The manner of his leaving

Well, that’s it, then. The poll has been declared in Bennelong, and John Howard showed up to concede defeat and congratulate the new member for Bennelong, Maxine McKew. Some are seeking solace in small mercies:

Mr Howard could draw satisfaction that he drew more primary votes than any challenger.

But after the distribution of preferences, compulsory for a valid vote in the Australian system, his small lead was not enough and Labor Maxine McKew was victorious by 2434 votes.

I don’t know what that’s all about, unless some journos think that a first past the post system might be in order (note to said journos – if you wanted to see a Ruddslide, that would have delivered one…) I’m not going to attempt to write some sort of balanced account of John Howard’s career, and I don’t see the need to acknowledge any positives in his contribution to public life, except to say that he appeared gracious in defeat when conceding to McKew. We’re all too close to the thankfully now ended Howard years to make any sort of objective assessment in my view – though no doubt if I scratched my head I could think of some good the man did, I’m basically so very far from not being sorry that he’s gone. But here’s an open thread should anyone feel the need to reflect on what I think can now be formally declared as… the end of the Howard era!

maxine mckew

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Posted in federal election '07, history, Howardia, politics
108 comments on “The manner of his leaving
  1. Enemy Combatant says:

    Long may thee run, Maxine, most gracious of Rodent Slayers.

  2. fred says:

    I wonder how incestuous and blinkered are the thoughts and feelings that pervade these [lefty] blog sites?
    Everybody I know, which is a very small sample of the population and the range of views thereof, has described feelings along the lines of [some are quotes] –
    ‘Thank god its over’
    ‘Its like a great weight has been lifted off our shoulders’
    ‘Its the close of an era and the start of a better day’
    ‘Imagine what it would have been like if he/they had got back in…..ugghhh!’
    ‘now we can hope again…’
    ‘It’s so nice to turn on the TV news and not expect another act of ugliness…”
    ‘I still can’t believe he’s gone’
    ‘I can watch TV and not have to be disgusted or walk out of the room when he comes on..”
    ‘I’ve waited years for this’
    ‘I have no feelings of sympathy whatsoever”

    And lots more similar.
    Not much of a political epitah is it?

  3. Enemy Combatant says:

    Senator Faulkner’s comment is most illuminating and echoes much of the eloquence expressed on this blog around that time of the campaign.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/how-labor-won-asian-votes-for-mckew/2007/12/12/1197135558234.html

  4. He will not be missed.

  5. silkworm says:

    Howard used to be a climate change denialist, but then he changed his mind and declared it was real. Why doesn’t he use his friendship with Bush to talk some sense into him about the reality of climate change?

  6. Katz says:

    Jesus revived Lazarus.

    What the hell did Lazarus do with his second chance?

    Ditto Howard.

    Amen.

  7. Constituent of Bennelong says:

    “As I’ve often said throughout my political life, the things that unite us as Australians are far greater and more enduring than the things which divide us,” Howard said.

    Yep – thats why you’re finally toast!

  8. Peter Kemp says:

    Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after
    And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
    He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
    And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
    When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
    And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

    — W. H. Auden

  9. Muskiemp says:

    I now have a “Happy TV” since the 24th.

  10. philiptravers says:

    Orang Utans.What John has completely shown me,is not to trust the ALP at all,because they couldnt get rid of him for eleven years.Not to trust any feeling that they might be doing the right thing ,when lacking direct and real experience of those doings.Not to trust them because,it wasnt McKew who had the ambition to take on Howard but her husband Hogg,a noxious greedy bastard who doesnt give a stuff about much but power,and shows more skills in manipulating generalities and the people who will express them ,than,the reality of how difficult human life is outside of manipulation and image making.What is this crap,that someone who can stare into a camera as journalist is anymore enabled than someone who cut his teeth on radio to win soap powder for mum,at 16!.Nothing.Its as Andrew Bartlett in describing his response to a artist at his site.Heinz Baked Beans to the lot of you.Warholes!?

  11. Enemy Combatant says:

    It wasn’t Brian’s fault that The Party was held hostage by dud “product”!

    “He wondered why there was no ad campaign to accompany the $34 billion in tax cuts the Coalition promised.

    Senator Nick Minchin told the meeting no ads were prepared because Mr Howard was paranoid about the announcement leaking and therefore Mr Loughnane was not to blame. Victorian Sophie Mirabella interjected: “Just because we were hostage to one man doesn’t make it right.”

    The deputy leader, Julie Bishop, said Mr Loughnane did the best job he could given the product he was trying to sell.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/a-postmortem-but-with-scalpels-or-knives/2007/12/12/1197135558300.html

    How quaint it is to witness a “Senior Advisor” of an organisation of economic rationalits dump on a twelve year leader as a dud “product” manager.
    Ya just gotta love the loyalty that underpins Liberal Party Family Values.

  12. Pollytickedofff says:

    “that he appeared gracious in defeat”

    I disagree. To appear gracious in defeat, IMO, he would have conceded when it was clear he was going to lose and not waited for the result to be formally declared.

