Friday, January 19, 2007

Is John Howard too old for the job?

There has been a bit of an outcry about John Howard's little holiday in Broome earlier in the week, which I think Tim Dunlop summed it up best. Essentially, Tim points out that this episode should be a little worrying for members of Liberal party as it displays a lapse in political judgement.

Over at LP, Mark wrote an interesting piece yesterday about the potential consequences for the Liberal Party of Howard losing the election later this year. He pointed to the potentially massive leadership vacuum and a complete lack of policy clarity that that would be exposed. On that thread I commented that I think that if the the Libs should lose then they should take the opportunity to promote generational change by backing someone like Malcolm Turnball to be the new leader.

This highlighted to me an interesting question. How stable will the Liberal Party leadership be if they win the election? They will be stuck with a leader that will be looking increasingly old against a shadow cabinet from the next generation,  which will be rapidly gaining political experience. If they win, and they persist with Howard, then they will in all likelihood lose the following election and find themselves in opposition for an extremely long time. Essentially, they will have to ditch Howard if they win.

This point was raised by Tim Dunlop during the leadership spat between Costello and Howard last July. As Tim said, Howard is a lame duck. If he isn't too old for the job now he will be by 2010. A point surely not lost by the Labor Party. Labor has done its time in the wilderness, they have to demonstrate to the electorate that it's time for the Liberal Party to do the same.