issue of DIMIA, we must insist Rudd et. al make an exception. I seriously cried while watching the Tran story.

  7. Zarquon says:

    The Governor-generalship is a tawdry colonial relic. It should be ignored and then abolished.

    Maintain the rage!

  8. grace pettigrew says:

    Well, if Turnbull manages to hang onto Wentworth (and Newhouse really looks like a man who does not want to win), then let’s hope that he walks over heads to the top of the Liberal Party, and his leadership allows a bipartisan push for an Australian Republic by 2010.

  9. pablo says:

    Yeah it would be nice if Rudd would come out with some assurances that he won’t be a potentate clone like Howard, as he has done in reasuring us that ministerial responsibility will be restored. My wishful thinking is that Rudd will ask GG Jeffries to find some backbone as the sun finally sets on the feathered tax free one.

  10. tigtog says:

    Helen and Foucault a go go, you are quite right that there are more important outrages committed under Howard’s stewardship than some arrogating of ceremonial protocols.

    However, I present it because it is just such a telling sign of the smallminded pettiness in Howard, this grabbing on to public dignities that are not rightfully his, just because he can (as he did with grabbing Kirribilli House). I think it’s worth reminding people what a tawdrily grandiose idea he has of himself and his position, and how much worse it could get over another term in office.

  11. Foucault A Go Go says:

    tigtog

    Oh, I actually think it is an extremely important issue. I am a big believer in the merit of having a Head of State who is admired by the people and seen as somewhat ‘above the political fray.’ Heck, I would even strongly support a much more prominent role for the GG even if we did not change the Constitution. I have no doubt that once Howard goes, the GG’s role will be restored, no matter who is in government.

  12. wilful says:

    Someone on Road to Surfdom suggested Kirby J for next G.G.

    I like the idea!

  13. suzeoz says:

    “the ageless nature of sacrifice on behalf of a free people”

    That he makes these highly ideological (and highly questionable) statements in the name of Australia is what sends my obstrepero-meter off the charts.

  14. wmmbb says:

    Good gracious, Ken L, the insidiousness of American speech forms and mannerisms. Let me translate:
    “Mate, you are head of a political party . . .”

  15. Paul Burns says:

    You guys don’t get it at all. {smile]
    When Oz becomes a republic John Howard will be the first person to put up his hand for President, even if by that time he’s in a wheelchair and on an oxygen tank. Jeannette will make him do it, just so she can get back into Kirribilli House. At whach point whoever succeeds Rudd as Labor PM should immediately move into Kirribbilli, just to nark the old bastard.
    On a more serious note, as I’ve commented at least twice before, there is no democratic institution in this country that Howard has not corrupted in some way, including the neutrality of a caretaker government.

  16. Adam says:

    don’t worry paul, i doubt howard will survive more than three years of retirement, despite his power-walks. the republic won’t be here that soon…

  17. nasking says:

    “What a slimy, self-regarding, small, repugnant, grub of a man”

    Apt description tigtog, i knew immediately who you were referring to. Top of the class.

  18. boredinHK says:

    “However, I present it because it is just such a telling sign of the smallminded pettiness in Howard, this grabbing on to public dignities that are not rightfully his, just because he can (as he did with grabbing Kirribilli House). ”
    Isn’t Kirribilli House there for the PM ? I don’t care if he doesn’t want to live in Canberra.
    Admirality House is available for the GG to use when in Sydney.

  19. tigtog says:

    Kirribilli House has since 1956 been meant to be a place for foreign guests of the Commonwealth to reside when on official visits to Sydney, sometimes with the PM as their host (the prior history of the Commonwealth’s use of the house is rather ad hoc). It was never meant to be a permanent residence for the Prime Minister alone, and no other PM has presumed to use it so.

    The PM should live in the nation’s capital. It’s a no brainer.

  20. This looks to be a first step, by Howard, in republicanism by stealth. Presumably all these defenders of the G-G’s role are monarchists?

  21. David says:

    Hey lay off the constant jibes at “small” men! Has any one else noticed the proliferation of this meme of late on LP? When is body size relevant to political beliefs? (I hope it’s not, because I’m pretty sure righties are on average ‘bigger’ than lefties!)

    As a lefty whose not quite a swashbuckling bodybuilder, I’m wondering if my political opinions are intrinsically less valuable!

  22. wilful says:

    This looks to be a first step, by Howard, in republicanism by stealth. Presumably all these defenders of the G-G’s role are monarchists?

    No SATP, we’re supporters of the separation of powers and the fact that it’s considered poor form for the Head of the Executive Government to also pretend to be the Head of the Armed Forces and to usurp the role of Head of State. Be it a G-G or a popularly elected president (*shudder*), what Howard is doing is wrong.

  23. Katz says:

    Kirribilli House has since 1956 been meant to be a place for foreign guests of the Commonwealth to reside when on official visits to Sydney, sometimes with the PM as their host (the prior history of the Commonwealth’s use of the house is rather ad hoc). It was never meant to be a permanent residence for the Prime Minister alone, and no other PM has presumed to use it so.

    Perhaps, to end this unseemly fracas about what to do with Kirribilli House, after the next election Mr and Mrs Howard might be permanently immured in the mansion like the monstrously deformed Egg Man of Glamis.

    http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/paranormal_realm/117667

    As ardent royalists, the Howards may approve.

  24. Wilful, please cut & paste links to evidence of your similar outrage when the previous Prime Minister did the same thing, many times, at a series of WWII 50th anniversary do’s.

  25. Graham Bell says:

    Tigtog:
    Quite apart from being, when he was young, the boss-cocky of an organization whose privleged members seemed to have more luck than others in avoiding National Service [military conscription for the Viet-Nam War] ….
    And quite apart from being Fraser’s Treasurer and then being the Prime Minister who really sank the boot into war veterans and their families whilst parading himself before the media claque as some sort of flag-waving “patriotic Aussie” ….

    I too was disgusted by the behavior of George Bush’s transPacific office-boy at recent military funerals and on Armistice Day.

    Paul Burns [on 18]:
    ” “When Oz becomes a republic John Howard will be the first person to put up his hand for President ….” “. What do you mean “when”? He has been the de facto president of a de facto republic [paying only lip-service to the remote monarch and to traditional formalities] for the past eleven years. It was because of this that he could get away with abuse of power, as you put it, ” “there is no democratic institution in this country that Howard has not corrupted in some way, including the neutrality of a caretaker government” “. And Australia has the hypocrisy to chide Fiji’s Commodore Bainimarama and Pakistan’s General Pervez Musharraf for their political actions.

  26. tigtog says:

    Hey lay off the constant jibes at “small” men!

    It’s a reference to the size of his conscience, his decency and general character, David. Nothing to do with physicality. But I think you knew that, really.

    Wilful, please cut & paste links to evidence of your similar outrage when the previous Prime Minister did the same thing, many times, at a series of WWII 50th anniversary do’s

    Now that shouldn’t be hard in any way at all, because so many of us were commenting on blogs back in 1995.

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: