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Howard haters remind us of ex-PM’s integrity and rationality


The angry leftist's throwing of his own shoes at the calm and well-mannered former PM left few in doubt that reason was on Howard's side.


It was good to see John Howard last night on Q&A, in spite of the controversies which Iain and Sockpuppet have mentioned, because it was powerful reminder of how logical and consistent the man who was our Prime Minister only three years ago was and is.

Unsurprisingly, Howard has not wavered in any of his beliefs. Throughout the session, he was defending his position on controversial issues such as asylum seekers, the Iraq War, Children Overboard and the leadership dispute with Peter Costello. The steadfastness of his beliefs was a refreshing contrast to the numerous inconsistencies of the views of Rudd, Gillard, Abbott et al, particularly on the issue of climate change.

The leftist who threw his shoes at Howard did himself and everyone else a huge disservice. After asking Howard a hostile question on Iraq and then interjecting when Howard gave his reply, the young man confirmed that he could not match Howard in rational debate by resorting to throwing his Doc Martens at the former PM. It may be that the young leftist comes to the realisation in a few years that Howard has a fairly good Prime Minister, and may regret making such a fool of himself on national TV.

David Hicks (who has recently published his own book) made a surprise appearance to ask Howard about whether his incarceration without charge and whether he was treated humanely. Howard immediately pointed out that it was great that Hicks had the opportunity to ask such questions in public, in sharp contrast to the regime that Hicks supported in Afghanistan. Howard then went on to talk about how Hicks was fighting for a foreign enemy, and had therefore betrayed his country, as well as the important fact that Hicks pleaded guilty to materially supporting terrorism.

On the apology, Howard repeated his opposition to saying sorry on the grounds that to say sorry is to accept responsibility for some occurrence, when Howard was never personally responsible for the Stolen Generations. The former PM also emphasised the importance of ‘practical reconciliation’ in truly assisting Australia’s original inhabitants.

A question about Children Overboard didn’t faze the ex-PM, who pointed out that he was advised that there were children overboard, and it was the advice that was later proven wrong. On Iraq, Howard pointed out that the intelligence at the time suggested Saddam did have WMDs and argued that in any event, the importance of the US alliance and the evilness of the regime there meant that Australia’s participation was correct.

Howard also emphasised the economic achievements of his government, although he also gave Labor credit for its achievements during the Hawke/Keating years. He repeated his view that Kevin Rudd would have won the recent federal election and stated that whilst Rudd was a disappointing PM, it was too early to judge Julia Gillard’s performance.

In short, it was the return of the Howard of old. A politician who was forthright and unwavering in his beliefs and who was able to explain his position logically and with great clarity. A man whose views are reasonable and fair, and whose manners are modest, in sharp contrast to the angry leftists who loudly hated him throughout his Prime Ministership, and judging by last night’s session, still harbour an intense dislike of the man who advocated and introduced conservative policies throughout his political career. In short, it was a reminder that Howard was and is in a different league to the politicians who have succeeded him in Parliament.


  1. Ray Dixon says:

    Leon, I reckon you could have covered all this by commenting in the earlier post on the same topic by SockPuppet. As for Howard sticking to his beliefs, you are right, the man has never changed; he’s yesterday’s man and his beliefs have always been out of date. Just because he’s steadfast in those beliefs does not make him right. In fact it inevitably must mean he’s more often wrong – witness the war in Iraq. Weapons of mass destruction indeed – what a load of crap.

    As for the shoe thrower, the only leftists I’ve noticed giving support to it (or failing to condemn it) are Jeremy Sear & Bridgit Gread. Figures.

  2. Toaf says:

    Ray, Leon’s a far better writer than “Sockpuppet” so he’s more than entitled to put his own views in a separate post. What’s your problem?

    By contrast, “Sockpuppet” could have condensed her post to 140 characters at tweeted it, just like her heart-throb Bridges did.

    As for “failing to condemn” this individual’s behaviour, I’m a “leftist” (or so everyone on the interwebs tells me) and I haven’t condemned anything. So what?

  3. Matt says:

    Unwavering because ignorance is simple but the truth is complex, ignorance is bliss as is denial.

  4. Toaf says:

    Make that, “and tweeted it”.

  5. Ray Dixon says:

    Hi Toaf, I agree that Leon has expanded on SockPuppet’s post but that doesn’t alter my opinion that he could have done so in the first post. I don’t have a “problem” with it, just noting that Leon’s post is somewhat a duplication. And whether or not he’s a better writer is really beside the point. I’m not sure why you have a problem with me having an opinion on that.

    As for my “failing to condemn” statement, I agree that was badly put. Just because someone doesn’t condemn something doesn’t mean they approve of it. What I meant was this: some comments about the incident seemed to support the shoe-thrower and (in those comments) the author had ALSO failed to condemn him.

  6. Jason says:

    Interesting post, Leon. Thanks.

