Just the other day, Turnbull hitched a lift with Con Trump to the G-20 meeting. While some would be cautioning Turnbull about the dangers of asking lifts from strange men, John Howard is telling us to trust the Dumpster:
“I do think there’s a rush to judgement on this bloke, on Trump, which is understandable because he’s so powerful … but we’ve got to be careful we don’t fall through the trap of rushing to judgment.”
Actually, that wasn’t the strangest thing in the news.com.au article I read. I was rather confused by this sentence:
Howard refused to speculate on whether Trump would stop tweeting, only saying: “He’s not going to.”
So, he won’t speculate on whether he’d stop tweeting, he’d only predict that he won’t, which seems like speculation to me, but, hey, the fact that anyone even bothers with the opinion of the only living PM to lose his seat in a general election is beyond me.
Anyway, I thought I’d share it, in case you missed it, and because, well, Johnny Howard’s opinion must be important because he is the longest service Liberal leader this century, followed by Tony Abbott who has the great distinction of spending twice as much time as Opposition Leader than he did as Prime Minister. Tony was once referred to as the most successful Opposition Leader in Australia’s history after the 2010 election which I found strange. I thought the ones who actually won elections should be considered more successful, but Tony showed how good he was as an Opposition Leader by continuing when he won in 2013. No, that’s not meant to be “until he won in 2013” – he continued to be Opposition Leader throughout his term as PM – even once referring to Bill Shorten as the Prime Minister – and, to this very day, shows us all how a good Opposition leader can bring down a government.
And, to be fair, John Howard does have a great track record of reassuring Australians. Starting with Peter Costello whom Howard assured that, if he didn’t challenge for the leadership, he’d step down after an appropriate time and let Peter have the job, Mr Howard’s reassurances have generally proved worthless. Or as Sam Goldwyn said: “A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on”!
When John Winston Howard became Opposition Leader, he assured us all that the Liberals would “never, ever” introduce a GST, and by that, he meant until after another election, because a week is a long time in politics but “never” is no time at all. And when he introduced it, he reassured us that their were safeguards that meant that it could never, ever be raised above ten percent. Obviously when the current mob were speculating about raising it to fifteen, they hadn’t heard about the safeguards.
Of course, let’s not forget that when some naughty lefties suggested that children weren’t thrown overboard in 2001, Howard reassured us that we could trust Peter Reith. Perhaps not with a phone card, but certainly with statements like, “There is a video, but it’s not really worth watching because I’ve already revealed all the spoilers, so you’d be better off waiting till HBO get their act together and you can watch really top shows on Rupert’s cable network”…
Ok, Reith never actually said that.
But the Honourable John did tell last week that the decision to go war with Iraq wasn’t “based on a lie”; it was based on faulty intelligence. Now he didn’t say whether this was his or George W. Bush’s faulty intelligence so I think we shouldn’t fall through the trap of rushing to judgement. (Mm, that’s what he said about Trump and now that I think about it if you fall through a trap, doesn’t that mean that you don’t get caught in it?)
Of course, in 2003, Howard was assuring us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and it was just that those silly UN weapons inspectors weren’t looking in the right places. And he was also assuring us that he still hadn’t made up his mind whether we’d go to war, while SAS officers were in Iraq carrying out operations just in case we decided to. Meanwhile, his government was attacking the ABC for bias because some of their reporters had a “cynical tone” when asking questions about the existence of Iraq’s WMDs.
When no weapons were found, John Howard again reassured us that Saddam may have destroyed the WMDs before the war began which strikes me as a completely plausible. “Saddam the coalition of the willing are attacking us, what do we do?” “We must quickly hide all our weapons and fight back with our bare hands in effort to make us look tougher.”
And, of course, he reassured the Liberal Party in 2007 that he was the best person to lead them into the election. On this, he was probably right. He certainly achieved the ambition that he and many of his colleagues shared, of ensuring that Peter Costello never became Prime Minister.
So when Honest John tells us to give Trump a chance, one has to wonder whether he’ll be passing that off in a couple of years as simply an intelligence failure.
Meanwhile, we have the spectacle of our current caretaker PM announcing a policy while surrounded by troops with gas masks. The Labor Party complained that he was using the ADF as “props”, but that’s a little unfair. The troops were there to protect Turnbull from an attack by Peter Dutton!