45 thoughts on “Oh frabjous day!

  1. On a similar note, let me point out that Australia has confirmed its long-running policy of electing dags as PM.

    Bob Hawke (before he got too wrinkly) and Paul (“Blakey”)Keating were just passable.

    In Kev Rudd, we’ve chosen a Sunday school teacher (or slightly suss scout master) to replace John Howard’s superannuated high school chemistry teacher.

    John Hewson and Andrew Peacock were probably undone as much by their looks and dress sense as by their policies or the machinations of their opponents.

    Malcolm Fraser wasn’t too bad for a man who looks like an Easter Island monolith but Gough looked like someone had squeezed a tube of toothpaste without remembering to remove the lid.

    And before him, of course, we had Billy McMahon.

  2. terence Says: 25th, 2007 at 11:15 am

    If you can find vindictiveness in the statement “a thousand times sweeter� then, truly, you are a sensitive man. The last few years must have been tough no?

    The use of the absurd superlative implies schadenfreude, unless Pr Q actually does believe his over-heated rhetoric on the consequences of a Howard victory. In which case I suggest he takes a long nap in a darkened room.

    In a later post Pr Q described the LP structure as “toxic”. That was after suggesting that a Howard victory might lead to theEnd of the World and that a LP defeat signalled its consignment to the Dustbin of History.

    This will do for vindictiveness until Hell is properly raised. Call me old-fashioned but I still care about things like magnanimity in victory.

    terence says:

    did not do so because cared one wit about the Timorese. Had he, he would have never played hardball in the subsequent oil negotiations. I’m certainly glad that Australia intervened; however, this sure didn’t stem from any admirable part of Howard’s personality.

    As a Machiavellian I am indifferent to the connection b/w personal and political, at least in foreign policy. I leave that stuff for the two-bob preachers, clairvoyants and other denizens of the intellectual slums.

    As far as the facts of Howards role in the liberation of ETimor are concerned these are not in doubt to competent historians or the players themselves. Howard got the USMC off-shore to deter the TNI and the ADF in-country to deal with the militias. As Ramos Horta said:

    Horta] said it was thanks to Prime Minister John Howard that the United Nations intervention had succeeded, saving thousands of lives.

    Its just too bad for the Left if these facts do not fit into their pre-fab ideological model of Howard. Who are we going to believe, the participants or Left wing historians with an ideological axe to grind and a capacious memory hole to flush away inconvenient facts?

    terence says:

    No – I would like to see the Taliban defeated and human rights respected in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the never ending blunders (not to mention complete lack of concern for the people of that country) of Howard’s best buddy have rendered this very unlikely.

    The Afghan war has been a partial success, especially when judged by other punitive expeditions to that God-saken land. Human rights are better observed, Al Qaeda no longer roams free and the Taliban are on the defensive. More importantly the fundamentalists have not overthrown Pakistans govt.

    Your rote declarations of good intentions precede every knee-jerk Left-wing condemnation of Howard. It reeks of bad faith, “the summer soldier and sunshine patriot”. You people already have the guilty verdict on Howard in your pocket. The only thing that changes is the charge.

    Your comment is also an interesting case study for diagnosticians of the Left’s revisionist view of Howard. He is supposed to take the blame for the US’s military mistakes but gets no credit for AUS’s military successes.

    This is demonology, not sociology.

  3. wilful Says: November 25th, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    Jack, [long list of Howard’s woes, Blah x 3]

    Yes, enough already. I am usually the first to find fault with Howard when it is warranted. I am more concerned to give credit where it is due. I see no evidence of this anywhere throughout the Left blogosphere.

    wilful says:

    Mendacious rewriting of history is a recent right wing speciality.

    Yes, before that the black arm-band view of AUS history as one long trail of desolation and tragedy was right on the money. That explains why Hollywood film directors flock to Australia to make films about our strife-torn history.

    “People”, as Graham Greene once mordantly observed, “just want to believe the worst”. So Left wing revisionists peddling a dim view will always find a ready market for their frightful wares.

    I understand you’re an older man so are still stuck in some very old debates, but if you look at what your fellow travellers are doing right now with rewriting history, I think you could update your cliches more than a little bit.

    You dont understand much about my history or intellectual history. Although you seem to have got cliches down pat. I have a part-time job monitoring media coverage of genetics, “cytotics” and robotics. Is that novel enough?

