Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A CONFUSION OF CONTRADICTIONS (Spectator leader March 10)

“It’s very unhealthy for you to go back and look at things I said previously. You’ll only get confused with contradictions,” our new Foreign Minister said, in what sounded like bizarre medical advice or a mafia-style threat.

''(I) have to have one view and that's the official view of the government. The views I now have will be formed by discussions with professional diplomats,” he claimed; which is a shame, because many of his personal views are to be commended. We have previously praised him for his balanced approach to China and America. His friendship with Israel is to be applauded, as is his tactless but accurate observation of the Arab world as “politically retarded.” But if he abandons these insights and convictions, what qualifies him for the job?

The answer is his “communications skills.” Apparently, the role of Foreign Minister is essentially a media one, with the hard, political decisions being left to (dare we say it?) a “faceless” group of bureaucrats and party machine men.

Bob Carr has always been an enigma. And a survivor. The contradictions aren’t only in what he has written and said. Preaching blue-collar values he was more than happy to snaffle up a job at Macquarie Bank. Having decimated the “second home” market in NSW, he promptly bought himself a holiday house in New Zealand, out of reach of his own punitive taxes. A popular Premier, he shirked the tough infrastructure decisions, whilst boasting of creating endless National Parks. His greatest achievement, arguably, was knowing when to jump - just before the public realized the hull of the good ship NSW was full of holes.

Let’s hope he brings his acute sense of timing to helping solve some of the confusing contradictions he faces in his latest incarnation.

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