Time for hibernation

The last week before Christmas is upon us.  Let’s hope Kevin 24/7 hasn’t morphed into Kevin 24/365, and that for the sake of his health he takes a long break, and a real one, and gives all we political tragics a spell for a few weeks.

It’s been a long and frantic year.  Despite the ‘all talk but no action’ rhetoric from the Opposition and much of the media, 2008 has been a very busy year for the Government, and even this week the announcements have continued at breakneck speed   The White Paper on the CPRS, the Bradley Report on higher education, and a number of other statements and initiatives, plus a visit by Kevin Rudd to Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf to deliver Christmas wishes to our soldiers and sailors, has kept the momentum going.  Many reviews are coming to a conclusion, which will set an even busier agenda for 2009. 

Malcolm Turnbull and the Opposition have gone quiet, no doubt regrouping for the battle next year, wondering how to play the CPRS and IR legislation.  The Greens will be devising their 2009 strategy, no mean feat if they intend to remain relevant instead of being sidelined as too radical on how to deal with climate change.

The assessments of the Rudd Government’s first year by the journalists have varied from enthusiastic, to grudging acknowledgement, to Dennis Shanahan’s recital of Rudd’s broken promises in this morning’s Australian – his Christmas gift to Rudd supporters.  They’re not really broken promises but promises that have been delayed in implementation, but enough for Shanahan to make a song and dance.  Bernard Keane has given an even-handed analysis of the year in Crikey, 2008: Dashed dreams and mouldy political compromise.

Hopefully next week will be quiet, although one would be unwise to bank on it.  So this is intended to be the last post for 2008, unless something spectacular occurs.

May I thank those of you who have visited The Political Sword, and particularly those who have taken the time to add your comments, among whom are some welcome regulars.  Compared with many other blogs I read, yours are among the most insightful and thoughtful I have read.  I look forward to your participation when The Political Sword resumes in February.

Season's Greetings to you all.

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20/12/2008Have a very happy Christmas Ad Astra. Thank you for setting up this blog and giving us the opportunity to discuss sensibly the goings on in the political and media arenas. I look forward to February when The Political Sword resumes. Best wishes to all those who visit this site to read and/or to leave a comment. May you all enjoy a happy Xmas and good health throughout the coming year.

Bushfire Bill

20/12/2008Seans Greetings to you too, AA. Funny you should mention Shanahan's Christmas article. His 2006 equivalent was a doozy. Penned on December 22 (a day that will live in infamy... if the article hadn't been so hilarious in retrospect), Dennis told us, point by point, blow by blow, cunning ploy by cunning ploy, how Howard and his helpers were going to wear the then new Rudd Honeymoon Juggernaut down, bit by bit. They were going to point out his inexperience, his inconsistencies, his shadow front bench's flop, failures and closet socialists. They were going to "reveal" skeletons in Rudd's closet. Although not specified, I guess they had the Burke meetings, Rudd's history in Eumundie (and the different versions of it from the local National Party hacks), Therese's millions (and how could they possibly be consistent with her being the PM's wife?) in mind. Shanahan predicted that by the time Rudd had been through the Liberal Party's Dirt Unit, he'd be another Beazley, another Crean, another Latham. Shanahan predicted Rudd would be "put to the political sword", a confident enough prediction methinks, as Dennis was already lining up at the oilstone, sharpening his own dagger. At one stage Jason Koutsoukis took up the cudgels too, until later on (but not too late) he realised what a farce these Lib "Insiders" were. Dennis never got that joke. He just ploughed on, as he ploughs on to this day. Of course the evisceration of Rudd would be a subtle thing. No Shock! Horror! headlines... that idea didn't work out, either, but anyway... Slowly but surely the Rudd edifice would erode away, washed by the inexorable waters of the Howard rain falling in a permanent, depressing drizzle on Kevin's parade. Around August 2007 Rudd would quietly slip behind in the polls, maybe bump up and down around parity for a month or so but then he'd start noticeably sinking. This was when Howard would call his election, bringing all his Prime Ministerial majesty to bear on the callow youth from the Sunshine Coast, flattening him with the weight of irresistable incumbency. A September election call, for a poll date in October (I think it was October 21) would complete the process. Rudd would never know what hit him, so bewildered he'd be after the king sucker punch from Howard. As we all know, things didn't turn out like that. Dennis was W-R-O-N-G, wrong. His fantasy that Rudd would be a pushover, would cave like his predecessors did, didn't come true. Rudd remains as popular today as at almost any time in the past two years, since that Christmas 2008 when he took over the leadership of the Opposition. You can look up all kinds of article by Dennis Shanahan in the Australian's archives. The only one you won't find is the article frDennis wriote a couple of days before Christmas, 2006, where he laid out the Howard road to victory. Funny that, eh? I love youse all. Have a Merry Xmas and a better New Year.

Ad astra reply

23/12/2008Thank you janice and Bushfire Bill for your kind comments and your Christmas wishes. BB, thank you for the pointer to Dennis Shanahan’s articles; they would make spellbinding reading. It’s curious that the December 2006 article is missing. Perhaps it shows that Dennis [i][b]is[/b][/i] capable of feeling shame at a gross miscalculation. At first Dennis infuriated me with his misrepresentation of the facts, and the way he was always able to squeeze a tiny drop of good news out of otherwise calamitous polls, from which he would extrapolate good outcomes for Howard and the Coalition. You’ll remember one of his pieces was so grossly biased and the conclusions so distorted, he was taken to task by a hoard of bloggers to such an extent that he was moved to write a piece in defence, and the editor of [quote]The Australian[/quote] did likewise, lampooning bloggers in the process. That was the first time I realized that bloggers could have an impact on journalists. Since then Denis seems to have become resigned to Rudd’s continuing popularity, although still wistfully longing for his downfall. His attacks on Brendan Nelson and Julie Bishop seemed out of character, but may have been born of a desire to clear the Opposition ranks of poor performers, so that it could take its rightful place in power. Now I read Dennis with a wry smile, as I’m sure many other bloggers do, wondering what wondrous words he will use to make his case, speculating about what morsel of encouraging news he has seized upon. It’s great fun. Let's assemble again in February 2009.

Harry "Snapper" Organs

15/01/2009Umm, Ad Astra, would you consider coming out of hibernation soonish? There appears to be some fairly crazy events unfolding. Gaza, for one.
I have two politicians and add 17 clowns and 14 chimpanzees; how many clowns are there?