A few moments ago, Kevin Rudd conceded, so, in a day or two, after the usual prompt eviction that occurs under the Westminster system, Tony Abbott will become Australia’s Prime Minister. I’d like to second John O’Sullivan’s wise words on Mr Abbott’s conservatism: we’re not talking about a Cameronesque trimmer and opportunist here.*
If you’re interested, here’s me with the new Aussie PM (and Britain’s Dan Hannan) in Melbourne last year. I was the warm-up act, so, after I’d chilled down the room with my usual doom-mongering, it fell to the then Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition to restore jollity and optimism, which he did brilliantly – and extemporaneously. Abbott has a confident swagger when he walks up to a podium – he enjoys the rough and tumble of politics, and he’s a natural at it. I remember wishing the GOP could produce a few more chaps like that, instead of risk-averse over-managed money guys who can afford to buy up the previous loser’s most expensive consultants.
But I digress. Here’s the campaign video of Bill Glasson, the world’s second most famous political ophthalmologist (after Bashar Assad), who ran against outgoing PM Kevin Rudd by channeling Les Miz. My old pal Julie Bishop, Australia’s new Deputy Prime Minister, has a stirring, emotionally harrowing cameo.
*(although, even by that dismal standard, it’s worth noting that Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Britain now all have prime ministers to the right of the US president. That’s a kind of American exceptionalism the world could do without.)