Monday, November 19, 2007

Murdoch Media Already Publishing Howard Government Obituaries

Glenn Milne Tells Tony Abbott To Go Home To His Wife

The Australian newspaper today features a number of early obituaries for the Howard government, and in particular, Health Minister Tony Abbott. First this :
Who should the Coalition hold responsible in the event that Labor winds up running every government in the nation, federal, state and territory?

John Howard’s name springs to mind, of course.

He chose to remain prime minister when some of his colleagues, most notably Alexander Downer, thought Peter Costello might have had a better chance of deflating the Kevin Rudd bubble.

Take a step back and consider how the conservatives find themselves just one defeat away from being in opposition in every jurisdiction in the land.

Conservatives will try to convince you that a Labor federal government win this Saturday will be some kind of aberration, a freak event, an act of successful brainwashing by a slick marketing machine. They wish.

Instead, it's culmination of a Labor takeover of the nation, that began with Labor in control of NSW in 1996; then taking Queensland and Tasmania in 1998; Victoria in 1999; West Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory in 2001 and finally South Australia in 2002.

Australians are not becoming more conservative. They've turned their backs on conservative state governments, and this Saturday they are more than likely to elect a federal Labor government, completing the decade long rejection of Australian conservatives.

Glenn Milne, who says Tony "Too Raw" Abbott has been a friend for 17 years, mourns the coming loss of Tony "Too Honest" Abbott from the Australian political scene. Abbott's friend says Abbott's friends "should advise him to go (home to his wife)" :
Abbott is a figure of substance, a conviction politician in an era of white noise convergence. But watching Abbott's disintegration you have to ask whether the strength of those convictions was ever viable in an environment where the electorate increasingly likes its politics "lite" in all respects, including when it comes to values.

I count Abbott as a friend. We met in the early 1990s, and there's not a dinner table you'd share with him that wouldn't leave you passing into the later night wrestling with some of the bigger questions of the universe.

In some senses, Abbott is simply too honest and too raw for modern politics...

Tony Abbott has spent the past decade as John Howard's most savage attack dog, shredding the competition for minor indiscretions, cutting loose with grim and vindictive bullying whenever possible and venomously destroying political careers, then reveling in his small victories. Now we're supposed to feel sorry for him?

Milne's generous praise and all but casual dismissal of Abbott's disgusting behaviour during this election campaign, let alone the past ten years, is enough to make you want to reach for a bucket.

But then, if you can't use your national newspaper column to whitewash the grand, insipid failings and genuine nastiness of a friend, what's the point of being a Murdoch media columnist?