Oh for the days of Gough Whitlam, Paul Keating or Bob Hawke! In the happy glow of memory and anecdote, one feels these were Labor Prime Ministers that the erstwhile citizen could not only vote for, but like.
Not so Kevin Rudd.
As pleased as I am to see El Blepheron* Howard removed from his decade-long foray into Australian leadership; as cheerfully as I voted for Labor; as riotous my applause when – grinning, bespectacled – Kevin Rudd ascended to the Prime Ministerial podium, the bloke is, nonetheless, a wowser, a killjoy and a philistine.
There’s no way around it. For my generation of left-wing voters, who have grown up with Howard and for whom Keating exists in just the dimmest corner of childhood recollection, it seems that the price of finally having a leader who signs Kyoto, apologises to the Aborigines, funds universities and brings the troops home is that he be the humanoid equivalent of a Vogon.
A clarification, for those unfamiliar with the late and very great Douglas Adams:
“Vogons are one of the most unpleasant races in the galaxy. Not actually evil, but bad tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They wouldn’t even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public enquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters. On no account should you allow a Vogon to read poetry to you.
“Vogon poetry is, of course, the third worst in the universe.”
Which description seems alarmingly apt of our new PM – at least as concerns the Federal Public Service and Bill Henson.
Still. No matter how distasteful one might find Young Kevin’s personality or methods, there is comfort in the knowledge that the Liberal Party candidates are immesurably worse, not only because they won’t achieve anything beneficial to offset their own officiousness, as Rudd has done, but because they’re a pack of scheming, greedy, ugly-minded liars, who, when it comes to accountability, Peter Reith and the AWB, have tended to collectively resemble the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, viz: “a creature so mind-bogglingly stupid it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you.”
*Blepheron: anyone with abnormally large eyebrows.