After months of self-imposed exiled, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard has come out of hiding to deliver a speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. In his speech he defended his government's legacy and took the opportunity to make a few embittered swipes at the new Rudd government. Notably, US President George W. Bush could not make the trip over to the event despite being in Washington at the time.
To me, this event seems to suggest just how cruel politics can be. One moment you're a rooster and the next you're a feather duster. Not too long ago, Howard was the most powerful man in Australia. A matter of months later, he has lost government, lost his seat in parliament and has resorted to giving speeches to an extreme right-wing think tank full of members notorious for sharing the same brain cell. I could not have thought of a more profoundly effective way of demonstrating his utter irrelevance to the affairs of contemporary Australia myself.
To be perfectly honest, I have led the charge to stop the Howard bashing that has occured since the election. He's been and gone and is no longer relevant to the affairs of Australia, so I'm perfectly happy for us to all move on from that unpleasant part of our history. Indeed, I'd suggest that many Australians would be perfectly happy to forget that the eleven and a half years before that fateful day in November 2007 ever happened. But now Howard has decided to open his mouth again and subject himself to well deserved criticism. So much for his suggestion that an ex-Prime Minister should not make comment on political issues - that must've been another one of those non-core promises.