Saturday, November 24, 2007

Aussies Change Direction - Dump Howard

The results are in and one can only hope that U.S. voters are as resolute next November as the Aussies were in their national elections yesterday. Australians finally tired ot the neo-conservative ideology of Bush buddy John Howard and sent him away, with prejudice. Looks like he won't even hold on to his seat in parliament. The Australian Labor Party, led by Kevin Rudd, swept into office in a landslide. And in a time of relative economic growth and propserity.

Rudd, who will be the next PM, promises to immediately withdraw all Australian troops from Iraq (so much for the coalition of the willing) and to sign-on to the Kyoto protocols for reducing green-house gasses. Rudd is also an Australian republican, and though not a top-priority issue, the country's relationship with the British crown could change.

I know a little bit about Australian politics, as my second-cousin Frank Crean was a vice PM and a Labor Party leader for years - as his son Simon is now. To be honest, though family, Crean senior was perceived to be a bit stodgy - a remnant of the days when Labor was run by the dock workers and had a much more English-style feel. Rudd has transformed the party with new faces, celebrity candidates and more effective appeals to the average, working bloke. Simon Crean has been a shadow minister for a number of years and will likely now get the trade and development portfolio.

Bush and his minions made no bones about their high-regard for Howard. If Tony Blair was Bush's Poodle, then Howard was his pit bull terrier. Australians, in my experience, have a special love for Yanks and are inclined to go the extra mile as our loyal friends. That apparently has its limits and has - at least for a time - come to an end.

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