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

at Howard's end « Previous | |Next »
February 18, 2008

Is the Liberal narrative in the Four Corners Howard's End programme a rewriting of Liberal Party history? All these hairy chested minsters are saying that they realized they were doomed, and that they reckoned Howard should have gone around 1996. But then they confess they couldn't do anything about changing the captain of the Liberal ship, so they quietly went down with the ship Stoics one and all. A question of loyalty you understand.


Howard wasn't ready to go and these Ministers didn't think that it was right for them to tell Howard to go, let alone force him out. Of course, they realized that Howard had to go. Change was needed as they had been their too long. But they did nothing. They couldn't do anything on their account. Few could even bring themselves to raise the issue; or even had the access to speak to Howard in person. He was the emperor, and they mere courtiers in the sun king's realm.

None had the courage to challenge Howard on crucial issues like Kyoto or Workchoices. The emperor ruled with an iron fist. In fact they are now confessing on public television----on ABC--- that they really knew nothing about these issues in terms of the negatives or the suffering they caused.

Really? Who is kidding who here? That they were so caught up in the sun king's regal bubble that they had no idea what was happening in the country or the rest of the world? That all the negatives swirling around their court was the hallucinations, paranoia and delusions of the barbaric left?

Saying it all on Four Corners is meant to signify that the confession is to be taken in the serious mode and not as a comedy routine.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:05 PM | | Comments (14)


I think Costello's crystal ball was better than anyone elses. It was clear to blind Freddy that the economy was heading for a downturn with some bad times for those on struggle street. Being the treasurer for as long as he was and then to take over the leadership. Boy it was really starting to look like a hiding to nothing whichever way he went. In the later stages of Howard when it looked like he wouldn't win against Rudd he was probably glad he didn't have the numbers. He stood aside with the general perception that he was a good treasurer rather than the guy on everyones dart board. There is a great possibility that he could be seen as the great white hope again if the Labor party stuffs things up/or is perceived to of stuffed things up.
I didn't watch the show last night so don't know if this was covered.
( I'm having a holiday from commenting on blogs....have fun )

Yes, the Libs on "Howard's End" exhibited a strange form of political denial.
They obviously refuse to accept that Howard Government policies, actions, and abuse of Senate power, were responsible for its downfall.
Abbott,Hockey, Downer et al appear to think the electorate is so dumb that all voters were looking for was a 'fresh' face.

The Godfather is a better image of Howard's rule than the emperor as sun king.

Andrew Bolt is not happy with the Liberals confessing all to their enemies on Four Corners. It's beyond stupid apparently.

Costello wanted to ratify Kyoto way back. Or so he says. Is that hindsight?

Despite his power in the Party as a successful Treasurer, he could not persuade his colleagues to challenge Howard's intransigence on the issue.

Andrew Robb argued that Workchoices indicated just how far the Liberals were out of touch with the people who put them in power--Howard's batttlers. He was the exception though to the historical denial.

judging from the programme Howard's legacy on the environment is that he was the prime minister who refused to ratify Kyoto. The Liberals legacy on National Heritage Trust and the Murray-Darling Basin has been forgotten by them.

To be fair, the show was supposed to be about the leadership and in that context the 'fresh face' comment was reasonable. Hockey's comment on the ignorance about WorkChoices wasn't relevant to the leadership issue. Still, they do seem to be blissfully ignorant of why they lost.

Interesting point from Minchin[?] that they wanted to retain the Howard vote, as opposed to the coalition vote. By extension they must now realise that without the Howard fan base they're in deep pooh.

Nelson's 9% in today's polls has to be the worst of bad news for them. The 69% support for the apology is more salt in the wound.

the leadership issue of Howard v Costello was placed in the history of the Liberal Party by the liberals, and it was they who said they weighed up the leadership issue in terms of various issues.

It was the side comments that were most interesting, as we already knew about the history of events of the leadership conflict. They were commenting on, and interpreting, what had been made public.

Yes, the side comments were the most interesting. I wonder whether Hockey said what he did about WorkChoices with his own ambitions in mind, rather than the leadership back then.

Did you see the 7.30 Report? The way defence procurement was handled said loads about what was wrong with the Liberals, if less directly.

The side comments in the programme indicate, or point to, the Howard rump which is bitter, and remains estranged and unreconciled. They are Nelson's support base. Referring to the 9% opinion poll Possum Comitatus says:

This result really highlights the big problem that the Coalition faces. Its twin support bases of affluent inner metro seats and the less affluent, more socially conservative regional and rural seats have irreconcilable views on a large number of issues, the latest being the apology to the Stolen Generation....With Nelson trying to walk the tight rope between these two camps, he was always going to alienate a chunk of his voting base. His apology wasn’t good enough for some of those 46% of his supporters, but went way too far for some of that 50% block that was against the apology to begin with.

Nelson's apology would have annoyed the hell out of Howard's rump. They must really hate being in the graveyard for the next two terms.

Poor old Nelson. Possum's right about irreconcilable views, but it's early days.

The Rump is a good name for the Howard Power leftovers.

the Liberals will need to be clever and work hard to avoid the splintering and annihilation of their party now the Godfather has gone.

You can why with their backflips over Workchoices.AWAs were introduced in 1996 but, under Work Choices in 2005, the number of safety net of conditions that underpinned them was stripped back to five. Nelson argued that AWAs are technically not a part of Work Choices, which he has declared is dead. He and Bishop wanted AWA's to be retained, although with an improved safety net.

The latest retreat by Bishop and Nelson is frrom their position that the Coalition should use its Senate majority to block Labor's legislation. The Coalition will not oppose the passage of Labor's workplace relations bill, but would propose an amendment to the legislation to extend the life of AWA's,but would not oppose the passage of legisation in the house.

They couldn't prevent the passage in the House as they don't have the numbers. That still leaves the Senate. What will it do?

Bishop still defends the rights of employers and employees to enter into individual agreements.

From a purely political point of view the Liberals can't afford to be associated with anything to do with WorkChoices as it is popularly understood. Labor could introduce AWAs in exactly the same form under a different name and the public would probably be happy about it.

So while you're right that they could still use their senate majority to block Labor they'd be incredibly stupid to do so because Labor have both the ammunition of mandate and momentum on their side. I've seen a few comments about the place speculating that the Libs could hold the thing up until the change in the senate, but I can't see them lasting the distance, all things considered.

As far as the splintering and annihilation of the party goes, it looks as though they'll either have to shift to the left or wait around until Labor stuff up which, given the smarts we've seen so far, could be a while coming. A while they're not prepared to wait.