Tuesday, October 22, 2002


The Independent has published a decidedly unflattering profile of Prime Minister John Howard. To be honest, it reminds me more than anything of a note passed around about the teacher. There are few actual lies, but spin, distortion and slant are presented in abundance.

Appearances, while deceiving, are still vitally important to policy:
He has scant charisma and no commanding presence; his eyebrows are unruly, his voice an irritating whine. Visitors seduced by images of a diverse, progressive nation are startled to find it run by a grey man who belongs in the 1950s.

Of course, had he been a bronzed Adonis with the voice of George Clooney, that would have been included as well. Yes.
Why did he sabotage a republican campaign that wanted a modern, self-confident country to stand on its own feet?

Apart from upholding every election promise he made, including holding a Constitutional Convention on the issue, and not speaking out as Prime Minister against the Republic he did not want.
Why does he feel so threatened by the arrival of penniless people with beards and burqas?

Threatened enough to increase immigration intakes form those very areas.

The Independent has always had a flexible definition of leadership. Howard is bad because
Howard reflects the views of the majority of the electorate.

Unless it is on defence issues like Iraq or the size of our refugee intake, both of which Howard is out of step with the majority.

[Howard] regained the leadership in 1995 and won an election the following year, defeating Labour's Paul Keating.
Keating had paved the way for Aboriginal land rights, championed an Australian republic and forged close ties with Asian neighbours. He was a clever and cultured man; Howard, by contrast, has made a virtue of his ordinariness.

A “clever and cultured man” who also neglected to apologise to Aborigines, was responsible for the instigation of present immigration policy, and led his party to the greatest defeat in Australian electoral history. Cultured men always say “two blokes and a spaniel will never make a family”.
Is Howard racist? Not exactly. He feels more at ease with his own kind and he is not someone who naturally embraces cultural diversity.

Not backed up. No evidence.
Howard derides intellectual "elitists" – which means anyone who champions liberal principles. He himself extols the old-fashioned Australian values of mateship and "the fair go", but – it seems – only for white Anglo-Celts.

Actually, Howard derides the self-appointed, unelected elitists. Those who think informed peoples cannot take other than approved directions. Those who deride plain speaking and clear morals as “ordinariness”, and make a virtue of inaccessibility and arrogance as “principled leadership”. In short, journalists working for The Independent .

That cultured man Paul Keating once gave his political tip for how to treat intellectuals: "kick them in the teeth, then tell them what they want to hear". Howard's major sin is not in disobeying these types; it is ignoring them.

Thanks to Uncle at ABC Watch for the link.

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