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Morrison is yet to sink to Howard’s level

Crikey readers on what the legacy of John Howard means for Scott Morrison.

John Howard Iraq War
(Image: AAP/David Moir)

Is Scott Morrison’s prime ministership so far a half-baked copy of John Howard’s? While Crikey readers were eager as ever to dissect the problems of PMs past and present, the consensus was actually that Morrison is yet to prove he can sink as low as Howard. However, readers are not holding their breath for the alternative.

On John Howard and Scott Morrison

Patrick Brosnan writes: I agree with the general thesis that Morrison is our weakest PM from an intellectual, policy or principles standpoint in many decades, possibly ever. However Howard, like all conservative politicians, had to make increasingly frequent use of the populist playbook (tax cuts for everyone, bash the poor) because conservatism naturally restricts your policy scope, so what else are you going to do?

Ian Farquhar writes: It’s not a tribute act, because by nature a tribute act is respectful. This is just a pre-packaged poor facsimile from a fourth rate marketer. But that’s not necessarily a terrible thing, as John Howard was an unmitigated disaster as a prime minister. As has been widely noted elsewhere, the overwhelming majority of serious problems facing Australian society had their roots or were significantly worsened by Howard’s government. Sadly, the deification of Howard is reminiscent of American attitudes to Reagan and just as sad. Every time I hear “elder statesman John Howard” I want to vomit.

Don Stokes writes: I wish I could agree. John Howard succeeded by appealing to xenophobia and the self interest of the middle and upper classes, and by making ordinary Australians immune to compassion. There may be a few differences, but Scomo has refined the strategy if anything, and he looks to be dragging the ALP further to the right than Howard did as an encore.

Janet Nixon writes: Ah yes, non-core promises, truth overboard, innovative measures to disempower unions, automatic compliance with US foreign policy, resentment/suspicion of land rights, the unemployed, refugees, etc. The marvellous John Howard’s works can be seen as precursors of what PM Morrison is set to deliver, namely poverty for the many and  increased material wealth for a few. No doubt evangelists view the latter as appropriate sanctification of Australia’s blessed elect…

Matt Hrkac writes: He may have been the most successful Liberal leader, but Howard is the worst prime minister this country has ever had. Not even Tony Abbott topped him, and Scott Morrison won’t top him either. Howard is by far the worst by virtue that people still, after all these years, think he did good by them (though the worship of Bob Hawke is arguably worse, given his role in screwing over workers) when in fact he was screwing people over and throwing a whole lot of soft nationalistic jingoism into the toxic stew for good measure (Tampa affair, war in Iraq and Afghanistan). These same people know that Abbott screwed them over and given time, they’ll soon see that Morrison is screwing them over too.

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Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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