Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rudd out

It's not often that a prime minister is forced out by his own party for reasons other than his or her choosing.   They're usually forced out ... such as when Margaret Thatcher "voluntarily" resigned as the "leader of the free world" twenty years ago (remember the poll tax)?

Today, facing almost certain defeat at a leadership review just months before an election, Australia's Kevin Rudd threw in the towel, and the new PM is Julia Gillard, originally from Wales and the first female to hold Oz's highest office.

Hard to believe that it was just three years ago Rudd won a landslide victory.   He kept his promise to withdraw troops out of Iraq, and two years ago he offered a much belated apology to the "stolen generations" of the country's Aboriginal populace.

Why his sudden fall?   Let's see ... he pretty much abandoned his environmental promises.    He didn't go near far enough to reverse the anti-union legislation of his precessor John Howard.   His stimulus package, consisting largely of rebate cheques to those who only had to prove they paid taxes during the year, was a joke.   A home insulation retrofit program went way over budget -- a two and a half billion dollar boondoggle it was -- and at least four installers were killed by heat stroke or electrocution before the plug was finally pulled.   Oh yes ... all the troops pulled out of Iraq were merely redeployed to the equally unpopular war in Afghanistan.

No wonder Labour thought they had to clean the slate fast.   But an otherwise unopposed candidate?   That could be trouble.

I can't imagine what lessons there are for Canada ... I only note that if he right-wing ruling party seems to schlep from one scandal to another without batting an eye, and the latest public opinion poll suggests that over half of solid Conservative voters would rather stay at home than vote for their second choice if they had one, then the left has to figure out a way to make the PTFE stick.

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Anonymous said...

Just like Chretien..

BlastFurnace said...

Sadly, I have to agree there.