Sunday, November 08, 2009

Howard Tilts At Rudd

John Howard has given an interview to The Sunday Herald Sun, former Liberal Party PM John Howard has criticised (Labor) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, while attempting to apply gloss to his own history.

Current PM Rudd is criticised for:

  • "spend(ing) the bank balance that Costello and I left behind"
  • "symbolic" only gestures such as the apology to the stolen generation
  • signing the Kyoto Protocol, which he also called symbolic. Certainly there was an element of symbolism, but it also signified Australia's change of attitude towards climate change, a matter on which John Howard dithered and obfuscated. He went on to say that what Kevin Rudd has done/is doing is almost the same as what he took to teh election he lost: he was 'gunna' do it too. Never mind that he had more than a decade to do it, but did nothing about climate change!
  • considering a time frame for withdrawal from Afghanistan, a matter which he says "would be seen as a huge defeat for the West and an enormous morale boost for Islamic terrorism." Here, Mr Howard is greatly overplaying the significance and proportion of Australia's contribution. Yes, the work done by Australian military personnel is important, and one of which we should be proud. But Mr Howard is deliberately overplaying the significance of Australia's involvement, partly to enhance the public's memory of his own self-importance. Australia ranks about 97th of approximately 164 countries in the number of active troops per 1000 head of population. (in 1996, when Howard was still PM). Source :Wikipedia The work we do has a higher level of importance than some others, but John Howard's assessment of our contribution is overstated.
  • his response to increased numbers of 'boat people'. He only says that he "stopped the boats". He didn't, boats still came. However, as with financial advice "past performance is no guarantee of future returns" by Howard.
John Howard said he would not have provided $900 cheques (tax rebates) from his surplus, nor does he indicate if he would have spent ANY money to alleviate the effects of the global financial crisis on the Australian economy, and "ordinary Australians"! He might have spent none, to protect his beloved surplus, and used Paul Keating's line about a "recession we had to have" (under Howard & Costello)!?

If John Howard, or any other current or former politician of any persuasion, wants to criticise a successor, they need to "speak up, and put up". Mere political criticism & glossing self-image is self-indulgent, and contributes nothing that would help develop good public policy.