  7. Iain Hall says:

    You get quality here at the Sandpit Jason 😉

  8. Yes Iain, you’re lucky to have Leon here to raise the standard of discussion.

  9. Iain Hall says:

    Welcome to my blog Dave
    It goes like this:
    My blogging = good
    My blogging + Socky = double Good
    My blogging + Socky + Leon = Double Plus good


  10. Ray Dixon says:

    I think Jason & Dave might be querying the authorship of the piece, Iain. Not that I’ve seen it elsewhere.

  11. Jason says:

    No, Ray, I’m not doubting that this written by Leon at all.

  12. Ray Dixon says:

    “Querying the authorship” and “doubting” he wrote it would seem to be the same thing, Jason. So who do you think wrote it?

  13. I’m sure Leon wrote the piece Ray, it’s in the same style as his old blog.

    The point I was making is that it’s the first worthwhile post that anyone’s pointed me to here in quite some time, especially compared to the previous one about this incident from cowards’ corner.

  14. Jason says:

    Ray, I’m not sure what you’re asking me. I have no doubt Leon is the author of this piece. Why would I have any reason to think otherwise?

  15. Ray Dixon says:

    I misunderstood Jason’s comment – he’s “not doubting” the authorship. No misunderstanding Dave’s.

  16. Iain Hall says:

    I am assuming that you are referring to Socky’s post on the subject so:
    Are you suggesting that writing under a pseudonym is wrong or in some sense an act lacking courage?

  17. Ray Dixon says:

    Sorry Jason, I presumed your initial comment was suggesting that. I was wrong.

    Iain, I’m a bit perplexed by Dave’s comment too and the only thing I can think of is that he’s upset that SockPuppet has previously (a while ago) had a dig at PP.

  18. Iain Hall says:

    It would seem So Ray

  19. Ray Dixon says:

    It was a strange thing to say. Btw, when PP writes its first “worthwhile” post just point me at it.

  20. Leon Bertrand says:

    Thanks for the positive comments folks. These are the nicest things said about me by left-wing bloggers to date. Maybe it helps that I haven’t stirred the hornest’s nest so to speak.

    In relation to the shoe-thrower, I think that he is the perfect symbol of the far left during the Howard years. As much as Howard haters would howl and chest-beat about Howard with protests and foaming from the mouth, the silent majority would agree with Howard on issues such as refugees, marriage, drugs, toughness on terrorism and the indigenous intervention. And by expressing such hysterical hatred for Howard and sometimes even committing criminal offences, the silent majority would hold contempt for such types and keep supporting the more logical and calm Howard.

  21. Iain Hall says:

    Exactly Ray

    Thanks for the post Leon you saved me the trouble of actually having to watch the show on line (as I missed it last night)

  22. Sorry Iain, a typo seems to have caused the confusion. I meant “coward’s corner” not “cowards’ corner”.

  23. Iain Hall says:

    I am still none the wiser about what you actually mean in that comment Dave

  24. Ray Dixon says:

    Dave, the typo didn’t cause any confusion. But if there’s something you want to say ….

  25. Lewis A says:

    Sorry I’m confused is Ray Sockpuppet?

  26. Ray Dixon says:

    It must have been the typo that “confused” you Lewis.

  27. Ray Dixon says:

    Aww, I ‘ll make a deal with you Lewis: You tell us your real name, address, etc (just like you can click through to mine) and I’ll answer your question.

  28. Lewis A says:

    Its just that Ray and Sockpuppet seem to always think the same thing. This blog is weird and not weird in a good way. You all must be pretty bored.

  29. Ray Dixon says:

    They’re out & about today, Iain. Must be the shoe-throwing thing that stirred them up.

  30. Iain Hall says:

    Yep Ray there are some things that really get the Jungle drums singing.

  31. Iain Hall says:

    If you don’t like it then what are you doing here?

  32. Ray Dixon says:

    “Ray and Sockpuppet seem to always think the same thing”

    Damn, outed by a real Sherlock! But he’s wrong, I HATE pork.

  33. Iain Hall says:

    Yeah Ray they keep trying it on don’t they 🙄

  34. Ray Dixon says:

    “They” will believe whatever “they” want to believe, Iain. The hypocrisy is amazing though – people using aliases (maliciously in many cases) accusing me of using one for parody. Wow! Go figure.

  35. […] a Pure Poison Petulance author thought it was “worthwhile” coming over here to make the following condescending comment  clearly aimed at yours truly:  The point I was making is that it’s the first worthwhile post […]

  36. PKD says:

    On Iraq, Howard pointed out that the intelligence at the time suggested Saddam did have WMDs and argued that in any event, the importance of the US alliance and the evilness of the regime there meant that Australia’s participation was correct.

    Back OT it is remarkable how Howard will concoct any cock-eyed story to justify the war in Iraq. Even if it was justifiable (which we will leave aside for now) the complete lack of any planning for a post-Saddam country got the west bogged down in an open ended conflict for years, causing the deaths of over 100000 civilians (conservatively), lost focus on Afghanistan and Iran which has particularly gained from this – not least as the almost inevitable transition to a pro Iran Shiite governemnt is pretty much complete.

    For being one of the main protagonists responsible for pursuing the war, Howard deserves his place in infamy. And if it does turn out he deliberately cooked the evidence up along with Bush and Blair, he’ll deserve his day in the Hague too…

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