  13. David Rubie says:

    From Enemy Combatants link:

    At the first post-election meeting of the Liberal Party’s federal executive yesterday, it was agreed that Dr Nelson, the former federal minister David Kemp, and Melbourne businessman John Calvert-Jones would oversee the post-mortem.

    Yep. Resurrect Count Yorga from the dead (alongside fellow reanimated corpse Ruddock I suppose). That’ll fix it.

    They are showing all the symptoms of being heavily in denial. “It was the product” sez Bishop, “It was the marketing, not the product”, “it was the head salesman, not the product” comes back the rest of the choir.

    It seems the intense Julie Bishop is the only one who has an inkling of what is wrong. It’ll be interesting to see whether she has any influence on the outcome, since she is in denial herself over WorkChoices.

  14. Ambigulous says:

    Were they not like rabbits caught in headlights, those last few months?

    Some thinking that dumping JWH as late as September might be a fine idea; waiting for a poll bounce; running the Howard-Costello Succession Planning Team up the flagpole hoping someone might salute; bringing out the Big Tax Cuts so late, and without ads – reminiscent of Gough springing his Abolition of a Tax (payroll tax?) in 1977 at the party launch like a rabbit out of a hat, he whose economic “credibility” was woeful; Abbott flailing around; Downer quietly hysterical; Costello grim; Ruddock absent; JWH tied down in Bennelong every weekend and looking anxious. And as the bloggers noted, campaigning hard in what should have been SAFE Coalition seats, that gave the game away.

    They were reading private polling and the news was almost uniformly dismal.

    Poor buggers.

    I g

  15. Ambigulous says:

    sorry

    “I g”

    was a typo

  16. Aussiesmurf says:

    I approved of one major Federal Government initiative during the tenure of John Howard as Prime Minister – the revision of the gun laws.

    Apart from that, in my opinion, John Howard was a terrible Prime Minister, who has squandered the economic work of the Hawke / Keating years.

    Socially, his record is even worse, fostering a xenophobic and distrustful society, always keen to blame those less powerful for troubles and difficulties.

    And that’s the kindest obituary I could write, after pondering for several minutes!

  17. tony says:

    Agree with the previous comment. Howard had one standout achievment. He successfully took on the gun lobby.

    Can’t think of any others …

  18. Andrew says:

    Kim,

    Has it ever occurred to you that the real reason we have problems with divisiveness in Australia is because of attitudes like this –

    “I’m not going to attempt to write some sort of balanced account of John Howard’s career, and I don’t see the need to acknowledge any positives in his contribution to public life, except to say that he appeared gracious in defeat when conceding to McKew. We’re all too close to the thankfully now ended Howard years to make any sort of objective assessment in my view”

    Thankfully the level of support for divisive politicans such as Pauline Hanson and Bob Brown is relatively small – but it dismays me that adherents of these type of folk then end up ‘hating’ relatively moderate centre-right politicians like Howard or relatively moderate centre-left politicians like Gillard.

    If we are going to bring everyone together we need to be able to let go of our prejudices and hates and acknowledge that the other side of politics may have valid points of view on various topics. Surely we can disagree without hating?

    Passion is a wonderful thing – but when we lose objectivity then passion creates conflict.

    I voted for Rudd this time because I see him as moderate politician firmly in the centre ground – I look forward to seeing whether he can heal some of the divides. I suspect initially the haters on the left and right will both get stuck into him, but perhaps over time, if we remain objective, the sensible middle ground will prevail.

  19. Leinad says:

    Crawford review into domestic soccer competition,

    um…

  20. kimberella says:

    Andrew, I don’t see myself as a “Howard hater”. But I’m very glad to see him go, and I don’t think I, as a political partisan, am obliged to write nice things about him.

    What’s wrong with divisiveness? You seem to assume that it’s an automatically bad thing. Not so. There’s bad divisiveness – ie demonising sections of the community for electoral gain (which Howard was a master of…) and good divisiveness – ie fervent contests over ideas and policy – ie politics as it should be practiced.

    I’m not convinced we’re better off if we mask our disagreements.

  21. FDB says:

    Andrew – hating Howard is unfortunately not just about his policies, which I agree should be dispassionately discussed where possible. He is/was an horrid person also.

  22. Jack Robertson says:

    It’s disingenuous and priggishly self-serving of Howard critics and opponents to scrabble about in the shabby ruins he left in his wake for nice things to say at it – in many cases I suspect driven mostly by the need to assemble some vague retrospective justification for personally not doing enough while he was in power to (r)eject the manifest egregiousnesses of his reign much earlier.

