I can't link to this because I heard it on the radio and can't even remember on which program, but two things struck me about the Prime Minister's response to the vote on yesterday's RU486 Bill.
It was sad, he said, to see a majority handball the decision-making process to someone else 'because it was too hard'.
*Gasps at unmitigated rodentitude, turns up radio*
*Thinks: No, PM, it's by no means too hard. They made a decision that the decision should be made by experts in the field. It's not called bailing out. It's called intelligence. The Libs who voted in favour of the Bill must be spitting nails at this naked insult from their leader.*
But wait, there's more; then it got worse. Parliament, said the PM, should have retained power over this decision because, and I'm fairly sure I quote, 'We are as expert as anybody else.'
The really frightening thing is that I think he truly believes this. All his public life, Howard has been profoundly anti-intellectual in word and deed, and I always thought it was because scholarship in politics, philosophy and history was a threat to his belief system, but the real reason has finally dawned on me. It's that strutting vanity of a certain kind of right-winger, usually a man, who can't bear to think that someone else might be better than he is at anything -- combined with the insecurity of knowing that there are some kinds of knowledge he simply does not have and will never be equipped to acquire. And what it produces is such truly extraordinary conclusions as 'Just because you've studied this subject for decades and written books about it, it doesn't mean you know more about it than I do, so nyerdy nyer.'
This is a common enough right-wing bleat. But you don't expect to hear it from the bloke in charge of the country.