August 15, 2010

ALL POLITICS IN THE ANGLOSPHERE IS JUST REVERSION TO THE THIRD WAY NORM:

Pragmatic Abbott embraces mentor's philosophies (Paul Kelly, 8/11/10, The Australian)

The agenda Abbott advanced in Sunday's policy speech was a shock to many Tony believers and testifies to his sheer pragmatism in ambition. He has ditched his enshrined goal of more industrial relations reform. He is keeping Ken Henry as Treasury secretary and praises his ability. He wants a 12-month process to draft a tax reform agenda based on Henry's report. He offers an extravagant parental leave scheme for working women but still no new scheme for stay-at-home mothers.

The first foreign leader he will contact is not President Obama but the president of Nauru. The first nation this champion of the Anglosphere will visit is Indonesia. Abbott was once seen as a big spender but his priority now is discharging the debt, not new grand plans. Long a critic of state governments, he shuns any centralisation agenda. And he offers no changes on divorce or abortion for his old friends.

All such positions, again, are easily understood -- they fit into an Abbott agenda for office, as distinct from book writing, media interviews, confessional ruminations, ideological posturing and rank self-indulgence, all activities at which Abbott has excelled.

According to Peter Costello the young Abbott saw himself as a Don Quixote figure, "ready to take on lost causes and fight for great principles", with a penchant for "grandiose plans for public expenditure". But Abbott's 2010 agenda is devoid of either romance or great principles.

His policy agenda for office is Liberal orthodox, geared to an era of fiscal restraint and bears the stamp of his absolute mentor, John Howard.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at August 15, 2010 8:17 AM
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