    This “very old debate I am stuck in” – the evolution and relation of human nature, social structure and cultural scripture – goes back to Plato. But it is still as live as an electrified fence. Just have a look at the response Watson got when he crossed the line.

    You might also want to bring yourself up to speed on recent developments in the theoretical analysis of cultural diversity, at least on one front. Here is one example of a former-liberal who has thrown in the towel, intellectually if not ideologically.

    And this debate will only get politically hotter as globalisation (the conflux of multicultural households, multinational firms and multilateral states) proceeds. Uncontrolled diversity is not always a bed of roses, as any resident of Baghdad will tell you.

    You are kidding yourself if you think that the election of Rudd (a self-proclaimed “cultural conservative”) signals the end of the Culture War. You are living in a fools paradise if you think that getting rid of Howard will make the lion lie down with the lamb.

  4. Jack, I’ll have my say on Howard in due course, and it will include credit as well as blame. For the moment, as lots of other people have said, why don’t you put a sock in it and take my happiness at face value.

  5. John,

    I am very pleased that you are enjoying the fruits of victory. I am mildly pleased that Rudd won. And I have already congratulated you on your superb display of partisan, provocative and informative blogging.

    But I wonder what state of mind is it that proclaims the election of the Liberal party will help lead to the End of the World on one day, and the next day proclaims that the defeat of that party will lead to its oblivion?

    Gigantic mood swings like that are not conducive to long term happiness.

    The Howard ministry was a moderate Centre-Right govt which enjoyed historically high levels of public support. Its successor is, as I predicted way back in 2004, in almost every way a mirror image.

    Get. Some. Perspective.

    “Never get married to a position.”

    Traders lore.

  6. Jack S.: “That explains why Hollywood film directors flock to Australia to make films about our strife-torn history.”

    They do?

    ” I’d assume you were being ironic if not for the following para:

    “Peopleâ€?, as Graham Greene once mordantly observed, “just want to believe the worstâ€?. So Left wing revisionists peddling a dim view will always find a ready market for their frightful wares.”

  7. Strocchi, you could only call the Howard ministry emboldened by Senate majority “a moderate Centre-Right govt” on the basis that a little further immoderately right lies the Bush regime (with which John Howard arranged an apprenticeship for son Richard).

    It didn’t take brains to figure out that cornering the nation’s bigots could contribute to “historically high levels of public support”, but it took a Howard to embark on the task with relish.

  8. Ian Gould Says: November 25th, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    Jack S.: “That explains why Hollywood film directors flock to Australia to make films about our strife-torn history.�They do?

    I’d assume you were being ironic if not for the following para:

    Your initial assumption was correct. It is the pleasurable absence of a strife-torn history in this country (democracy cooked up by an executive committee of the bourgeoisie!) that has turned so many Left wing revisionist historians into black-arm banders, bad-seed-ers or fabulists.

    Gotta get some bums on seats somehow. Horror shows sell.

  9. From the Famous Eccles Jack Strocchi:

    “I am pleased for Kevin Rudd who will make a good PM. And I thank Pr Q for his relentlessly partisan and highly informative blogging during the campaign. Its all part of the contest.

    “I am a little bit shocked at the degree of vindictive venom in this post. And apparently dittoed by mbahnisch. Perhaps the tradition of impartial academics, like impartial public servants, is going by the wayside?”

    Jack, if you want venom, all you have to do is view the response from Julie Bishop’s Lib Trolls over at Sunday Times.


    Democracy is for tools, apparently.

  10. Spiros@18:

    You’ve summed it up totally. This poisonous toad’s entire career has come back to have him being run over by an aspirational Holden.

  11. Jack, you apparently don’t understand the role of a subeditor in picking headlines, even though I explained it in my post. Anyway, I’m still very happy, so go ahead and say what you want.

  12. Even supporters of Howard would be hard-pressed to come up with a list of useful things his government did since his victory in 2004.

    Some low lights:

    1. WorkChoices. A purblind provocation of hubris. And a dirigiste, bureaucratic maze which was sure to provoke what it purported to attempt to quell. And based on a corrupted reading of the constitution.

    2. The superannuation giveaway. Blows a hole in public financing. A hugely expensive, and politically unsuccessful, bribe to boomers.

    3. Still more draconian anti-terror legislation designed to provoke.

    4. Commitment of further troops to Iraq, after lying that it would not be done.

    5. Disastrous intervention into the lives of some Aboriginals, not based on need but on where they live, supported by emergency legislation legalising the fiat of a minister. And a naked land grab.

