Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Foreign Minister Lite

Did you know that "[w]ith the exception of Clinton, [Kevin] Rudd is the chief diplomat every other one wants to meet"? Or that "[h]e has almost-hero status at the United Nations"?

Such 'revelations' come in a profile by Thom Woodrofe of our frequent flying foreign minister in The Sun-Herald of November 27. In At home on foreign ground, Woodrofe is credited with "gain[ing] some rare insights on the road with Kevin Rudd."

OK, this looks promising:

"Rudd is already the most travelled foreign minister in Australian history but he refuses to take sleeping pills or watch movies on planes..."

But then:

"Instead, he reads his portfolio briefs before launching into books on theology and philosophy."

Theology and philosophy? Just what you'd expect of a well-informed foreign minister, right?

But what about those occasions when he's not reading t & p?:

"At the moment he is, appropriately, reading a biography of Charles II and the restoration of the British monarchy."

Of course - the perfect book for someone responsible for formulating our policy on Libya or Syria, no?

But it gets worse.

Where does Rudd get his reading matter from? Is it recommended by scholars? Does it come from reputable booksellers, as distinct from those who flog sport and self-help? Not on your nellie! It's carefully selected by... a newsagent:

"Despite getting an electronic book reader from his children for his birthday, Rudd will often burden his staff by buying half a dozen books in an airport terminal..."


And Rudd has the hide to, among other things, hold "a press conference to take a swipe at the Greens controlling foreign policy..."

(For Gillard's reading habits, see my 14/8/10 post The Real Julia Gillard.)

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