Peter Garrett

I have no time for Garrett who is reliving the political spotlight in a role of a tragedian...but what needs to be pointed out is how far Howard's arrogance has cost him despite the intransigent timidity of the ALP.

Howard's attack on Sen. Barack Obama backfired big time for him because the backlash from the US Democrat senator exposed the Coalition's many contradictions on Iraq-- contradictions that have not been explored by the ALP...ever or the media here..ever. Howard completely misread the degree of antiwar sentiment that exists in the US and how that is being cynically harnessed by the Dems.

For Howard to admit that Australia could be in Iraq for ages is a terrible admission. Then all this collapse of consensus around David Hicks...I guess the best that Howard could hope for is what comfort could be culled from this US base toadying by the ALP.

Superb comic soap opera is it not?

But we also need to note that it was in New Zealand with a NZ press corps asking the questions that Howard was put under such pressure.

This government's EXTREME arrogance will be its undoing and the supremely clear run it has had is becoming unstuck big time. What's interesting is that Labor recognizes this and has ceased to lead forth with any left gestures --no doubt hoping, quite rightly in my estimation, that Howard will lose the next election rather than it being their task to try to actively 'win' it. That's the key transition from Kimbo
to Rudd . People forget that changes in government --like all changes -- have a qualitative threshold about them so that the change, when it comes, is multi factorial and as far as I can see the Howard regime is determined to commit suicide by not trimming its sails. All the glitter and gloss is falling away as the smug arrogance takes over.

We have to ask ourselves what can the Coalition now offer the electorate and business that is preferable to that on offer from Rudd's ALP? A new IR agenda? Work Choices aren't consolidated yet. Permanent commitment to the US alliance? Roaring jingoism?... The problem is going to be to differentiate the ALP from the Coalition in the final instance because what Labor will RUN ON will be the peripheral stuff so that they aren't so committed to changing the core things -- like-- Work Choices.IF Labor really wanted to WIN this upcoming election it would be aggressively fighting for the core issues -- like the war, Work Choices,etc but it isn't.

So of course Garrett is going to back US bases.The ALP's problem nonetheless will have to be one of coming up with a different economic plan than Howard's and, in reality, that is unlikely to happen. Quite simply: why would they? They won't have to.Just look at the states...ALP a everyone of them and they've all got on with Howard economics very nicely indeed.