The ride of a lifetime

October 21, 2014 1:03 AM

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We were all worshippers in those days. And once a worshipper, the feeling is never quite shaken. In 1972, when I joined the staff of the first Labor prime minister in 23 years, the country seemed uniquely blessed. We stood on the brink of golden age. All that was humane and generous in political life would prevail. Rationality and enlightenment would rule. A new order was about to be born, and we, the worshipful few, were present at the creation. This was our glad, confident morning, never to be recaptured or relived.

I had been warned of a violent temper, a ruthless nature, a streak of feline cruelty. But I didn't believe it. Or rather, I didn't care. Of course Gough was rude to his staff - witheringly, brutally, scathingly offensive when the mood took him. But that was only to be expected in a man working under...

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