    No matter how desperately the hitherto-slumbering MSM punditry of the last decade tries to maintain the delusion – and these eulogical impulses are a fundamental component of doing just that – John Howard’s era was not ‘Oz politics business-as-usual’. Nor does Howard’s personal end serve in any way to clean up the messes he made. The Howard government has in fact left Australia with a number of ineradicable legacies, that will only grow more, not less, morally stigmatic and practically painful as his actuality recedes. Chief among them are:

    – Iraq. Australians have yet to grasp the full nation-changing impact of joining an unnecessary, ill-conducted, strategically idiotic, and morally bankrupt invasion and occupation of a sovereign country on illegal and blatantly dishonest grounds. But we will, one day. Nothing will change us back to the Anzac nation we were before we temporarily became the suckholing craven sidekick to a temporary international bullyboy…simply ‘coz 9/11 – temporarily – spooked us both into those atypical (if I guess explicable) states re: our usually sound and moral foreign policy-making. It’s a pity the US and we fucked up so completely on Iraq, mostly because we were shaken and thought the world had changed. A pity…but we did. We fucked up, and nothing can help us chatter away the consequences, mostly still to crystalise into strategic being and play disastrously out. Invading Iraq is by far the most immoral and militarily stupid thing Australia has ever done. It’s permanently changed what sort of nation we are. We have to face up to that reality and deal with it honestly – and punatively where just and possible – or it will keep hurting us for decades.

    – Our very own ‘Voyages of the Damned’. We had our chance to take in the diaspora Jews of our age…and we bottled it. Again and again and again. And still. Another nation-changing choice. Think about it next time you’re reading Hilberg (or Leon Uris, for that matter), all you fairweather ‘friends’ of Israel who defended Howard’s cynical, contrived, and utterly unnecessary Pacific Solution.

    There are other matters of ‘mere’ policy failure. But maybe the most important and dismal JH legacy is a bit ‘meta’:

    – The migration of ‘postmodern’ (sic) modes of discourse from their wholly-appropriate academic realms into the executive public sphere, under the most destructively ironic guise of all: a superficial ‘anti-postmodern’ pose demanding a return to the kind of public epistemological solidity which the delivery modes used to articulate are in fact actively undermining while doing so. Epistemological sleight-of-handery: postmodern language postmodern language loudly demanding an end to…postmodern language. Not JH’s doing alone, obviously, but this will probably prove his epoch’s most profound legacy, because there’s no doubt that the bog-standard career politician’s tactical instinct for doublespeak, which in the highest executive office JH refined, re-tooled and re-broadcast as a public epistemological ‘end’ in itself (that is, the only concrete ‘end’ being the survival of its authors, ie effectively its own survival), has during his time triumphed as the mode du jour across all public spaces. Discourses of all kinds are now essentially intellectual pantomimes, even puppet shows. To paraphrase/extend the brilliant Guy Rundle, in public we all of us – including us bloggers – now knowingly lob constructed artful style-lies at each other…and what passes for ‘substantial’ discourse is in reality simply (unwinnable) subjective squabbling over their relative hipness, wit, plausibility…that is, their efficacy as ‘tools’ of communication, rather than as actual communication.

    Howard’s reign saw the full ‘professionalisation’ of public language. Yes, my hobby horse. No, it’s not off topic, Kim. More than anything else what I suspect will most haunt us from the Howard era is just this epistemological inversion: how style can now out-substances substance, as shown in Howard’s spectacular personal manifestation of just how successful focussing on ‘the game’ of politics to the cost of what it’s supposed to achieve can now be, here in the Information Age. Every day now fewer serious pundits continue to cop the most laughable of all JH myths: that he was a politician of ‘conviction and substance’. What he really was, was what Baudrillard would have called a simulcrum of a poltician of conviction and substance. But that it didn’t matter – that JH was able to sustain his po-mo panto act for long enough to become our 2nd longest-serving PM – is what I fear the next generation of public leaders in all fields will turn out to have learned most from his prime ministership.

    The ‘culture war’ for the future of Enlightenment ideals, the real one, that really does matter, has barely started. It’s going to be a battle for epistemological hegemony in the public sphere, more than any trifling over cultural bits n’ bobs. And John Howard & Co will turn out to have been on exactly the opposite side to that which they always claimed. Looking for good things to say about him (and his shabby self-serving crew of incompetents, fart-humour schoolboys, oddballs, short-termers and grubs) has never been less appropriate than it is now. What they stood for, and helped usher in from the fringes to the mainstream, is more potentially dangerous than ever, with the Howardistas themselves gone at ‘last.

  23. Andrew says:

    FDB,

    I don’t personally know Howard – so can’t really comment on whether he is/was a horrid person or not. All I can go by is his policies. Some were good, some great, some bad and some terrible.

    Unfortunately there are some people who lose their objectivity (as per the original post) and have trouble sorting out the good from the bad.

    At risk of degenerating into a debate about specifics – I think a good example was the aboriginal intervention in NT. There are good aspects, bad aspects, great aspects and terrible aspects. It’s an incredibly complex issue (witness the fuss over the lack of jail for the rapists of the 10 year old girl) – but the response to the intervention was typically over-shadowed by the politics of hating Howard. Howard proposed it – therefore it must be bad.

