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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

A Mussolini from Manuka? « Previous | |Next »
August 24, 2007

The phrase is that of Greg Craven in an op-ed in the Australian Financial Review. He is addressing several questions: What are we to make of Howard's 'aspirational nationalism'? Will it be a defining moment of his career? Is it a cover for someone hooked on power? What is Howard doing to federalism? Where does Howard as a conservative stand on federalism?

Alan Moir

Craven says that Howard has permanently turned his back on federalism and its limitatinon of power through a series of checks and balances. Howard, as an aspirational nationalist sees limiting political power as a bad thing. Federalism, for Howard is a mistake. The gloves are off.

Craven adds that there seems to be two main bases for Howard's reasoning:

Philosophically, he simply is not a conservative: he genuinely cannot see any reason to limit power, so long as he wields it. Politically, he sees in the prospect of unlimited constituional power the perfect opportunity to cherry pick titbits of state jurisdiction: well placed hospitals, schools in marginal electorates, spunky issues of the day.

Craven says that the wider political design is that Howard 'is prepared to abandon the last sherrick of conservative ideology if this helps him stigmatise the Labor states with their creaky under-funded service delivery systems, as proxies for a Kevin Rudd administration. '

Craven mixes up conservatism with federalism here. There is a difference. Conservatives, properly so called are place the authority of the state as paramount, and so centralize power.This is Howard. Federalists, on the other hand, put checks and balances in place to limit and decentralize power. Howard is not a federalist.

The Liberal Party is not the party of federalism. It is about the centralization of power with minimal checks. The ALP, which used to be hostile to federalism, is becoming the party of federalism, in the form of a co-operative federalism. The states are deemed to be constitutionally important.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:25 AM | | Comments (3)


I thought Labor pretty much got past them. Yet they in term seem to be forgetting their own message, being drawn into the conservative language of confrontation; of "taking over things".
It sounded right when they said "cooperation". Now all the neolib claptrap seems to be filtering back and they're losing differentiation, as to the Tories.

maybe Howard, Costello and Turnbull can take over the proposed Gunns pulp mill in the Tamar Valley in the name of aspirational nationalism.

Scott McLean, the Tasmanian Head of the forestry section of the Construction, Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), would love it as he frequently takes on the role of public defender of the proposed pulp mill and Gunns. He acts as Gunn's lieutenant and protector bullying and intimidating these who criticise the mill.

" There'll aways be a brownshirt...", as the old song goes.
Is this Maclean the twit I saw recently on 4 Corners at various Nuremburg- rallies-for-Gunns, trying to work up a twenty first century version of the "Horst Wessell lied"?
I'd love to see Turncow and Howard panicked by the polls into one last desperate wedge attempt, in the form of intervention on behalf of common sense against Lennon as to the pulp mill:if not itsobviation, at least realistically its relocation and SAFE operation using plantation, NOT old-growth timber.
Then Rudd and Garrett would HAVE to come out of the closet. Since their current tactic is to mimic everything a panic-stricken Howard does, a repeat of the Franklin win?
Then they could move on cotton and rice irrigators who have again choked off Darling flows after recent rains.
Wow! Having wet dreams; pass the tinny, don't let the bong go out!
Yes I know...
" Live in hope; die in despair".
Particularly at the thought of rational policy actually actualised in this country, any time.
But leave me to my illusions for just a moment longer and then with a weary sigh I will turn and return to so-called "reality".
"Abandon hope, all ye who enter here".