Laughter mingled with disbelief was the sound emanating from the hallowed halls of RG Casey House – headquarters of the crack and ever so exclusive Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – this morning when The Australian landed on myriad desks.

Janet Albrechtsen’s cloying essay on Alexander Downer had our Mole, among others, scratching their collective heads, wondering if the piece was really about the former minister or somebody else and our Janet had got the names mixed. Said Mole: “it’s hard to know where to begin mate” – he now feels at ease calling another bloke mate since the advent of Kevin 07 –“poor old Alex; he just didn’t get it while he was here. His manner may have worked in Whitehall a few centuries ago but it sure had no place in contemporary Australia.” As a senior officer, Mole kept an eye on Alexander and he claims as the years dragged on he couldn’t believe he was so stupid.

“I guess the job got to him and he started to believe his own PR and Washington’s never ending cables telling him what a good guy he was didn’t help,” said Crikey’s insider.

Mole claims the UN may have got names mixed up when they courted Downer for the Cyprus gig. This bloke, he said, was all for going into Iraq knowing it wouldn’t work; he’d nuke Tehran if he had his way and he’s comfortable with Israel’s attitude to the Middle East. Cyprus has been a festering sore for decades and Downer is not the answer. We wonder why Rudd was so quick to tell the UN that Alex is the man for the job.

Mole said the most offensive and unbelievable Albrechstens were: the headline Warrior Statesman (I leapt to JA’s defence here, blame the subs for that one I told him), her description of him as a towering figure of the parliament of the past two decades (where, asked Mole, was she when he was Opposition leader?). But, said our informant, Downer’s extreme right wing views were accentuated when, unbelievably, he slapped Washington’s bottom for removing Pyongyang from the list of states sponsoring terrorism. He just doesn’t get it. We believe Bush is rewriting his own history and wants to look sane and moderate before Obama takes over. Alexander won’t be getting any US brownie points for that one.

The gospel according to Mole is interesting. Budget cuts not withstanding, diplomats in DFAT are happy with Rudd and see him restoring the dignity which was trashed by John Howard and Downer in their subservience to Washington.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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