    Kim – you claim not to be a Howard-hater, but I guess I’d have to apply the duck test here (walks like a duck etc) – everything I’ve read from you is pretty full of Howard hatred. I agree that disagreement is good – wouldn’t it be a boring place if we were all the same! But I was using the term divisiveness in a perjorative sense – tribal loyalties and all that.

  24. John Greenfield says:

    One thing I will say about this election result is that it has been the most dignified and angst-bereft I can ever remember. If one were not familiar with the Not Happy John set in The Luvviesphere, the whole affair has been quite dignfied, compared to the unholy legacy of bitterness, division, and rancour, bequeathed us by the Lizard of Oz. While Rudd’s performance on election night was positively funereal, it was a blessing. The new parliamentary term will be able to start with the cleanest of slates since Komrade Whitlam in 1972.

    Well done to all our parliamentary representatives1

  25. FDB says:

    Whoops, that was for Jack.

    Andrew, JWH may in person be a wonderful warm man. In public he was not.

  26. Andrew says:

    ditto for Jack Robertson’s rant – another classic piece of Howard-hatred. Full of tribal arguments that fail to acknowledge the complexities of the situations (Iraq, refugees). As for the ‘meta’ bit… run that by us again Jack?

  27. John Greenfield says:

    One of my mates is a real old-fashioned socialist Lefty. He was politely told by Team Maxine that his type were not required for duty in Bennelong!

  28. FDB says:

    Oh piffle Andrew. The “complexities of the situation”?

    If a choice about whether to go to war is too “complex” to say yes outright, then the answer is simple – no.

    Refugees? What’s so complex about locking people up who’ve come here to ask our help?

    Awww, diddums, a national government had to deal with some complex problems. They fucked up on some of the most important and simplest ones.

  29. John Greenfield says:

    Jack Robertson

    I think you misunderstand where the Culture War against “enlightment ideals” is coming from. The pomo Luvvies declared the enlightenment and its offshoot – modernism – dead, long ago. Rudd Labor represents a return to rationalism and modernity. This is why the Luvvies have now decamped to the reactionary and anti-modern theo-leftist Greens.

  30. Katz says:

    What’s wrong with hating Howard?

    I believe I have sufficient persicuity to distinguish between Howard’s policies and governmental actions and the cut of his jib.

    From a governmental point of view, Howard had some successes. I happen to think that the GST was a good thing.

    But his personality, and the way he lied and manipulated to get his way, speaks to a hateful personality. It is a question of character.

    And now, when it is all too late, this picture of Howard is the one that emerges not from his political opponents on the left of politics, but ironically from his colleagues who supped with him on the right of politics.

    Like Lazarus, Howard was given an opportunity to redeem himself. He rejected it.

  31. mbahnisch says:

    Indeed, Katz, the left has been largely silent about Howard, relieved as we are that he’s no longer on the scene. But all his colleagues are falling over each other to see which one can trash him and his reputation the most.

  32. joe2 says:

    “Unfortunately there are some people who lose their objectivity (as per the original post) and have trouble sorting out the good from the bad.”

    Andrew, I have noted your work and wonder if the above description might not , aptly, be applied to your good self.

    Conservative commentators have shown themselves very quick to ‘point the finger’, relentless at pushing the latest spin, but sadly lacking in any retrospection. I often get to have a giggle, because when they damn people, they always give the game away.

    They are almost always just talking about the side of themselves that refuse to acknowledge.

  33. Bernice says:

    Can I just add that the one outstanding legacy bequeathed by Emperor Rodent is the shambolic state of the Liberal Party. I forsee months nay years of family fun ahead for us all. Bless’im.

  34. Andrew says:

    Thanks FDB, you illustrate my point to perfection. Most Australians are centre-moderate who can see the complexities in both examples – it’s only those on the outer-left or outer-right who see it all so clearly in black and white.

    If you can’t see the complexity in the refugee issue then I’m not sure it’s worth debating it with you.

    Katz asks what’s wrong with hating Howard. Well frankly Katz – I think hate is a really destructive emotion that clouds people’s ability to think about these complex issues objectively.

    Let’s all stop hating.

  35. John Greenfield says:

    Jack Robertson

    Howard’s reign saw the full ‘professionalisation’ of public language.

    You would do well to pop down to your local Civic Video or Video Ezy and get out the 5 series of 1980s satires Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister

  36. Helen says:

    Iraq. Australians have yet to grasp the full nation-changing impact of joining an unnecessary, ill-conducted, strategically idiotic, and morally bankrupt invasion and occupation of a sovereign country on illegal and blatantly dishonest grounds. But we will, one day.

    What about Vietnam?

  37. Darlene says:

    Bear in mind, John G, that Yes Minister was made with an ideological intent. How have you been keeping?

  38. via collins says:

    Surely time for a 2007 version of Godwin’s Law?

    Greenfield’s Law – any use of the term “Luvvies” within a thread automatically extinguishes said thread.

