Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Hone vs Howard: Truth at Last!

Just when I thought that I would never live to hear a politicial speak the honest, unvarnished and unspun truth, Hone Harawira, MP, professional stirrer, occasional 'hater and wrecker' and unlikely resotroer of my faith in representative democracy, said what most of us have been known for some time: Aussie PM John Howard is a racist bastard.
Maori Party MP Hone Harawira isn't retracting the "racist bastard" comment
he aimed at Australian Prime Minister John Howard, despite a reprimand from his
caucus colleagues.

"That's how I felt about it. Quite frankly that's still how I feel about
it," he said at a press conference today after a caucus meeting called to
discuss the issue.

Mr Harawira made the comment yesterday during a Maori Television
discussion about the radical measures the Australian government has announced to
deal with abuse and alcoholism in Aboriginal communities in the Northern

(here - or 1, below)
This is fantastic. I hope it catches on. Instead of a 'Sorry Day', Aussies should have a 'Howard's a Bastard Day'.

Harawira's comments were prompted by Howard's decision to blot out ahite Australia's neglect of poverty, alienation and alcoholism in Aboriginal settlements by sending in the army (Just like the good old days, eh, John?) but, of course, this isn't the first time. John boy has form for this sort of thing.

Remember he wrangled a re-election on the back of the Tampa affair, whipping up a frenzy amongst Australian voters by menacing them with stories of baby drowning refugees flooduing the country with their sinister ways? The Tampa affair, and the way it was manipulated by Howard and the rightwing press in Australia, was recounted in detail in Dark Victory, by David Marr and Marian Wilkinson (2). They credit Howard's 2001 election victory to his ruthless and inhumane handling of the incident, coupled with the racist fulminating in the press.

Now it seems he's at it again. The misery of those in Aboriginal settlements isn't something new. Nor is the rampant alcoholism, violence and child abuse. But Howard - who has been Prime Minister of Australia for a very long time, unfortunately - has only now decided to do something about it, nad the course of action chosen is the one most likely to make him look tough and effective, rather than pandering to PC, special pleading or minority griping. So its the same old. And, unfortunately, it seems to have been working - Howard's received a bit of a poll bounce in his personal rating:
Bipartisan support for the Coalition's intervention plan to protect
children on NT Aboriginal communities from sexual and physical abuse was not
enough to stop Mr Howard achieving a five-point turnaround on the question of
who would make a better prime minister. One point now separates the two leaders,
with Mr Howard up two points at 42 per cent, and Mr Rudd down three at 43 per
cent. Mr Howard's satisfaction rating has risen one point to 46 per cent and Mr
Rudd's slipped two points to a still-high 60 per cent.

(here - or 3, below)
Still, a turnaround in his personal ratings hasn't been translated - SO FAR - into a resurgence in his party's fortunes. Fingers crossed it stays that way, and Hone Harawira doesn't suddenyl become diplomatic and coy. Maybe he should tell us what he really thinks about Winston Peters and John Tamihere. I'd like that.

1 - 'I won't apologise to Howard' - Hone, Dominion Post / NZPA artcile, viewed 10th July 2007. http://www.stuff.co.nz/4122207a11.html
2 - Dark Victory, by David Marr & Marian Wilkinson, Allen & Unwin (Oct 2 2003).
3 - Howard finds fertile ground for support, Editorial piece, The Australian, 10th Julty 2007. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,22045745-7583,00.html

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