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I'd be interest to know whether our Editor detected any understanding among Liberal activists of the need for a vibrant, diverse movement to help renew, unite and propel their party forwards?

It has taken conservatives far too long to realise that here in the UK but finally - thanks in large part to the work of ConservativeHome, the TaxPayers' Alliance et al - we are finally seeing the development of a conservative movement in Britain. Surely we need to help ensure that our antipodean friends don't waste ten years in opposition in the same way we have done...

Very sad. George W Bush has lost one of his last Iraq allies.

Those Liberal ads about the unions coming back were like the Tories' "the dead go unburied" party politicals. You can't trade on those scare campaigns forever. You need to adjust your attacks to new realities.

Very good analysis, Ed. Proves that, for Conservatives to win, we need to be compassionate and liberal. There can be no retreat back to the days when we talked about immigration and saving the £!

My Aussie friends/relatives are really rather worried about just what the future Rudd government means both for their energy-costs and energy-security.

Yielding to Kyoto invariably means higher energy-taxes. Rudd's fundamentally anti-nuclear-power stance reduces Australia's future energy-independence.

Time will tell, but I don't see cost-per-Kilowatt-hour or cost-per-gallon coming down in Oz.

My relatives also worry that Rudd will dismantle Australia's recent-years rigorous approach to illegal immigration. The last thing they really want is more Lebanese crime-gangs coming to Australia seeking easy pickings.

Not quite Justin, I think it argues for a balanced message from our Conservatives. But, yes, Cameron is right to take us into new territory.

Some Liberals are aware of the need for a movement, Donal, but not many I fear.

"There can be no retreat back to the days when we talked about immigration and saving the £!"

I don't think that you live on the same planet as the rest of us.

Very sad. George W Bush has lost one of his last Iraq allies

Excellent news! And the sooner we lose Bush the better.

Very good analysis, Ed. Proves that, for Conservatives to win, we need to be compassionate and liberal

Rubbish. What makes you think it proves anything of the sort?

If you want to be liberal go join the Fib Dems.

It's a pity but the Lib campaign lacked the sparkle and cutting edge that it had in 2004. I just hope that Rudd is strong enough to withstand all the union pressures otherwise the prosperity earned over the last 11+ years will disappear.

Ben Brogan on what Howard's defeat might mean for Brown.


We all knew it was going to happen. No surprises here.

Also worth noting, if Mr. Rudd wins a second term as PM I think it will be safe to say that Australia will become a Republic.

If you want to be liberal go join the Fib Dems.

Posted by: Traditional Tory | November 24, 2007 at 15:59

(1) There is no contradiction in being a liberal and a Tory; in fact the Conservative party is the most obvious home for political liberals, and (2) Liberal Democrats are not liberal.

Graeme is absolutely right. Britain's political parties all have completely misleading names. The Liberal Democrat's are not liberal, the Conservative's are not conservative and the Labour party is no longer socialist.

I would argue that the closest thing we have to a socialist party in the mainstream are now the Lib Dems, that the Conservative party is the liberal party and that Labour are the social democratic-conservatives.

I also want to express my great dissapointment for our Australian colleagues and for John Howard. They have run a highly successful government for many years and very much deserved to continue. The task ahead is now to rebuild the party from the grassroots up and take the fight to Labor so that they can be removed at the earliest opportunity.

Clearly was a verdict on Iraq.

About time the Tories got on the right side of the issue!

Howard became just about the worst type of conservative, and i'm glad he lost. I see many parallels with Bush's big government conservatism, which is socially illiberal and fiscally irresponsible. He deceitfully campaigned last time round to keep interest rates low, but he's presided over a commodities boom and used it to spend more like a Chavez than a Bill Clinton. I am glad the Australians are mature enough to have chosen the candidate who has promised to spend less, as I understand it.

If you add to this the hideously negative nature of his campaign, it helps to make you realise just why the republicans in congress are having such a tough time of it, and just how wrong we Tories have been until recently.

You missed one issue which deserves recognition Tim, the rise of the Green vote in this election. Greens voters used their second preference for the ALP and this was enough in some seats to unseat incumbent Coalition MPs.