  39. Klaus K says:

    “I think hate is a really destructive emotion that clouds people’s ability to think about these complex issues objectively.

    Let’s all stop hating.”

    A little trite, perhaps even mawkish, and certainly over-earnest. Viva hate, says I.

  40. Darlene says:

    John, John, John, John, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt sweetie and assuming you hadn’t used the word “luvvie”. Come on……

    I feel like breaking into a Marvin Gaye because only love can conquer hate.

    Andrew, most people do disagree without hating. Certainly people disagree all the time without doing it. However, it gives some people something to do, I guess. They should take up knitting.

  41. joe2 says:

    Do not be cruel Klaus K,
    Andrew may finally be reaching for ‘his inner hippy’, repressed, after many years of following.

  42. Andrew says:

    “A little trite, perhaps even mawkish, and certainly over-earnest. Viva hate, says I.”

    Well that’s fine. Go ahead and wrap yourself in a blanket of hate and rail against those who have a different view point. But next time we get an outbreak of Cronulla style violence in this country don’t get on your high horse and blame a racist and bigoted Australian persona – just have a good look in the mirror

  43. John Greenfield says:

    Darlene

    Very well my dear. I have missed your reviews during my vacation from these pages. Any of note I should cathc up on? Any fancy a government using language for political purposes? Imagine how stunned the Greeks and Romans would have been? 😉

  44. Helen says:

    Also responding to Jack’s comment: it’s as if we lived in different historical realities:

    Nothing will change us back to the Anzac nation we were before we temporarily became the suckholing craven sidekick to a temporary international bullyboy…simply ‘coz 9/11 – temporarily – spooked us

    You don’t remember “All the Way with LBJ”? (and the Anzac thing: wasn’t that to please the UK?)

    in public we all of us – including us bloggers – now knowingly lob constructed artful style-lies at each other…and what passes for ’substantial’ discourse is in reality simply (unwinnable) subjective squabbling over their relative hipness, wit, plausibility…that is, their efficacy as ‘tools’ of communication, rather than as actual communication.

    Sometimes. But I’ve learned a great deal from the blogosphere, to the detriment of those who push lying agendas. I’ve found a lot better writing there than a lot of the crap dished up by the news media (example: the AGE printed, the other day, a lengthy article on nuclear power by a fossil fuels industry shill, Patrick Moore. Oh yeah, blogosphere biased, MSM pure as driven snow, NOT.)My bullshitometer has been wonderfully honed since I have inhabited the ‘sphere.

  45. John Greenfield says:

    Darlene

    I think in the canon of LP nomenclature, “Luvvie” is not only the least bitter, it is the most surgical and economical.

  46. Andrew says:

    Joe2 – I’ve always been a hippy – never repressed! Boom shanka

  47. Andrew says:

    and amazing how many of my hippy mates have become conservative as we’ve grown up!

  48. Klaus K says:

    “Well that’s fine. Go ahead and wrap yourself in a blanket of hate and rail against those who have a different view point. But next time we get an outbreak of Cronulla style violence in this country don’t get on your high horse and blame a racist and bigoted Australian persona – just have a good look in the mirror.”

    Seems I touched a nerve. I’m very pleased with what I see in the mirror for the most part: at least it’s not cliched.

    In all seriousness now, Andrew is right on this one, and I think personal hatred for Howard always obscured other things. But why, oh why, does that sentiment have to be so damned ugly when hate itself is so profoundly inventive?

  49. Helen says:

    Well duh, Andrew, since your mates consist of the subset of “people who are still mates with Andrew since he went conservative” – not to say the ones who are still lefty would necessarily shun you – but you’d expect the more conservative ones to self-select, wouldn’t you?

  50. Katz says:

    Katz asks what’s wrong with hating Howard. Well frankly Katz – I think hate is a really destructive emotion that clouds people’s ability to think about these complex issues objectively.

    Hatred can do that. But so can love.

    So it’s emotion itself, and not the precise type of emotion, than can be a problem, when one is trying to think objectively.

    But the human intellect is many-faceted. It can encompass a little hate and it can encompass a little love, and at the same time it can formulate objective thoughts. Amazing, no?

    And hatred becomes destructive only when one acts on it.

    And in any case, I hated the cut of Howard’s jib. If he had flown a different jib, even when tacking the same course, I may have loved him.

  51. Andrew says:

    By the way (and sorry – a little off-topic) – you should all have a read of this. I think Sullivan has nailed it.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200712/obama

    Hopefully Rudd can do here what Sullivan hopes Obama can do in the US – mend the wounds. I just hope the haters on both sides of politics will give him some headroom. Unfortunately the knives have started to be sharpened already.

  52. 43. Because, oh yes, racist violence is the Left’s fault because we hate a racist and venal politician.

  53. John Greenfield says:

    The new Godwins? “Racist.”

  54. Darlene says:

    “I’ve found a lot better writing there than a lot of the crap dished up by the news media.”

    Helen, that’s often true.

