I didn’t think there was anything I’d actually like to ask the Prime Minister we finally kicked out in 2007 – after all, there was never any realistic prospect of him answering a question directly and honestly, or admitting fault, or expressing regret for any of the damage he did in his eleven years in office.
But as last night’s Q&A approached, suddenly a few occurred to me – as did a number of comments, as the program progressed:
- Mr Howard, are you sorry that your CGT cut and FHOG caused housing inflation so that now young people have no hope of buying a house? #qanda
- Mr Howard, do you have an actual argument against gay marriage yet? Or are you still relying on “it just is”? #qanda
- Howard: good economic results under ALP are because of mining boom. But we’ll take full credit for any positives in our term. #qanda
- Howard, Hicks pleaded guilty to an offence that didn’t exist when he “committed” it, in the context where there’d be no fair trial. #qanda
- Howard, no-one said Hicks was a “hero”. Total disingenuous strawman. #qanda
- Actually, that *isn’t* all the critics of the Iraq War have to throw at you, Mr Howard. The facts should hurt you a lot more. #qanda
- Howard, your policy was racist because it attacked refugees of particular ethnicities on boats and ignored those arriving by plane. #qanda
- Howard, it’s just not true to say we’ve reached the limit of our capacity to take refugees. The rest of your argument fails there. #qanda
- John Howard: it’s everybody’s fault but mine. #qanda
Naturally, none of those questions or comments made it to the TV screen. But this one did:
Well, if I can’t get any questions or comments about things that actually matter up there, I suppose I’ll have to be satisfied with the image of Howard’s mouthing off to the nation overlaid with my insult. Better than nothing, I suppose.
UPDATE: Some spectacular comments on the News Ltd online story about the shoe-throwing incident:
titch of sydney Posted at 2:40AM Today
to the critic open your eyes alot more iraquis would have died at the hands of the taliban regime if we did not intervene
What can you say to incisive reasoning like that?
You are right to be mortified. The most instructive thing from the Howard Q&A appearance was the lesson it gave us about the bogan left’s approach to rational argument and civil discourse.
It only reinforced why I disliked him so much.
“It only reinforced why I disliked him so much”.
Funny old life isn’t it. It only reinforced my respect for him and I’ve never voted Libs in my life and quite disliked him when he was PM.
With regard to Hicks; you’re right, no-one has ever referred to him as a “hero”. Strawman maybe, but a very clever one you must admit.
Funny comment Jeremy btw.
The ironic thing about it is that, if anything, I’d be an even worse bowler than Howard. But then again, I’m not trying to be in the ICC.
I was about to say I agree with SB until I read the gross generalisation about the “bogan left”. Not all bogan’s are lefties and not all lefties are bogans SB and some left leaners could even engage in rational argument and civil discourse.
Maybe I should apply to the ICC – I’m an awesome bowler. Well at least I was. Main strike bowler in our old indoor cricket team. Does that count?
PJH I didn’t want to insult leftists in general, so I decided to use a qualifier. Most bogans aren’t lefties, and most lefties aren’t bogans, but I think ‘bogan left’ was a fair description of some of the participants last night.
Mind you, John Howard’s shameful record in office is enough to upset most people. However, must grown-ups know that if they resort to childish behaviour it only serves to make him look better than he has a right to.
I remember being disconcerted when an ABC interviewer lost it when interviewing Howard. Howard said that he had not received any ‘advice’ to contradict early reports that children had been thrown overboard. All the interviewer had to do was to point out that she had not asked him about ‘advice’ he had received, but whether or not his ‘office’ had received any ‘information’ indicating that the initial reports were untrue. He ignored the question, and she was so frustrated she moved on to the next question.
Too often Howard is let off the hook because people are too emotional to properly and rationally hold him to account.
“PJH I didn’t want to insult leftists in general, so I decided to use a qualifier. Most bogans aren’t lefties, and most lefties aren’t bogans, but I think ‘bogan left’ was a fair description of some of the participants last night.”
Yep, fair enough.
I’m another person for whom Howard’s re-emergence into the public eye has been a reminder of exactly how much I loathed the man, and why. Namely because he has this extraordinary ability to spout the most bald-faced lying bullshit and yet make it sound unquestionably reasonable, respectable and dignified. The Q & A session provided some classic examples: “”It’s all very well to sneer, but if you have evidence – material presented to you – indicating that those weapons do exist and you ignore that and subsequently they are used against you, then you have every right to be condemned as having neglected the interests of the country”. It’s this kind of thing that always made my blood boil with him. Possibly even more than his actual decisions and actions, it was the smarmy way he lied (possibly to himself as well as to the rest of us) which really made me want to crush his head slowly with some heavy industrial equipment.
I’m just immensely grateful to this Peter Gray person for making sure that the main – and possibly only – thing people will remember about this whole John Howard comeback episode is that someone threw their shoes at him on the ABC.
What a moron that shoe thrower is. Does he really believe that he made some sort of insightful or meaningful public statement by throwing his shoes at an old man?
How stupid do you need to be if the best way you can express your views is by throwing your footwear at someone?
“only – thing people will remember about this whole John Howard comeback episode is that someone threw their shoes at him”
Again, not a Howard fanboy here christoll but I suspect the thing people will remember is Howard’s dignity during the “episode” and Gray’s complete fuckwittery.
I just heard him on the radio; “Howard drops bombs, so I throw shoes”. I’m paraphrasing but; really, that’s the best he can come up with?
Hey you don’t know that there weren’t Iraqis being killed by the Taliban before Afghanistan was “liberated”. Hell, I’m sure if Ahmed Chalabi had been in Kabul the Taliban would have rubbed him out. As a service to humanity.
I’d say the shoe thrower was fed up with the rot that was coming out of Howard’s mouth. No harm done really.
The shoe thrower was still less unco than Howard’s attempts at bowling a cricket ball.
IMAGINE if it had been an AK-47—-that would have put the ABC ratings skyhigh. Howard will always be looking over his shoulder, as the Australian taxpayer pays mega dollars to look after his well-being—why should I pay, I did not want the war monger to invade Iraq—a war based on lies.
A price tag of sixty dollars for Howard’s book, what can I say, you must be joking.
I didn’t see the show, and couldn’t be bothered going to look, and have no doubt that the shoe thrower was one heck of a sad case … but why has no one here mentioned the earlier (and much more courageous) shoe thrower who lost it with George Bush at a press conference? Isn’t that where the shoe throwing thing started?
And I think this shows that the difference between Bush / Howard / Blair and Rudd / Obama is that history will look on the latter with a little more respect than the former. Witness the public reactions at Blair’s book signings.