Former Prime Ministers tend to start talking sense, or at least with sincerity, once unconstrained by the party machine. Not so John Howard, who uses his own biography to run the Liberal line on global warming.
With his familiar populist rhetoric, he tries to paint the carbon price as a GST-like impost on consumption: “People know, deep down, that it will cost them”. Howard, on the other hand, is well aware it won’t. Equally disingenuous is his folksy line that accepting scientific conclusions “challenges the common sense of the average citizen”. So it should: science is not about “common sense”, a slippery notion which changes with time and place, and which is sometimes the enemy of science, and even of reason itself. Again, Howard knows this.
Evidently it will take more than four years out of politics for John Howard to discover a capacity for sincerity.