Think of him as the Tea Partier from Down Under. John Howard, the second-longest-serving prime minister in Australian history and leader of the Liberal (in American terms, read Conservative) party to victory in four successive elections, was the son of an independent-filling-station owner in a Sydney suburb. One day, the local government council demanded that Lyall Howard move his pumps from the roadside to make room for a traffic light. The move ruined Howard’s business. The light wasn’t installed for a decade.
“This incident reinforced the feeling in my family that governments, generally speaking, weren’t all that sympathetic to small business,” John Howard writes in his autobiography. “Big companies could look after themselves and unions were strong, but the little bloke got squeezed.”