There’s a major promotional push on by the ABC in support of it’s headline doco, "The Howard Years", a look at the almost 12 years of autocratic government by John Howard, a selected mix of yes men and party sychophants from 1996 until November 24, 2007.
Yes indeed, I’m biased, and for mine, I don’t miss the ideologically driven, master manipulator of Australian politics one little iota. The man wrought terrible damage on Australian society and culture over 12 years. Something that will take years to recover from.
I’m not at all surprised that Howard would choose this time – G20 meeting and a supposed faux pas by Kevin Rudd on the diplomatic stage – to step back into a commentary role, courtesy of a dedicated right-wing media outlet to have another swipe at those who arranged his ignominious demise. It’s sweet Howardian territory to take every advantage of any situation which presents itself to blow the dog whistle which marked his government’s tenure in this country.
I’m eagerly awaiting the series of four hour-long programs on the ABC, which Radio National Breakfast presenter, Fran Kelly, was instrumental in putting together. Kelly has a self-avowed passion for Australian politics and has to be the perfect investigatory foil to the conservative egos we’ll see interviewed. I was amazed to see Malcolm Farr on this morning’s Insiders actually take the time to castigate ABC marketing management over it’s selective offerings of the series to media outlets in advance of the first screening due Monday, at 8:30pm on ABC1. It would appear that selected Murdoch outlets didn’t get issued advance screening packages, which made Malcolm the only person on the program who hadn’t seen at least the first episode. Frankly, that’s a shame and poor form on the part of the ABC. Employer aside, I have a great deal of respect for Malcolm Farr as a political commentator.
As an aside…..on the subject of this supposedly diplomatic blunder by Kevin Rudd, in revealing to Chris Mitchell – editor in chief of The Australian – that George W. Bush had asked Rudd, "What’s the G20?", does anyone seriously discredit Kevin Rudd’s diplomatic nous, especially in the company of a known ideological foe and media protagonist such as Mitchell, sufficiently to believe that the Prime Minister of Australia would make such a gaff as to relate to the editor of a major national daily the content of a discussion between heads of state? I don’t believe it for a moment. No one at those levels would be so stupid as to make such a failure in diplomacy. Unless…….and consider this for a moment, reader…….
George W. Bush is in his final days as U.S.President. At best, he’s the proverbial ‘lame duck’. His flavour of politics no longer holds sway in the States. In fact, it’s a foul taste in the mouths of millions of U.S. voters who simply can’t wait for the President-elect, Barack Obama, to take over. I’d pose this question. Just how much damage could be done by such a revelation anyway? The Bush Administration is more concerned with shredding it’s history, than being remembered for it. Surely, such a revelation, given some careful forethought, not to mention a hat-tip in the right direction, could only enhance the standing of Rudd’s government in the eyes of the incoming U.S. administration from the perspective of saying to them, "Hey guys! We’re on your side, and we’re glad they’re gone as well". Maybe it’s a stretch to think that in international diplomatic terms, such a thing might occur, but frankly, given what we know went on under the sheets during the Bush-Howard marriage, is it really such a stretch?