The savage drought Australian has been suffering had a profound effect and gave credence to environmental concerns.

Rising interest rates didn't help either and may have cost John Howard his own seat, as mortgages rose, though demographics and boundary changes didn't help.

Whilst the ALP were chirruping on about the reforms to industrial relations this was probably not enough to lose the election on its own.

Lastly, given the ALP's need to perform well in Queensland the choice of Brisbane MP Kevin Rudd to replace Beazley was inspired. Like the Democrats picking a Southern Governor Bill Clinton there ALP needed to do well in QLD and Rudd locked them in.

John Howard has a lot to be proud of and Australia has lost a great statesman. Rudd has big shoes to fill.

Also worth noting, if Mr. Rudd wins a second term as PM I think it will be safe to say that Australia will become a Republic.

Then we'll have to disembowel him.

Sad news for me.Apalled to find that most of my wifes relatives who had backed Howard in the past voted for Rudd.
I think you're right Editor,many Australians were simply very tired of Howard.He should have gone a couple of years ago,then his place in history would have been assured.Why do politicians never seem to understand that?
I suspect as with Mrs Thatcher,people will appreciate what Howard did more in retrospect than they do now.

Why do politicians stay in the limelight and eventually 'overstay' their welcome? I thought it would be obvious to anyone who has been in a position of power!

Why, may I ask Josh, must we 'disembowel' Rudd? I think it is perfectly reasonable for Australians to not want a foreign-born head of state who resides in another country. If the Australian public wish to become a Republic, then I say good for them.

Howard would have done better if he had not been so close to Bush. This is another nail in the coffin of neo-conservatism. Cameron should cancel his meeing at the White House asap.

Yielding to Kyoto invariably means higher energy-taxes. Rudd's fundamentally anti-nuclear-power stance reduces Australia's future energy-independence.
Yup. Reality's a bitch aint it? Yammering about intensity based targets and sticking your head in the parched Aussie earth will not address climate change. Action will

Bu-bye Howard. Your pal Bush will join you on the ash heap of history shortly.

"Howard would have done better if he had not been so close to Bush. This is another nail in the coffin of neo-conservatism. Cameron should cancel his meeing at the White House asap" - Howard's end.

I can assure CCHQ that if Cameron meets Bush the Lib Dems will use the picture in every single Focus in the land - to discredit us.

It football terminology, it would be an 'own-goal'!

In, rather.

RIP The Australian Economy.

They've chosen a bunch of ex-union activists with a misguided Kyoto fetish and pathetic immigration "policy" over a solid and firm no-nonsense leader.

The Defeatocrats in the US will be over the moon with this awful result - and we should be too. The ZaNuLabour trolls are already hard at work in this thread.

I do, however, agree with Malcolm Dunn (and others above) that the public can tire of the same face. Maybe if Costello had fought this election then we might have retained an allied government rather than one firmly on the left.


I'm therefore going to be careful here *grin*

Justin, the LibDems will use anything against us and spin it either way to suit their own means. They will say that we aren't respected on the world stage and are held in contempt because the leader of the free world won't meet us ..... and then if we do meet him then they will paint it as you say.

Focus leaflets, eh? Not even worth putting in my bird cage for the budgie to c**p on.

We can't win either way, so let's just see what comes of the meeting.

What possible 'benefits' do you think could emerge from the meeting, Geoff?

Last night was quite a night. I am tired, dehydrated and sunburnt after spending a day in the sun handing out how-to-vote cards and scrutineering for a marginal seat Liberal MP that lost. I missed most of the coverage and am only catching up with some of the results now online.

Tim is spot on with his assessment of why we lost. Fellow readers should know that Tim is very well-wired in to Australian politics and his assessments are very well founded.

I will ponder this today and jot a few thoughts down as Tim mentioned.

The long march back begins...

Why is the Editor so enamored of John Howard? He stayed much too long and his was a big government conservatism.

He should have handed over to Costello in 2004.

Now the Liberals will be out of power for a long, long time. It's 1997 down there.