    John, take a look at my cracking post about Nancy Spungen:

    https://larvatusprodeo.wordpress.com/2007/12/03/sexist-bollocks-and-nancy-spungen/

    Katz, hate is hateful but you are so right about lurve, or what some folks claim to be love.

  55. mbahnisch says:

    But that begs the obvious question – where are all the “lurvvies”?

  56. Darlene says:

    Tee hee, that’s funny.

    They’re hiding with the luvvies. And once you get the luvvies and the lurvvies together, well, it’s all luverly or luvvurvie.

  57. Katz says:

    John’s Anthem

    All you need is luvvies

    Luvvies is all you need.

  58. Futt Bucker says:

    All I care to say on the topic of the now departed John Winston is this: Since the 24th November I have found that food has never tasted better, everything smells like roses, the sky is so much more beautiful and the birds sing an even sweeter tune. Even the cat has a spring in his step. 😉

  59. TimT says:

    Kevin Rudd never said anything about Labor making everything smell like roses! WTF? :-O

  60. John Greenfield says:

    Has the aroma of roses become Rudd’s Workchoices? Where is the mandate? What of the daisy community?

  61. Enemy Combatant says:

    Right, Katz, luvviesn’t strawberry fields forever, luvvies greenfields forever.
    ———————–
    And some of my best friends are city hippies!

  62. Paul Burns says:

    About the hate thing. Wasn’t the term ‘Howard-haters’ coined by Downer?
    When it comes to politics the opposing sides have never had much time for each other, despite their politeness when handing out how to votes at polling booths.
    And it got worse, a lot worse, after November 11, 1975. On both sides.
    Howard’s most significant contribution to Australian politics, from this very short distance, was his utter devaluation of the truth, and the sxpectation by the electorate that politicians did not/woild not tell the truth. Before Howard, whatever the ill-feeling between opposing parties, politics was generally an honourable profession.Only time will tell if all our politicians will continue to reach for lies in preference to the truth. I hope so, but its a very very faint hope.

  63. Paul Burns says:

    Oh, and I loved the way Maxine kept him waiting for five minutes. First time it had happened in eleven years.
    Now Johnny clicks his fingers – and NOTHING happens.
    Thjat makes me feel good.

  64. Jack Robertson says:

    Which bits, exactly, of my post are the ‘hatey’ ones?

    I don’t hate anyone, folks. Don’t hate a soul. To dismiss what I wrote on those grounds is to reveal more about yourself than me, I think. If you find it consoling, Andrew et al, go for it.

    But saying it’s so won’t make it so. Not even in our po-mo times.

  65. The Doctor says:

    The Howard government committed the three biggest sins of Australian political history( a disliked IR change, as per Bruce, Menzies & the Engineers case 1929; being blatantly in the hands business as per the UAP in the 40’s; and finally the abuse of Senate control in nationalising the banks by Chifley 1949) and managed to do them all at once. I think they will be off the Treasury benches for quite a while anywhere, because almost all the state Liberals did not disagree with their actions.

  66. CK says:

    John Greenfield and Darlene: Would you please get a room?

  67. haiku says:

    Did Howard actually say the name, “Maxine McKew”? Is there a transcript somewhere?

    The reports above say he congratulated Maxine – fair enough. But it seemed to be a point of principle throughout the campaign that he must not say the name of his opponent. Seems a bit petty. Perhaps the influence of Janette?

  68. Sir Henry Casingbroke says:

    Me, I just love that LOOK. It’s a mix of impotent rage, fear, and above all, disbelief, although no remorse, of course. Surely, some mistake has been made… I saw it on the face of Elena Ceauşescu (Christmas Day, 1989) and Conrad Black just the other day; and on Mr Howard’s face late in the evening on the 24th of last month.

    Hey, and easy on our very own Voltaire, Jonanthan Swift and Nostradamus rolled into one hilarious funster, John Greenfield, okay? He was, after all, one of the first off the mark in predicting Maxine would thrash Mr Howard. See http://larvatusprodeo.net/2007/02/26/mckew-takes-on-howard/

    “I adore Maxine MacKew and as the Dear Leader of Luvvies R Us, she has an excellent chance of winning a borgeois seat like Bennelong. And the poor dear doesn’t have to risk having some working-class bogan spill his tinnie of VB all over her Armani suit! You Go Girl!”

    He, he, he, ho, ho, ho, Johnny Greenfield – Dear Leader of Luvvies R Us – what coruscating wit! (It’s all those Koreans in Eastwood, geddit?)

  69. Paul Burns says:

    Slowly the trope seems to be building up in the Liberal Party that it was all JWH’s fault because he abused the power if the Senate over Workchoices. (And welfare to work, but they daren’t mention that despite all the single mums and disability pensioners voting against them) Andrew Robb’shatchet job was a delight.
    Whatever will Nick Minchin say?

  70. Darlene says:

    CK, hey? Let me assure you if John gets a room, I’m going to be in the one way down at the end of the hall. And I suspect JG’s old enough to be my dad.

