Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Rudd's ETS retreat not all good news for Libs

Ray Evans spells outs his concern about Rudd's ETS retreat and implications for Turnbull.

The big news of course is PM Rudd's retreat on what he called the greatest moral challenge of our time. Alan Moran's piece in today's Australian is a marvellous summary.

The news is not all good however. I have always maintained that Rudd's strategy was to inveigle the Liberal Party into supporting a bipartisan policy, and Minister Penny Wong is now inviting Malcolm Turnbull to negotiate such a package. But what is much worse, and frightening, is the spectacle of business organisations, notably the BCA, but also the AIG and ACCI putting pressure on the Liberal Party to agree to a deal of this kind - so as to provide "certainty".

I am reminded by this behaviour of Edmund Burke's response to the Duke of Bedford who attacked him for accepting a pension from the Crown after many years of extraordinary public service. The Duke of Beford was one of the richest men of England and was also a supporter of the French Revolutionaries. At the end of a magnificent defence of his public life Burke summarised the stupidity of the Dule's position in this memorable comparison of an ox carcass on display in a butcher's shop in Charing Cross Rd.

They (the French revolutionaries) will not care a rush whether his coat is long or short; whether the colour be purple or blue and buff.

They will not trouble their heads with what part of his head, his hair is cut from; and they will look with equal respect on a tonsure and a crop. Their only question will be that of their legislative butchers, how he cuts up? how he tallows in the caul, or on the kidneys?

Is it not a singular phenomenon that whilst the 'sans-culotte' carcass butchers and the philosophers of the shambles are pricking their dotted lines upon his hide, and like the print of the poor ox that we see at the shop windows at Charing Cross, alive as he is and thinking no harm in the world, he is divided into rumps, and sirloins, and briskets, and into all sorts of pieces for roasting, boiling, and stewing, that all the while they are measuring him, his Grace (the Duke of Bedford) is measuring me; is invidiously comparing the bounty of the Crown with the deserts of the defender of his order, and in the same moment fawning on those who have the knife half out of the sheath—poor innocent!

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