I hear much support for the monarchy/I hear the Union Jack’s to remain

Another SMH-based story – and after I just criticised it. I can’t remember where I read/heard the needless advice that Team Howard/Costello would start the scare tactics soon (what with Rudd thoroughly caning Howard in the polls). It was not necessary because it is exactly how Team Howard wins its elections – just ask Arne Rinnan – so none of us truly expect emotional growth from the Prime Minister.

Thus into the fray enters former Midnight Oil frontman and Honourable Member of Parliament for Kingsford Smith (NSW) and the Labor party’s Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment, Heritage and the Arts. Specifically, the Prime Minister warns us of the “Garrett Recession”, the consequences of a Labor victory, and a Peter Garrett actual Ministership of Climate Change and the Environment. He warned audiences during a weekend of speeches that “Peter Garrett’s approach to climate change “would be a recipe for a Garrett recession – not a recession Australia has to have””.

Note that nice touch at the end (Australians will generally remember then-Treasurer Paul Keating‘s “Recession We Had to Have” – also the beginning of his end).

This is of course the same PM who warned us last time about interest rates (which we told would go off the chart if Labor won the last election). Needless to say this is silly, even generally, but standard Howard scaremongering (the Central Bank – independent, like all good ones – in fact ended up complaining to the Federal Electoral Commission about the Liberal* party’s tactics). How is that working out, I wonder?

This sort of thing will come as no surprise to American readers, of course, who should by now be well-used to their execrable Vice-President, among others. It is hard to get anywhere thinking about who manages an economy better in the US, a country where Republicans can accuse Democrats of tax-and-spend profligacy while amassing the greatest debt imaginable, post-Clinton. England has not really seen scare tactics of either kind. Labour entered after utterly shambolic economic ‘management’ by the Tories, and since then Tony Blair has steadily out-Thatcher’d Thatcher – so what in hell else is there?

It will be interesting to see what else comes down the Liberal line. I figure interest rates some more – they are steady at the moment, and if they stay that way the government will have the opportunity to pull them out. Labor being in thrall of the Unions is always good (‘thrall’ of course is the conservative’s adjective for providing living wages – the long-forgetten other thing upon which Adam Smith insisted). It would appear climate change (and Labor’s insistence upon addressing it subsequently reducing Australia to penury) will be a theme. Labor control of Federal as well as State legislatures (along the lines of the GOP tax-and-spend whipping boy) will come up as often as the Liberals think it will work. Democrats are ascendant in Washington, and even the conservatives don’t seem much to mind Prime Minister Rudd, in their own weird way. Anything else? The politics of cynicism has more than that to offer, surely…

*Almost forgot: In Australia, the Liberal party is conservative, not liberal. Hence our government students must learn to use ‘big L’ and ‘little l’ liberal in sentences. Serves them right (full disclosure: at my alma mater – one of them, anyway – the Government department is in the Economics faculty, when it bloody-well belongs in the Arts faculty).

UPDATE: Peter Garrett responds. Note (i) why is that the picture of choice? Because the SMH is stupid, and (ii) sadly ‘slams’ has entered Australian media as the instant synonym for ‘criticises’ or ‘disagrees’. Thanks a goddamn lot, Huffington Post and CNN. Thanks a lot.

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