Justin, I think this is the wrong thread for that debate but will happily meet you on a more appropriate thread to discuss the point as I think we are going to disagree in an interesting and useful conversation.

I agree with Goldie about handing over to Costello earlier and would like to thank Alexander Drake for his hard work despite it being in a losing cause. However Goldie should consider that if there is no candidate with whom he can completely agree - does he prefer a "big government conservative" or a socialist?

The news that another liberal (albeit 'ultra-right' in comparison with Cameron) cynically posing as a Tory has bitten the dust will cheer all true Conservatives.

And the doom of yet another 'Neo-Con' is fantastic news for the entire human race.

Apart from that - who gives a tinkers cuss what goes on in kangaroo-land? As none of my relatives were ever transported, I have no connection with the place whatsoever.

Hooray! One nasty small-minded right-winger fewer in the world, and another supporter of Kyoto in power. Soon Bush will be gone and the Democrats will be in. Things are looking up.

It's the economy stupid!
Howard presided over 8 years of economic growth from 1996-2004 and the electorate rewarding him with a fourth term. He claimed at the time that, Canute like, only he could stop the rising tide of interest rates. Three years and 6 interest rate rises later the electorate has punished him. It's that simple. Either he was lying about his ability to prevent interest rate rises (my personal belief, it's a global phenomenon) or his government was incompetent. Either way the electorate was under no obligation to reward him with a fourth term.

The world moves on and I see that Peter Costello has decided he no longer wants to lead the Liberal Party, having tried none to gracefully to push Howard in the past.

He cites the need for generational change.

Previously John Howard had endorsed Costello as his successor in his concession speech.

Alexander Downer is a possibility but the best bet may be Malcolm Turnbull who clung on in bluechip Wentworth.

The Liberals have a lot of work to do but may now have a chance to gain several states - Victoria, WA?

The Pendulum starts to swing back, but it may be a long road back to power. Unless of course Rudd decides to revisit Scores for celebratory lapdance?

The guy is stuffed. He even lost his own seat. Stop trying to scratch something positive out of Howard's total disaster.

Forget about it. The idea of a 'Conservative International' is a heresy, and all 'Neocons' are a blot on the planet, anyway.

Labour win another terriroty Youy lose. We have now won a massive territory that you you lot wil miss sorely.

The BBC will be ecstatic that an ex employee of theirs has unseated of centre right political leader, as Maxine Mckew has done to John Howard.

Where is your flak jacket now, Johnny?

"It's the economy stupid!"

Not this time it isn't. If it was, Howard would still be there. Truth is, the electorate has been spoilt these last 11 years, and naively assumes that great economic management is nothing special. They'll learn - like the boomers did in the 70s.

Howard didn't promise to keep rates low, he promised to keep them lower than the ALP would - a promise that could never be evaulated. Until now. We'll see. I know lots of friends who are calling the bank to fix their mortgage rates - the banks will be run off their feet over the coming weeks.

Of course the government itself doesn't control interest rates, but it can control pressure on them with its fiscal policy. With a strong committment to surplus budgets and completely retiring federal debt the Liberals had done about as much as they could on interest rates. A pity the state governments also get to borrow money and put their own pressure on rates, not to mention a raging mining sector which alone puts pressure on employment and inflation.

So far we haven't had a wages breakout, but with big unions running the government I expect it will be back to the 70s. Inflation will probably double and rates will hit 13% before they drive the country into a recession. They were spending like it was the fall of Berlin in 1996.

What's with all the "Howard is a neo-con" idiocy anyway? He was nothing of the sort. I know it's fashionable among idiot socialists to think all conservatives are neo-cons because they think it's some brilliant insult, but do try to grow up people. Some people are just conservatives. There's nothing "neo" about it if they've been that way for 50 odd years.

Traditional Tory: I am sorry you talk of "kangaroo-land" in such a dismissive way. If that's your level of debate I'd rather you blogged elsewhere.

Can't you take a joke?

