There is a long way to go, but it appears that everyone has written off John Major’s chances of winning the next British election. Tony Blair, elected Labour leader last June after the death of John Smith, is doing everything right.
From the forests of the Northern Tableland to the wilderness of mirrors in the NSW Legislative Assembly, Bob Carr has trekked all over the state in search of political mileage.
Archbishop James Carroll left no memoirs, generally refused interviews with historians and was very guarded about what he said about his role in some of the significant events in the ALP’s and Australia’s political history.
John Howard will be tougher, more cunning, and intellectually miles ahead of his former leader, Alexander Downer. Hence he will be a more formidable presence in the parliament and will be, at least in the short term, a heartening force for Liberals and their supporters. ‘But can he win the next election?’ is the question that matters.
The NSW State election is a yawn. Both parties are struggling to excite the electorate. Really struggling. A note of hysteria is sounding in the rhetoric and propaganda in the campaign. This is especially so with respect to law and order. It is not certain, however, whether the electorate is paying much attention.
Conventional wisdom suggests governments lose elections rather than oppositions winning them. So, in considering whether John Fahey deserves to lose, it might be useful to dwell on the merits of his team, the “Fahey bunch”, as they are called in the ALP election jingle.
On election night an ebullient, relieved Bob Carr looked every bit the victor. John Fahey looked like he felt – exhausted and disappointed at the prospect of defeat.
Is Bob Carr just kite flying or is he serious about a revamp of federal-State powers? Last weekend the new NSW Premier agreed with the proposition that the States were becoming like branch offices of the Federal government.
It is remarkable how a former Minister with a poor understanding of the personalities and factions in the ALP, nonetheless could write the most perceptive account of Labor in power over the past decade.