In yesterday's AFR, Laura Tingle at last managed to get a comment into the mainstream media that seems to have been missing: John Howard's contempt for Parliament through his refusal (for want of a better word, refusal rather take some liberties with motivation) to answers questions in Parliament. While Tingle situates this comment by recalling Keating's decision to not always even turn up to Question Time as similarly dismissive of the role of Parliament, this is the first time I can remember where an MSM opinion leader has taken the PM to task on his attitude to Question Time.
I've seen several references recently to Kevin Rudd turning his back to his adversaries, but it seems to me that Howard has been doing this for years? Is this an accurate reflection?
Anyway, going off about the lying little piece of sh*t is just par for the course at Chateau VVB, so probably best to move on. There has been a sign, we have seen it, and maybe some others have too. That would be a good thing.
Now, I read a whole heap of stuff in the papers this morning which could have been brought together in something of an interesting fashion. But that was then, this is now. I didn't mark them and as I trawl (not troll, that's a small Nordic gnome as far as I'm aware) back through the papers the only theme that springs out is the consistent attempts to damage Kevin Rudd's reputation by the hired hands of the government. I've just got to Christopher Pearson who's into it in spades. If you added the right-wing cheer squad to Malcolm Mackerras's pendulum, the world would look very different.
This obsession has got to stop, it's unhealthy. Mrs VVB and I were out for our evening walkies last night and discussing how best we could help Offspring No1 and Offspring No2 into housing - this thought has been brought on by Offspring No1 getting a promotion at his work and, while currently without a partner (prey? victim?) on the horizon (is this correct?), is starting to feel the need to 'settle down'. So Mrs VVB and I were discussing home affordability and how things had changed from when we were starting out. So I was rabbitting on about interest rates and particularly the fall in affordability compared to low nominal interest rates, and how the PM and alleged Treasurer seem to comprehend the latter but not the former, which is a real indicator. And so she says, "How did you bring them into it?" Meaning why rather than how, if you follow me.
And as an aside, we communicate with our offspring through our blogs. So much safer:-)
A really interesting article was the piece in the Australian magazine about the David Hicks campaign - that is to say, the efforts made by his family and supporters to turn public opinion. As I started to read it I thought it was going to be a counter-attack by the government or its mouthpieces against the growing public support for Hicks. There's certainly a few comments about Major Michael Mori and how he has run his part of the campaign. I guess in an ideal world you'd think that a lawyer would simply do the job in the official arenas of his responsibility. Not so, it seems. Mori has taken decisions that appear well outside of the strict legal niceties of the case. However, this is no ordinary case and I wonder whether Mori decided early on that he would have to step outside the usual boundaries. The article in total is quite balanced.
There's a comment from "one senior government official" that "they (Hick's team) have won the image battle". This is in part about the effort to remake Hicks' public image, for example influencing the photos used of him from the usual one of him with the rocker launcher in his Kosovo Liberation Army period to when he was younger (as young as 9) and in civilian clothes.
It seems Dick Smith has been to see the PM on a number of occasions about Hicks. Several years ago, Howard was dismissive. Most recently, he seemed "genuinely concerned that the process had taken so long." Well, that's what the article says. And it's the Australian, so it must be on the money.
Anyway, time to go. Bottling the second batch of ginger beer tonight. I'm currently sucking on a sample (well, actually the third sample this evening if we're being pedantic) of batch no 14, a Coopers Draught. Quite quaffable, even if I do say so myself.