In the 15 months since the Howard Government fell, I’d wager a fair percentage of the publics opinion on that time has shifted. Whilst most are happy under Rudd, they naturally have come to associate the time before as one of prosperity, less economic stress, and stability. So, whilst the current liberal party tears itself apart (though a necessary bloodletting), you can understand why people may be keen to hear what the former PM John Howard thinks and perhaps even re-evaluate him having voted him out in 2007.
Thus, this morning both Fairfax and News Ltd reprinted large swathes of his recent Lecture to the Liberal Party faithful. Indeed as my own philosophy is growing increasingly liberal, I was beginning to wonder if I’d misjudged a politician who could casually reference both Mill and Burke.
Yet one quick skim through the lecture was enough to remind me just how much I detest the lying rodent all over again. Here’s three quick lies & distortions:
2) Then Howard uses the Liberal Parties deliberately misleading claim that we are suddenly $200b in debt from the $42b stimulus package. Unsurprisingly the impossible maths here means this distortion hasn’t caught on in the publics mind, but its worth turning to the economist Peter Martin to show why its so deliberately wrong:
Kevin Rudd is planning to spend $42 billion over two years, not the $200 billion needed justify the Liberal Party’s calculation. But the bills before the Senate do allow his government to borrow up to $200 billion if needed. It’s like a credit limit. It’s not a debt unless you use it.
3) Finally, Howard promised us that he would be a “very quiet ex-prime minister and not provide a running commentary”. This is about the 6th time Howard has popped up to criticize the Rudd Government since the election, on a spectrum of issues.
It took 15 months for memory to slowly fade and cast a warmer glow on the former PM, and only 5 minutes to bring all the dismay and disgust come flooding back.