Saturday, September 13, 2008

The dogs of democracy

Costello and latham, dogs of democracyPoliticians must be aware when they enter politics that they have a use by date. Sooner or later, due to scandal, party machinations or electoral rejection the time comes when there is no option but to make an exit. If politicians are aware of this, why do so many of them feel the need to publish memoirs subsequent to political demise which are intended to be highly damaging to their own side?

The Latham Diaries, published in 2005 were unashamedly spiteful. The same can be said about Peter Costello’s recent memoirs which abounds with attacks on his political colleagues. Michael Costa recently added his name to a growing list of disgruntled politicians taking the opportunity to damage their own party after being shown the door. Did these people enter public life with no ideals of serving a cause? No matter how disgruntled you are, why not make a dignified exit rather than become a wrecker? Such indulgent expressions can be seen as nothing more than rampant self interest.

Sometime during his career Peter Costello acquired the nickname ‘dog’, mostly for his looks. Now more than ever his behaviour deserves the same title. Costello has no excuse for the venom contained in his new book. After years of waiting for the Liberal leadership to be handed to him on a silver platter he now refuses it when it is laid at his feet. Perhaps a deep self doubt lies behind Costello’s ‘captain smirk’ egotism. Perhaps he realises that when push came to shove, he never had the ability to win an election in his own right or lead his party through a bleak period of opposition. Costello's behaviour since losing the 2007 has been mysterious. Perhaps it is true, (as has been suggested in the press) that his current position on the leadership is just a way of promoting sales for his book.

Costello’s memoirs are nothing more than the culmination of a long period of sulking due to John Howard’s refusal to hand him the leadership or have him and his wife over to dinner. While many might now decry Howard’s mishandling of Kyoto, The Republic issue, the children overboard affair, refusal to apologise to aboriginal people, the industrial relation debacle etc. his refusal to step aside for Costello now seems his most astute decision.

2 comments:

iWalk said...

Back from a long time holiday,Liam?

Only in democratic country, People talk about polity.:)

It must be much easy to be a Politician in my country.

Liam said...

I have been away for a while; good to be back and nice to hear from you.

Perhaps it is easier in your country, although I'm sure your leaders face different challenges.

Our politicians may not always appreciate commentarys like mine, but robust discussion is surely a good thing.