John Howard has been solid on economic and security issues - the traditional bedrock of conservative electoral success. That's no longer enough….conservative parties have to have their own 'x factors' now to woo values voters who care about green and justice issues. David Cameron understands that.

I think this is absolutely right. David Cameron’s commitment to the environment and social justice (the latter particularly shown by his support for traditional marriage as giving children the best chance), along with the more 'core' Conservative themes such as the IHT cut, and more freedom from the state e.g. for schools, seem to strike a chord with voters.

Craig Mc said:
"So far we haven't had a wages breakout,"

well its only Sunday mate - no doubt all the unionists are getting together to start wrecking the economy tomorrow morning. Better get your mortgage fixed before they start! You remind me of all the nellies who screamed how they were going to leave the country if Howard/Bush/Blair was elected but you know...kinda didnt. Bet you dont fix your mortgage either. Easier just to have a little rant on the web and then go and sit quietly back down until matron brings your medicine.


Australia have just drawn Iraq in the World Cup. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!

So does getting on the Kyoto bandwagon mean Australia is going to stop exporting coal to China?

Or does it meant Australia is going to stop burning coal so it can sell more to China?

Howard's end wrote:
Australia have just drawn Iraq in the World Cup.

You may remember the Oceania qualifying round finals of the 1998 World Cup when Australia (coached by Terry Venables) was playing Iraq. Australia was 2-1 with 15 minutes to go. The Iraqis went into a huddle and came back and scored two goals to win. Rumour has it that the coaches passed on a message from Uday Hussein that if they didnt win he would torture the players' relatives.

NB: there may be factual errors in this post due to poor transmission speed for which the author does not take responsibility.

Signing up to Kyoto is initially a political statement that man-made global warming is a serious problem and part of the solution is looking at ways to reduce C02 emissions. Politicians of all stripes are more than capable of reneging on political promises (remember JWH's "non-core" promises of 1996 and "work choices" in 2004?). Nobody suggested at Kyoto that the nations that supply carbon-based fuels should make a unilateral decision to stop selling them. It will require a rare level of global cooperation and political maturity to solve this problem. But, as they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Good on them. This, as far as I am aware, is Conservative Party policy in the UK.

Traditional Tory, I find your glass-half-empty take on life extraordinary but intriguing. Whether you like my country or not is a side question - but I'd have thought a 'family' bond between two Commonwealth Realms would have been attractive to anyone that uses a moniker like yours on this website.

and very sadly Matt Price has died of cancer at the age of 45. Great journo. Fun bloke, surely missed by many in London of either political stripe.

Don't be so depressed:

1.0 The Howard gov't increased gov't spending by 150%. Sound familar?

2.0 Nobody in his gov't ever talked about freedom anywhere except Iraq

3.0 Labour now get to show how 60% CO2 reductions work rather than talking about them

4.0 Read Paul Keating's smh.com.au if you want to see what Labour insiders really think.

""So far we haven't had a wages breakout,"

well its only Sunday mate - no doubt all the unionists are getting together to start wrecking the economy tomorrow morning."

Bobby: I'm including Howard's term (or the boom period if you prefer) in the "so far". Even I'm not expecting Rudd to screw things up before Monday morning. Wednesday at the earliest ;-).

Do you want to bet I won't be fixing my rates? How much?

I have many friends who voted Labor this time (not me, though). I'm convinced the Coalition lost because of 'Work Choices', their policy to put workers on AWAs (Australian Workplace Agreements). The first draft of the legislation was excessively harsh -- even John Howard conceded that -- and the amended version simply couldn't dissipate the outrage.

Mr Howard was undone by the single most libertarian policy of his government. A lesson there for those fools who think he 'wasn't conservative [read: libertarian] enough' and dream of a more libertarian conservatism that can prevail at the polls.

I think the many business owners who leapt on the opportunity to put their workers on harshly disadvantageous contracts took Mr Howard's Gov't, and the country, by surprise.

This is a necessary reminder to all conservatives that the business world is not dominated by true blue British conservative men of honour, and that the libertarian blindness to the worst aspects of human nature is a failing flaw.

Kip: I'm with you there.