    More exciting Maxine news in the paper this morning. Apparently, she wore a short skirt whiile sitting next to the former PM. The SMH was suggesting that it was her Sharon Stone moment. Ewwww.

  71. TimT says:

    Good Lord, they actually did use the phrase “‘Sharon Stone’ moment.”.

    I wonder if Sharon Stone ever had a Maxine McKew moment?

    At some point I actually had a serious reflection on the Howard years, and the willing complicity of the news media in creating hysteria about refugees, terrorism, their ability to be duped by publicity agents, & co., & co. – but the moment has passed. It has passed!

    Is this my John Howard moment?

  72. Paul Burns says:

    Sharon Stone moment! I saw the TV coverage. It was nothing of the sort. Is this what comes of living entirely in the world of movies, or is it yet another example of attempting to trivialise competent women politicians?
    Julia and her sisters have got these bovver boys running scared.
    Howard didn’t seem to notice. He was too busy thinking whether he should or should not have a cup of tea before he got out of there.The man was red with mortification and embarassment.I reckon he only turned up because he would have got worse press if he stayed away.
    But it was a lovely moment in Australian politics and I enjoyed every second of it.
    My only complaint was that Maxine McKew was far too gracious to him.
    And by the way, whatever your campaign manager’s skills, and Hogg’s are considerable, you don’t defeat a wily old fox like Howard unless you are a top class candidate, especially when he’s PM.

  73. joe2 says:

    I reckon Max was most dignified. If had of been me, I would have been unable to avoid giving the ol’bastard the browneye. Undies are so yesterday.

    When I first read this poste there was a wonderful picture with the first link. If anyone has been wondering what happened to SMH deleted picture it is available below. Note the perfect matching of the Howard pocket hanky with the common blue working class chairs.

  74. Paul Burns says:

    Apropos of Howard at Bennelong – I had to come back on line about this one- he had dark patches in the side of his hair, rather than the usual grandfatherly white. Does this mean the vain old bugger has been dyeing his hair whiter all these years so he appeared more benign, rather than the evil old man he really is? Yet another deception?

  75. paul walter says:

    An epilogue of sorts.
    Max is being given the silly season treatment by a newspaper for wearing a skirt ( the one in the photo above? )that was snapped in cheesecakey way whilst she was on the move?
    This was the Canberra Times, worse still- a self proclaimed broadsheet.
    Haven’t seen the offending shot but must say I have an ominous premonition of the advancing decrepitude of the press as it falters into usual holiday mode.

  76. joe2 says:

    Paul, TimT has the link just above on 72.

  77. silkworm says:

    Have a look at where Howard is placing his hands in the pic in #72. It looks like he is having his own Michael Douglas moment.

  78. paul walter says:

    A motzah, Joe 2.
    Yes, a picture says a thousand words.
    There is a just a hint of subtle taunt there. Howard knows it and is ducking. Not much cover, but.

  79. paul walter says:

    Sir Henry’s retrospective from February was worth a look, too.
    Most people got it right as to what eventuated and why also. One poster, Megan, even got the margin about right.
    Apart from that, memorable for an exchange between punchdrunk Jack Greenfield and a posse of house feminists led by the venomous Anna Winter.

  80. joe2 says:

    “Yes, a picture says a thousand words.”

    Indeedy. I have already had far too many laughs, for my own health, just looking at a few pictures. In the Canberra Times picture, Max looks like she is up for the new fangled duck dance and John reluctant.

    And spot on silkworm …more laffs… an alternative interpretation, if the main aim was not to take the normal pot shot at a women and focus on the male. Maybe, if all Canberra Times editorial staff were women, for instance.

    Na ,doubt his ol’ pecker would be much of interest to anybody but hyacinth and the liberal party mothers for his re-election.

    When are they going to release the video, movie, opera?

  81. Paul Burns says:

    Joe2,
    Thanks for #77.
    It’s still not a Shaton Stone Moment. Its a naughty or bad taste photographer moment. Surely he had to work to get that camera angle.

  82. silkworm says:

    “Na , doubt his ol’ pecker would be much of interest to anybody but hyacinth and the liberal party mothers for his re-election.”

    I heard Pru Goward was more than interested.

  83. Paul Burns says:

    82. Correction Sharon Stone. The extremely bad pun was unintended.
    More seriously in conjunction with ch. 9’s report on petrol price control stunt on ch. 9 thread, is this the beginning of a bash Labor campaign.
    (Despite my comments on the Plan A thread, I don’t think I’m being hypocritical in pointing this out. My critiques are well-meant, however savage they might get, and after Howard I never wanty to see another conservative govt. in power here.)

  84. Paul Burns says:

    Re 83. Somebody’s finally said it. I have hinted at it on previous threads. Hypocritical in the extreme, given Howard’s emphasis on fasmily values.

  85. Katz says:

    [An excuse to see my gravatar.]

