Tim Blair


New Criterion



Monday, April 05, 2004
IT HAS TAKEN LONGER THAN I EXPECTED for Tasmania's Governor, Richard Butler, to demonstrate the folly of appointing a man with frustrated political ambitions to a vice-regal post.

Butler has now disgraced himself and weakened the position he holds by engaging in partisan political commentary:

The outspoken former United Nations weapons inspector was gagged by Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon last week after reportedly branding the United States administration highly nationalistic and self-centred.

To confirm the contempt he has for both the formal, umpire's role of his office, and for the recently popular role of Governors as everybody's uncle, Butler re-asserted his right to be a player in the political system over which he exercises enormous, and unelected, power.

Mr Butler said he did not expect people would always agree with him or vice-versa. "But I passionately believe that the public discourse is crucial to a democracy and I will participate in it," he said.

What are the odds that Butler will be the first to make the transition from Governor to overt political candidate? To date, careers have often moved in the opposite direction, so this would be a remarkable precedent.

I wonder what party Butler should stand for?