Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Why I Believe Peter

Can't stop to chat. SX column instead. *zip*

For me, trying to figure out who is telling the truth regarding the latest revelation of an alleged leadership agreement between John Howard and Peter Costello, and thus determine who is the more “honest” man of the two, is a little akin to picking somebody to root for in Freddy vs Jason.

It’s risible to hear Costello attempting to take the moral high ground on telling the truth. He insists: “My parents always told me: ‘If you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to fear by telling the truth.’ And I told the truth.” Noble sentiments indeed, but this does not really explain why Costello has, until now, consistently denied the existence of a leadership agreement for so many years. Has he been lying in the past, or is he lying now?

We must also take with a grain of salt his assertion that he is not actively seeking to undermine Howard’s credibility and honesty – rather, he has merely reacted “truthfully” to a statement from a former minister who claims to have taken minutes at the disputed meeting. Sadly, this wouldn’t be the first time a politician has worked behind the scenes to orchestrate a scenario in which it appears on the surface they have no direct involvement, but which ultimately benefits them or discredits their opponent.

Indeed, such maneuvering is essential in federal politics, and it’s a skill Howard has mastered to remain in politics for over thirty years and Prime Minister for over ten. Costello claims the reason Howard asked him not to nominate for the Liberal leadership prior to the Coalition winning government was that “he did not want a vote in the party room”. Bear in mind that, back then, Howard was already a failed Liberal leader with very little electoral appeal. Perhaps he was not as certain then as he is now that he had the guaranteed numbers to win a party room vote. His first term as Prime Minister certainly validated any doubts about Howard’s appeal – after a resounding thumping of the incredibly unpopular Keating government in 1996, the successive Howard government in turn was almost voted out by 1998. Technically, more Australians actually voted for Kym Beazley to be Prime Minister, less than only three years after Labor were so comprehensively annihilated!

Perhaps Howard was more prepared to cede leadership before the 2001 election, as the alleged deal stipulated, but being the brilliant opportunist he is saw in Tampa and September 11 – two monumental, unforeseen events occurring within about a month of each other and just before that year’s election – a prime opportunity to exploit people’s insecurities about national security and general xenophobia. At that point, any leadership agreement wasn’t worth any more than a politician’s claim to tell the truth.

That’s why we still have the displeasure of Howard’s company. And why I pick Peter.


At 11/7/06 5:17 pm, Blogger Gay Erasmus said...

LOL at Freddy and Jason. I hope I never see John Howard in my dreams.

At 11/7/06 5:22 pm, Blogger Ron said...

Where did I read somewhere the other day about someone having dreamt they were forced to perform oral sex on the rodent?

The horror ... the horror ...

At 11/7/06 6:22 pm, Blogger JahTeh said...

If the Queen would just give the little pest a knighthood he'd go happily. After all his playmate Georgie is soon for the chop.

Thank you Ron, I'll get you for putting that image in my mind. Go wash your keyboard out.

At 11/7/06 7:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kim. K I M I not y.

At 13/7/06 8:47 am, Blogger Splatterbottom said...

I don't understand the fuss about Howard not keeping his promises. If this was harmful to his career, he would have been gone long ago.

This story really is just a wank in a teacup.

At 13/7/06 1:08 pm, Blogger WhimAndAPrayer said...

I think you've hit it on the head re: 2001. It seems plausible that the collective concern about terrorism & national security, given events at the time, would have eclipsed the credibility of any claim of a "smooth transition" at that point. Costello may have been painfully aware of this, which may explain, in part, why he said nothing at the time or even up until now.

Bloody terrorists, thwarting Pete's ascension! Didn't they know his mate McFarlane had a rock-solid, water-tight, iron-clad note in his wallet? "Damn them". Talk about raining on Pete's parade.

With the world in turmoil, Howard (even if he recalled the alleged discussion) would not have wanted to exit the Prime Ministership at such an uncertain time. As much as I intensely dislike a number of Howard ideologies and policies, I think that any decision to stay on at that time was a conscientious decision for overall stability.

At 13/7/06 1:36 pm, Blogger mscynic said...

Costello is the lesser of two evils, surely?

Costello strikes me as being too stupid to perform evil with malice. His is more sort of too dumb to know any better.

At 13/7/06 1:50 pm, Blogger Sam said...

I think this particular move of his was stupid MsC, but I don't think he's stupid per se. Rash, desperate last-minute move by a Desperate Treasurer (new TV show concept?) who probably won't be around this time next year.

At 13/7/06 1:59 pm, Blogger mscynic said...

I like Lefty's call for a return to leadership by Downer.

Fishnets. Cabarets. Karaoke.

At least he'd keep the House interesting.

Text 1199DOWNER to vote for Alex.


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