Tuesday, November 20, 2007

International Media Picks Up On 'Howard's Battlers Now Turning On Him' Theme

As John Howard's government enters what certainly looks like its last days in power, the international media is starting to pump the theme that he will lose office because the legendary 'Howard Battlers' have decided to dump him because the 'McMansion Dream' has turned sour.

This from the UK's Telegraph :

The aspiring working classes of Australia who catapulted John Howard to power 12 years ago look set to turn on him in lethal fashion in this week’s election, as his promises of growing prosperity have soured.

A survey has found that two-thirds of voters with mortgages between $100,000 and $200,000 (£86,000) intended to vote on Saturday for the opposition Labour Party, heralding a catastrophe for Mr Howard’s conservation coalition.

Since being elected in 1996, Mr Howard has drawn much of his support from "battlers" – blue collar families living in the outer suburbs of Australia’s big cities – seducing them with a Thatcherite philosophy of economic liberalism and social conservatism.

But the Australian dream of owning an air-conditioned "McMansion" with a two-car garage has soured.

Interest rates have risen six times since Mr Howard made a rash pledge at the last election, in 2004, that he would ensure they stayed low.

Compounding the pain for mortgage holders is the fact that house prices have fallen in many working class "battler" suburbs since the property boom peaked around 2003.

The photo running with the story here shows John Howard looking old, bitter and annoyed. The story made the Editor's Pick on the website.