Sunday, August 17, 2003

Predictions and Speculations

Last Thursday, Ken Parish asked (apropos the Manildra scandal) whether the current Howard Government was "Australia's Worst Government". Ken appears to be firmly of the opinion that John Howard's conduct towards Manildra and its competitors qualifies as the probably the worst abuse of public office by an Australian Prime Minister ever and I'm hard put to find an example to surpass it myself. John Quiggin has also extended on his remarks on the ethanol brouhaha, under the very frank title "Corruption".

Nonetheless, prominent blog commentator and occasional blogger Jack Strocchi, over at Catallaxy confidently predicts that John Howard will ride to victory in the next election, in a troika drawn by the three horses of Political Security, Economic (or Professional Prosperity) and Personal Identity and has pledged himself to put aside his personal misgivings about the more sordid aspects of the Howard agenda, in recognition of the fact that John Howard, for all his faults, has done right by Australia, especially in effecting a much needed shift of the political centre to the right; it's what the (completely unanalysed) situation called for.

It seems to me that Jack, like a lot of other commentators on the Manildra affair and the current state of the Howard government is ignoring the straight guy at the Mardi Gras parade: Treasurer and self-appointed Minister for Trust and Tolerance Peter Costello. Now might be a good time to recall Costello's statement of June 4 regarding his leadership aspirations, after John Howard confirmed that he, rather than Costello, would be leading the Liberal Party to the next election. Personally, I wouldn't be too confident about predicting who is going to be driving the Liberal Party policy troika come the next election. Nor would I have a lot of confidence that the driver will be holding the reins for very long after the election.

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