Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ding Dong! The Bastard's gone!

I followed the election crouched around my laptop with 3 other Aussie expats, all desperately hoping my somewhat shaky broadband connection held up to streaming ABC 702. It was only 10am here when the first results came in, and even four days later I am still bursting with satisfaction that I got hear Howard concede live.

I thought Kevin Rudd's speech was utterly pedestrian. I know it was a careful pitch to first time ALP voters, but come on! There are people, exhausted true believers, who had worked so hard and waited so long for Saturday night and it belonged to them. It was the swing voters in marginal seats who delivered the election, but wasn't it the people who hung in doggedly through eleven horrible years of howard-beazley-crean-latham, who get up at 5am to set up the booths and stuff envelopes, who held the party together?

Most of the coverage on Howard's legacy talks about Workchoices, and that and the housing crunch probably cost him the election. But I haven't much talk of the biggest victims of the Howard years - Cornelia Rau, David Hicks, Shayan Bedraie and all the others who suffered because the Howard government found it politically convenient to exploit the worst in the Australian polity.

Mungo MacCallum has an excellent piece in Crikey reminding us all what we lost here.

For more than eleven years, John Howard led us on a voyage driven by greed and fear, into parochialism and paranoia, selfishness and racism, bigotry and corruption, and other dark places in the Australian psyche where we never should have gone. It was a mean and ugly trip, and it will take us all a long time to recover.

It's been called a humiliating defeat, but it's easy to imagine that Howard is packing up the Lodge whistling My Way, for not having handed over to Peter Costello. In refusing to hand over to a whining weasel like Costello he might have screwed the Liberal party for the next ten years, but it must seem preferable to have prevented Mr "It's my turn now" from any place in the history books.

The ABC must be already celebrating. This story is relevant, but there's a healthy amount sneering in their choice of clip (the link is an mp3). It certainly gave me a thril. Investigate that Richard Alston!


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