I have no idea just which point Gerard Henderson believes the media is missing with their reporting of the polls on Bennelong, just as I don’t think Gerard knows which point he’s attempting to make with his column today.
In terms of whether Stanley Melbourne Bruce can in any way, shape or form be compared with John Winston Howard, I would agree with Gerard that there is very little, if anything, comparable between the two men, other than both were/are Prime Ministers. However, I don’t believe, and even Gerard alludes to the fact, that the media have deliberately drawn any comparisons between Bruce and Howard. Merely statements of fact. That Bruce lost his seat while in government, and is to date the only PM to have done so. There is the possibility, as defined by the Age/Nielsen polls, that current Labor candidate for Bennelong – Maxine McKew – might just unseat Howard and wouldn’t that create a fuss, not to mention a valid comparison.
Henderson’s column is yet another example of a miffed and slighted conservative apologist berating the media, and indeed anyone who should dare to critique the current government on any level, and exhibit the absolute audacity to poke fun at the ‘Man-of-Steel’, Gerard’s pin-up hero and former employer. It’s really quite embarrassing, that a major news daily should provide this commentator with a platform to overtly express his views in such an illogical, fawning and transparent manner. Still, Gerard’s columns do provide some excellent blog-fodder.
It’s patently obvious that no relevant comparisons can be drawn between Stanley Melbourne Bruce and Johhn Winston Howard. At least not yet, but the potential is there, none the less, on at least one level. I dare say though that should Howard be unseated by McKew, as the polls tend to indicate, Gerard will berate the media yet again for an invalid comparison on a seat basis, or distribution of voter numbers. Indeed, any excuse will probably do. In fact, if one reads carefully, Gerard’s already laid the groundwork for such a cop-out.
As the statistics demonstrate, Bruce lost a safe conservative seat in 1929. Howard’s problem is dramatically different. Because of a series of electoral re-distributions, Bennelong has been moving to Sydney’s west and, consequently, taking in a number of traditional Labor voting areas. Consequently, it is now one of the Liberal Party’s marginal seats, which will be lost to Labor on a swing of about 4 per cent.
Oh, of course. How silly of the media, or any observer, to even deign to imagine any comparison between Howard losing his seat while in power and Bruce doing so nearly eighty years ago. Fascinating also, that Gerard appears to have already acknowledged that JWH will lose the seat of Bennelong come election day. He has an excuse all lined up and ready to roll, but he’s still prepared to admit that Bennelong is a lost cause for the Liberal Party. Effectively, he’s admitting in advance that there IS a valid comparison between Bruce and Howard. It’s just not a physical reality yet.
You’re a classic Gerard. A classic conservative apologist, and no mistake.