The dismal decade: Howard and Rudd on toxic politics

The dismal decade: Howard and Rudd on toxic politics, by The Australian.

In separate interviews with Inquirer for the 10th anniversary of the 2007 election, Rudd’s personal reaction and Howard’s more reflective analysis come to similar conclusions about the behaviour of the mainstream political parties and where the blame lies for an infection of loss of faith, political fragmentation, parliamentary obstruction, leadership uncertainty and a threat to good governance and national prosperity.

The key ingredient for the loss of faith identified by both former leaders is immaturity — an immaturity and naivety of a new class of conviction-free political careerists with little or no real-world experience. This new class fights internal factional battles like games and is prepared to pull the trigger of the “numbers game” too readily, without regard to the transactional costs for the governing party or risk to the national interest.

This applies equally to Labor and the Coalition. …

They see the rise of the “factional class”, but apparently not the endemic of PC fantasy among the governing elite. or that the elite’s polices have badly damaged the economic prospects and security of most of the nation through excessive competition from immigration, especially Islamic immigration. And of course they totally fail to see how the bubble of money manufacture by the banks in the last few decades has driven housing prices and all asset classes except gold to extreme heights — they are too buy luxuriating in their unearned income from house appreciation to really appreciate that many are missing out on housing because of the extreme cost.

Instead, its all about the “trust lost” by the voters when leaders were replaced. Really? How self-centered.

Howard delivers a devastating judgment on the first-term removals of Rudd and Abbott, and it sounds like a final condemnation.

“The common feature on both sides is not only the removal of a first-term prime minister but in both cases the authority of Gillard was lost when she didn’t win the election and Turnbull’s authority was badly damaged when he didn’t win the election convincingly,” he says.

They see the rise of the university educated postmodern apparatchiks well enough, and the drift away from the concerns of most people:

Howard sees a fragmentation of political parties across the Western world because they have become less tribal and “the political scene has become more ­Balkanised as you see the development of the membership of political parties no longer repre­senting people’s wider views. Factionalism has become far more rampant and parties are no longer mass movements.”

Rudd likewise rails against factionalism and the rise of professional political technocrats, which he categories as the “state ALP secretaries’ club” and includes former supporters and colleagues Mark Arbib and Swan.

“But beyond the state secretaries’ club, you also had the entry into positions of power of a young factional class who had done very little in their lives apart from being factional foot soldiers whose mission in life was to destroy either the left or the right, and (they) were rewarded for their acuteness in so doing but had no interest whatsoever in constructing an alternative program for government,” Rudd says.