Monday, 26 November 2007

The Right Hon PM Tweedledum

So Australia are now the first country in the world to have a Prime Minister who rejoices in the name of Kevin. A mummy's boy with a taste for his own earwax. Must be why Australia's called the lucky country.

The difference in personal quality between the new PM and the old one could be clearly seen in their two speeches on Saturday night. Howard's concession speech -- perhaps the last political speech in his career -- was proud, generous and statesmanlike. Rudd's victory speech by contrast was so wet that even his ebullient supporters were silenced.

Those personal differences however are more substantial than any policy differences. As yesterday's 'Sunday Star Times' editorial suggests, on policy issues this was in every way a me-too election -- Tweedledum trying to outbid Tweedledummer -- and in that respect at least, it's likely to foreshadow NZ's own election this time next year.

UPDATE 1: Rudd's already announced he's taking up the only three substantive areas of policy difference: he's going to sign up to sacrifice Australian prosperity to Gaia, to empower the unions, and to cut and run from Iraq. At least these are differences on the face of it, since Kyoto's now all but irrelevant and while withdrawing Australia's 550 combat troops from Iraq, that will still leave more than 300 Australian support troops.

UPDATE 2: "Ideology is dead in Australia," says Paul Sheehan. "The electorate made sure of that at the weekend." SOLO's Australian coordinator Hilton Holder agrees, but he argues that's a bad thing. Rudd's victory, he says, "is a symbol of a lobotomized and amoralized nation. "

UPDATE 3: Russell Brown also has a go at His Wetness:
Australia's last two Labor Prime Ministers, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, were raging personalities: brash, passionate, prone to controversy and somehow embodying national character. I don't think there's much chance of that with the new guy...


  1. I'd also argue that Rudds victory is nothing for Kiwi labour to crow about.

    After all, Rudd is promising Tax Cuts, and to spend less than Howard!

    If I had a choice I'd take Rudd over Clark and Co any day, especially after meeting the ALP president, who among other things made the comment that "only property rights and capitalism will save aboriginees".

    Then again, its not hard to be better than clark and co in my books! So don't interpret this as support for Rudd et al.

    But as Blair said (to paraphrase) either way its a victory and a loss at the same time.

    If howard wins, we end up with neocons in charge (loss) and a defeat of the left (win).

    If Rudd wins, the neocons are out (win) and the left wins (loss).

    Bit of a hobsons choice really!

    Also I wonder how Labour would fare over here if they had a conservative christian leader like Rudd. Would kiwi labour even let a conservative christian raise up through their ranks?

  2. Good points, Mikee but I think Rudd is just the front man in order to get the unions elected.
    Now watch for the knives to come out and Rudd will be replaced by someone much more sympathetic to the unions.

  3. KG

    Do you expect Rudd to be rolled or will he simply be told what to do (or else)?


  4. lgm, I don't expect him to be rolled, because the size of the election win will make him bombproof for a year at least.
    Nope, I reckon what will happen is that the unions will call in their debts in typical Oz union fashion--by threatening embarrassing leaks and the threat of wildcat strikes. Both of which would make Rudd look useless if he doesn't toe the line.


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