    6. Kevin Andrews. Minister for pandering to racists.

    7. Howard’s duarchy. Designed to save his political skin at the expense of the Party he claimed to love.

    And what did he promise if elected in 2007? Still more bribes, and some empty sentiments concerning Aborigines appended to the constitution.

    Howard wanted apotheosis into a part of the Liberal pantheon inhabited only by Menzies.

    Instead he has bequeathed his party a legacy of ashes.

  13. There was one drawback to the whole occasion, which as many others have pointed out was the utterly lacklustre acceptance speech given by Kevin Rudd. Never has a speech so totally failed to meet the emotional requirements of so momentous an event. The only time there was any passion in his voice was when he was planting a big kiss on America’s @rse.

    No ’93 True Believers’ speech that was. Krudd, stop writing your own speeches and hire Keating.

  14. jquiggin Says: 25th, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Jack, you apparently don’t understand the role of a subeditor in picking headlines, even though I explained it in my post. Anyway, I’m still very happy, so go ahead and say what you want.

    Okay, I feel suitably churlish and sheepish now. I dont begrudge your happiness…any more.

    Just venting because I made a bad call on Howard’s electorate. I don’t think he deserved it.

    Deserves got nuthin’ to do with it…We all got it coming, kid.

    Bill Munny

  15. LOL Jack, were you the guy who howled “Nooooooo!!!” when Howard conceded Bennelong in his acceptance speech? That cry of pain was the highlight of election night for me ROFLMAO.

  16. Get. Some. Perspective.

    “Never get married to a position.�

    Why don’t you take your own advice?

    (Also, the singular of alumni is alumnus (cf. previous thread.) Nitpicking is my vice and I’m working on it.

  17. Helen Says: November 26th, 2007 at 11:30 am

    Why don’t you take your own advice?

    I liked Howard the man, although I would draw the line on marrying him. He showed considerable courage in defying the modish cultural fashions of the day.

    His stance has been vindicated by both cutting edge life and mind scientists and the “me-tooism” of his opposite number.

    I support those cultural policies for the time being. If the time was the Inquisition I might be of a more liberal persuasion.

    But I have no interest in political parties. In fact, I have no corporate loyalties to anything beyond my nation, parish and marriage.

    Is that foot-loose and free enough?

  18. #38 & 40. Rudd’s speech was a nicely prepared one, a more or less wooden delivery and full of some plastic cliches.

    Howards concession speech can’t be faulted. The part where he (more or less) conceded Bennelong didn’t seem to me to be a cry of pain, but one of relief. He couldn’t give a stuff. The shedding of pressure was visible. He looking the happiest he has for ages.

    Though nowhere near as happy as Kevin Rudd, who was almost bursting.

    If you want to ruin John Howard’s day, you couldn’t do much better now than inform him he has held the seat of Bennelong.

  19. I didn’t mean a cry of pain from Howard, but from one very distraught member of the audience, who howled “Noooooo!!!” when Howard all but conceded Bennelong.

    I’m overseas and the best I could manage was choppy abc radio online, but that was hilarious. The Liberals have become little more than a hollowed-out Personality Cult over the past several years so seeing their invincible god being cut down at the knees must be well shocking for them. I actually thought Howard’s speech was quite dignified, whereas Rudd’s speech was almost as uninspiring as a speech could be.

  20. I didn’t mean a cry of pain from Howard, but from one very distraught member of the audience, who howled “Noooooo!!!� when Howard all but conceded Bennelong.

    The guy howled out several times. He was starting to irritate everyone to the point that I suspect John Howard wouldn’t have minded seeing him tasered just to shut him up. 🙂

    While he wouldn’t have enjoyed losing, Mr Howard’s parliamentary pension will, according to the SMH, soften the blow:

    Mr Howard will receive a taxpayer-funded pension of $345,000 a year in retirement, about $15,000 a year more than he earned as prime minister. Or he could elect to take a $1.5 million payout, and still claim a yearly payment of about $170,000.

    Peter Costello won’t do too badly either. He’s only 49 and will have immediate access on his resignation to a parliamentary pension of $210,000 a year:

    But Mr Costello faces a dip in income, at least until he finds a lucrative corporate position. On $240,000 a year as treasurer, Mr Costello will receive a parliamentary pension of $210,000 a year.

    The defeated minister for indigenous affairs, Mal Brough, elected at the 1996 poll, will be eligible for a pension worth $103,000.

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