Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hostage to Fortune

If Clark pushes Emissions Trading through the House with Peters' votes using the figleaf of a Privileges Committee inquiry she creates two enormous hostages to fortune.

The historical view of her Government will be strongly coloured by the eventual seriousness of the charges against Peters and the outcome of the Privileges Committee and SFO inquiries. She will also need the ETS to be an enormous success. If there are too many unintended consequences she will stand accused of driving through the most thoroughgoing and radical economic reform since the first term of the Bolger government without proper care and due process. The more so if it emerges that Clark's support for Peters keeping his job has the explicit quid pro quo of Peters' support for the ETS.

Like Prime Minister Howard in Australia she could find her standing much diminished by failing to leave politics on her own terms and by seeming at the end more interested in retaining power than in exercising it wisely.

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