Conservative balance

Crikey it seems has a need for ‘balance’. What else would explain the quality of (at least some of their) right leaning correspondents. Below the fold was today’s effort by the redoubtable Alan Jones and John Howard fan Professor Flint. It is not very good.

That a former diplomat can speak another language is hardly surprising. Dennis Glover was one of the few people to notice that Kevin Rudd was only able to show this off because the PM allowed it. Wrongly assuming this to be a reckless lapse, the Labor speechwriter claimed Howard was being uncharacteristically democratic.

But unlike Keating, who even refused Howard a seat on his plane to Yitzhak Rabins funeral, the PM is exceedingly generous in giving opposition leaders equal billing. Just compare how Kim Beazley was allowed to speak at the lunch for The Queen in Sydney in 2000 with Premier Carrs behaviour. The NSW opposition leader did not speak she wasnt even placed at the high table.

The point is, and the electors understand this, John Howard is a very decent man. The latest indication is that on standing down as PM, he will serve out his term on the backbench. Those who slam this as silly (Michelle Grattan) or impossible (The Insiders) should look at their history books. And we can be sure of one thing: Howard wont be announcing his departure on TV for a fee.

After the polls and the destabilisation of the last week, the Coalition kept its nerve, but some conservative commentators seemed to lose theirs. Infected by their leader whose displays of hubris in boardrooms and editorial suites are legion, the Opposition was so over confident their prolonged caterwauling in Question Time actually reduced their opportunity to score points.

With the succession assured, the Treasurer, a formidable parliamentary debater, is completely reinvigorated. No longer needing to invent some brand differentiation such as republicanism, he immediately threw himself into the campaign, thus inviting comparisons with Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan.

The battle lines are changing the presidential campaign is finished. A second front has opened. The portrayal will be of the team for the 21st century, with wide professional, business and government experience, against yesterdays union bosses and one anti-American rock singer. Knowing they cannot win on this front, Labor will try to move the battle back to the presidential campaign which has evaporated before their eyes.

More gimmicks can be expected, but they have little intrinsic campaign value – you cant win an election on having vast numbers of friends on Facebook. And there will be policy feints, recalling Mark Latham reading to children, or last weeks venture into poker machines. Since these are all hand wringing concern with no content, the effect will be minimal. In the meantime a spectre will begin to haunt Labor: have we peaked too early?

The revived coalition is already releasing policies designed to appeal. Knowing the rank and file are little impressed by academic substitutes for learning a trade on the job, whether it be plumbing, nursing, and yes, law and medicine, the first off the rank was nurse training in hospitals. Stand by too for the Coalition to make much of Labors endorsement of what will be described as more UN interference in indigenous affairs.

The other momentous but little noticed news was government endorsement of Barnaby Joyces Birdsville amendment to deal with predatory pricing. Until this, it seemed as if two retail chains would finish up eliminating most small retail outlets. For too long, politicians on both sides have been in awe of the big end of town. This measure, and the dislike by small business of laws which are seen to over-protect poor performing employees (so called unfair dismissal laws) means the small business vote is likely to go back to the Coalition.

As more move from employee status to entrepreneurs, this could be significant. One fact will irrationally infuriate the chattering classes justice was only achieved here because of a relentless campaign by Alan Jones. The next group to be liberated could be the serf like tenants of the mega-shopping centres.

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Don Wigan
Don Wigan
16 years ago

Poor old Flinty.

It seems ages ago now, but back in the heady days of the War on Terror, Bush was invited to Australia to help out his Man of Steel buddy. Such was Howard’s decency that he didn’t invite Crean to the Bush bbq at the lodge, although he managed to find room for his talkback chums Jones and Mitchell.

At the Bush wreath-laying ceremony for the Aussie soldier killed in Afghanistan, he managed to forget to invite that soldier’s widow to the occasion.

16 years ago

Jesus Christ, that’s pathetic. It’s not even press release standard, it’s hopeless fawning that makes Hendo, Shamahan, etc. look positively rational. This is the kind of bollocks those liberal droogs are chucking out on Online Opinion at the moment.

That said, it’s quite entertaining. If this is the headspace conservatives are in – essentially closing their eyes and shouting “I don’t believe in fairies!” over and over again, then they’re going to need a motherload of prep H come election night.

16 years ago

Sad, but hardly surprising. It is Flint, after all. Queen & country, Pip! Pip! & all that.

One hopes that if a right-wing presence is to be had, it’s one with an objective stance. Although, we are talking about the ‘right’, aren’t we.

16 years ago

Its just a support piece, no content really, but thats fair enough. There are so many people knifing Howard that giving his supporters a free shot is to be expected.

At least it provides a role in what is fast becoming a precarious situation for them both.

Francis Xavier Holden
16 years ago

Isn’t David Flint a satirical over the top take off of Sir Murray Rivers?