Pretty much spot on with your analysis, Tim.

This wasn't a NuLab-style revolution as we saw in 1997. Just a very wealthy and complacent electorate grown tired of the grey man. Change for change's sake.

Rudd looks utterly harmless and likeable. He is obviously no lefty radical but a devout Christian of the centre ground. It will be interesting to see if he can keep the dinosaurs in his party under wraps.

One thing relevant for British Tories - 'compassionate', 'caring' politics is absolutely essential. Ignore it at your peril! The one comment i heard everywhere was 'we just want to be a bit nicer and more liked'.

Interesting to see Alan Milburn's connection with Rudd's campaign. He's definitely the man to watch as Brown's premiership stumbles.

"It will be interesting to see if he can keep the dinosaurs in his party under wraps."

Pommygranate: There's the problem - the ALP is like Jurassic Park. All it will take is one power failure on Rudd's part and the whole show will fall apart.

Traditional Tory, I find your glass-half-empty take on life extraordinary but intriguing. Whether you like my country or not is a side question - but I'd have thought a 'family' bond between two Commonwealth Realms would have been attractive to anyone that uses a moniker like yours on this website.

Not really Alexander. I regard such sentimentalism as very much a product of the 'Whig' heresy that has caused so much damage to England over the centuries, and continues to do so.

Thats why the glass here is a good deal more than half empty.

However, I'm intrigued to note that your new Premier intends to re-explore Australia's relationship with the House of Guelph/Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

I would welcome a similar move here.

Oh b@@@@r. One less place to escape to....

(pours stiff drink. Rustles through atlas looking for plan B....)

Craig Mc - I will happily donate £10 to the charity of your choice if you fix your mortgage rate this week.

Now in order to prove you have done so I will need you to post your full name, account number, password etc so I can verify with your bank.

There has been a certain element of hero worship of John Howard from elements on this site - often a code for attacking Cameron as he is so different. I therefore cannot help a small smile as the re-writing of history that will now go on about why he "stayed on too long", "had become too limited/inconsistent" etc, often I am sure coming from the people who only a few days or weeks ago regarded him as heroic.

He was a successful Conservative leader who won 4 elections. The possible consequences of his defeat by a Republican (albeit one who might take global warming more seriously) is sad for Monarchists like myself. But let's hear an end to any idea that John Howard was some sort of model for the way our politics should go here (except 4 wins on the trot of course). Message to Cameron: if you win 4 elections, think carefully about standing down before the 5th!!

Bobby: shouldn't you be wagering in Nigerian Naira?

End of the week? How quick do you think banks are? I'll have it done by mid-December. I've already ticked off the first box today. I'm sure the economy will hold together a few weeks longer despite the crushing dead weight of the ALP.

Why is it so hard to believe that people might fix their interest rates? As I've said elsewhere, even the lefties I know have done it.

BTW, this would be my preferred charity.

I have to say I'm puzzled by Traditional Tory's stance, because I would have thought that John Howard is the type of Conservative who would most appeal to him.

Craig Mc. Here is some pro bono financial advice. When you fix your home loan you are making a bet that interest rates are going to rise faster than the professional money markets do. I see St.George are currently offering 8.34% for 1,2,3,4 fixed home loans. Their standard variable rate is 8.57% so these would seem to be good deal. But wait! The swap curve is similarly flat to slightly downward sloping. When one factors in the risk-premia this means that the money markets believe that interest rates are going to drop in the next 3 years. You are of course entitled to believe that you are better at guessing future interest rates than the pros but a word of warning: those hard-headed bankers don't let sentiment cloud their judgement. Most of them would have voted Liberal but they still believe that interest rates will fall. Perhaps you are allowing your disappointment at the election result to cloud your judgement. If you fix now you might find yourself paying 8.34% when the variable rate has fallen to below 7.5%.

Quick question: are you going to fix for 3 years or 5 years? 3 years if you believe that Labor will get kicked out after one term.

Craig Mc - LOL on the choice of charity. Good to see your sense of humour is returning after the dark night of the soul that Saturday must have been.

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