  86. casey says:

    oh come on Katz, we are waiting….

  87. Katz says:

    Performance anxiety!

  88. Katz says:

    Works other places!

  89. casey says:

    And now it works so you see practice always makes perfect. Who is it in the picture then?

  90. casey says:

    “I heard Pru Goward was more than interested”

    But thats so old!

  91. Paul Burns says:

    Of course it is, bit it ain’t public.

  92. Waxeater says:

    As opposed to the Labor family values as espoused by Keith Wright, Bill Darcy, Milton Orkoupolis, Kelly Hoare et al. And don’t get me started on Beattie and Rose (isn’t that a Black Sorrows song – “They just lost it for a while”)?

  93. Paul Burns says:

    The behaviour of the Labor Party figures you list Waxeater was reprehensible and criminal. And so far as I know most of them were gaoled or ere on trial for their crimes.Not coming from Qld. I don’t understand the allusion to Beattie.
    The point with Howard was that he made a political point of family values, whatever the hell they are, to justify his political actions, though he wasn’t allegedly personally true to those values. So far as I am aware this was not the case with the Labor men you mention. Hypocrisy and dishonesty, not personal amorality is the point of debate here.

  94. mbahnisch says:

    I don’t know why Kelly Hoare has been included in a list of pedophiles.

    And the claim that Labor is some sort of incubator for pedophilia is one of the most repulsive slurs from the far right of the Liberal Party. Waxeater is in company with charming individuals like Eric Abetz.

  95. paul walter says:

    BTW, who was the cabinet minister mentioned through the election, persistently accused of harrassing his male employees?

  96. mbahnisch says:

    I’ve got no idea, but I don’t think we should indulge in political gossip about personalities!

  97. Paul Burns says:

    Point taken about political gossip about personalities. I usually restrain myself, Mark,
    but somebody waved a red flag and I weakened and couldn’t resist it. Won’t do it again.
    I have no idea about who the cabinet minister is, either, pw, but a night on the piss at a gay pub could probably get you the answer.

  98. Speaking of family values Paul, my parents used to take me along with them to a Bible study hosted in the home of one of the men listed above, and it wasn’t JH.

    I note the description of his crimes as “….reprehensible and criminal. And so far as I know most of them were gaoled or ere on trial for their crimes”.

    If you knew a little more about what you speak you even find some interesting parrallels with issues on another thread.

    Power and abuse, crime and punishment, rehabiltation and recidivism are very very very complex issues.

  99. Paul Burns says:

    Agreed. I did qualify my statements by saying so far as I know. My knowledge comes from reading newspaper reports several years ago, and was a response to another comment. I did not include JWH in that group.
    Nothing surprises me about what people who run bible study groups do.
    This is my last comment on this particular issue, as I tend to agree with Mark about the uselessness of political gossip about personalities unless it is directly involved with their policy decision making. And I don’t want to get into deep water.

  100. Actually i phrased my comment above quite badly.

    What i meant to convey was that there are always real context and histories behind public scandals, and the glee and moral outrage we see fit to project upon others in one context can often stand in marked contrast to our response to others.

    i was contrasting this with another thread where some are quick to contextualize and rationalise the case for jail in one case but not another.

    Far be from me to cast the first stone when it comes to morality and christianity.

    I’m a torn believer who abuses grace myself.

  101. John Greenfield says:

    Darlene

    You liitle minx, you, I’ve still got enough gas in my tank/led in my pencil, etc., to still give you and any other takers. a jolly good seeing too, young lady! 🙂

  102. John Greenfield says:

    Sir Henry Casingbroke

    Indeed. Stick with me dear, and nobody gets hurt. I know the Luvvies and the I know the proletariat. 2007 turned out to be the Perfect Storm for the two of them, with the latter doing the heavy-lifting. The total lack of input from The Luvvies into Rudd’s victory (indeed, Rudd tellingly kept them sequestered within the Luvviesphere) means he can just ignore their bitter, bilious, ignirant bluster for the next three.

    Alas, for the rest of us, the bluster will howl nevertheless.

  103. Sir Henry Casingbroke says:

    Nobody came out alive out of The Perfect Storm. Never mind, JG, one needs to carefully parse your comments like the Kabbalah and not read them literally, as they appear not to make any sense whatsoever at first reading.

    And drawing on your considerable knowledgeable and expertise in the area, John – is that woman who won the seat of Bennelong from Mr Howard, the same as the TV announcer who worked for the ABC for 30 years and is a friend of Kerry O’Brien?

  104. John Greenfield says:

    Sir Henry

    Nonsense my dear. All came out of the perfect storm remarkably unscathed. La McKew to Canberra, and Mr. Howard to a life of free air travel and $330,000 p.a. pin money!

  105. Jane says:

    I hear Meg Lees was also more than passing interested. Kind of makes me feel like I’ve just eaten a mouldy orange. Shudder!
    Still, anyone who’d want to bed Hyacinth couldn’t be accused of being too fussy.

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