Tim Blair


New Criterion



Tuesday, June 08, 2004

President Bush was just being straight with the press when he described Mark Latham's policy of cut and run as "disastrous", according to Australia's GG, Michael Jeffrey.

I blame this trend to vice-regal political commentary on Tasmania's gubernatorial gab-mouth, Richard Butler, who was recently told by Premier Lennon to put a cork in it, after describing the Bush administration as "the most highly nationalistic and self-centred government we have known" that would "beat the living daylights" out of those it didn't like.

If you can turn Butler's utterances into comprehensible statements you can decide whether they are appropriate for a Governor, or not.

Butler now sees dark conspiracies swirling about him. People in Canberra were "interested in bringing me down" he told the Sun-Herald last Sunday. A drawbridge will soon be added to the vice-regal castle in Hobart, since Butler has "found living in the fishbowl ... a bit tiresome".

Politics abhors a vacuum, and perhaps Jeffrey has been dragged into commentary by this super-human force.

His Tasmaniac Excellency wants to move out of the constitutional restraints of his office, but he doesn't want the public looking in.

When they do, they see the $50 000 it cost to send him to Mary Donaldson's party in Copenhagen, his moving into the royal suite in the mansion and his distaste for the trivialities that come with the job of community representation.

Not a pretty picture. I doubt that Michael Jeffrey really wants to emulate Richard Butler.