Howard seen from the Left

Neale Blewett reviews Robert Manne’s vol­ume The Howard Years bq. Near­ly every eval­u­a­tion comes down on the neg­a­tive side. It is, of course, an éli­tist view: the con­trib­u­tors are all emi­nent fig­ures in their fields of exper­tise. Giv­en the Abbot­t­ian view of élites, this may, for some, be suf­fi­cient rea­son to dis­miss the book. But for those not mis­led in this way, these essays pro­vide an absorb­ing and sober­ing assess­ment of our present rulers. (“Aus­tralian Book Review”:http://home.vicnet.net.au/~abr/March04/Blewett.htm) The prin­ci­pal line of crit­i­cism through the dif­fer­ent essays is that the Howard’s prag­mat­ic con­ser­v­a­tive gov­ern­ment has secured pow­er with­out ideals or even ideas. Blewett con­cludes, how­ev­er, that Manne paints—perhaps unwillingly—a pic­ture of a ‘for­mi­da­ble polit­i­cal strate­gist’.

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