"John Howard for President". It makes about as much sense as "Joh For PM" and now looks just as doomed. The supposedly-innocuous bid to parachute Howard into the vice-presidency of the International Cricket Council from July this year, and by virtue of succession, its presidency from July 2012, appears dead in the water.
"Howard's future in retirement? I've come up with three options:
(a) A ceremonial role (eg: patron, no.1 ticket holder, mascot) with one or more of the Australian Rugby Union, Cricket Australia or the Australian Olympic team...."
- Rick Eyre, 1.12.07
Not content with perpetuating his phony image as a "cricket tragic" at the Test against South Africa this week, John Winston Howard was revealed as a recipient of one of not-soon-enough-ex President Bush's final batch of "Presidential Medals of Freedom". (Along with Tony Blair and Alvaro Uribe, no less.)
There's a difference, though. After Prime Minister Bruce lost the seat of Flinders in 1929, he stood again at the next election in 1931, and won, returning to parliament (albeit as a backbencher) until 1933.
Did you notice that John Howard did not explicitly state anything about stepping down as Liberal Party leader last night? Even though he talked about the future opposition leader, and endorsing Peter Costello for the job, it was taken for granted that he would not hang around as Leader of the Opposition.
I'm betting that he hopes he loses in Bennelong so that he can get the agony of defeat over with quicker. Irony is, he might yet be saved by postal votes. All that means is that Maxine McKew will win the by-election in early 2008.
There were no blogs in 1996. No Wikipedia, no Youtube, not even a Google. There was a CricInfo, and I used my dialup terminal connection to follow the live scores on a lynx browser, and to catch up on the archives through gopher. That was how I kept up with the Cricket World Cup on March 2, 1996, the last time Australia had a Labor government.
When the facts are examined against the panicked rhetoric of Howard, I suggest there is only one conclusion to which you can come: it is time for him and his Government, with all their misrepresentations of the truth, to be gone.
- Bob Hawke, The Age, 21.11.07
The former Prime Minister's opinion piece on John Howard can be read in full in today's edition of The Age.