The King is dead! Long live the King (and the culture wars)!

Greg Sheridan has done some fantastic rambling in today’s GG.

Apparently if Rudd wins this weekend teh evil elitist lefties will try to steal Australia’s future by re-writing its history and the only man from the forces of good and truth that has the ability to stop us is… Tony Abbott.

Mark and John are going to be so disappointed.


Michael (mick) Bremner is a displaced Australian postdoctoral researcher in the field of quantum information science and an occasional blogger. I'm currently living in Hannover, Germany, though seem to spend half my life on the road.

Posted in blogosphere, culture, federal election '07, Howardia, media, politics
29 comments on “The King is dead! Long live the King (and the culture wars)!
  1. John Ryan says:

    I see that Ackerman has raised Heiner from the dead again,lots of muttering about high court challenges,high profile lawyers and most of all the get Rudd we will make him sweat ect.
    I thought that he had been put back under his rock by the write ups in the OZ.
    Some of the comments on his blog make me wonder about the sainity of people who read his rubbish he will be one who I will be watching for Saturday night.
    Untill Rudd drives a stake through Howards chest I wont believe the bastard is gone

  2. Sir Henry Casingbroke says:

    Sheridan is up to his usual tricks. This piece is a backdoor attempt to rehabilitate Abbott, one of the most venal, self-serving and vicious politicians in parliament.

    And where did this idea that he is an intellectual come from? His arguments are doctrinaire and primitive. He is also undisciplined seemingly unware of the cosnequences of his own words to his party’s detriment. Indeed, it is this very loose cannon aspect that has led Johnny to sideline him as a front-rank player in the Liberal Party. Hasn’t anyone noticed his sulking demeanour this year?

    Abbott is a prick. And a coward. His behaviour towards Bernie Banton was cowardly and ugly. But Abbott went to water once he got feedback that his comments could hurt him electorally. He is lazy as his record as health minister – worst ever, ever – attests.

    He even put rugby league players offside in his electorate, when they threatened to campaign against him over his slow-on-the-uptake help with funding of the Brookvale Oval with a bit of porkbarrelling.

    It would be great if he lost his seat, unlikely, but not out of the realm of possibility.

    I could then say with satisfaction, see ya later, grub.

  3. It’s like Sheridan was sweating and mumbling as he wrote it. So Abbott, this nasty, shambolic god bothering dufus is the hope of the liberals? They’d be better going Downer again surely?

  4. hc says:

    I’ve always liked Tony Abbott. He’s thinker and a good minister. Howard likes him but fears that he occasionally shoots off his mouth and comes on a bit dry.

    The interesting thing is that Abbott is a Catholic in the ‘wrong’ political party. If he was one of the deadhead Catholic goons in the ALP right Mark B would kiss his arse (Sir Henry would kill to get in first).

    But he is an independent thinker who holds sincere religious view. I think he is a good bloke and a bit of a joyous Aussi lad.

    BTW Labor has not won yet. It would be great to see Howard scape in just to be able to watch the despondency in the brainless left section of the blogosphere. As Yobbo so tastefully put it, it would be great to watch the left have to ‘neck itself’ after a Coalition survival.

  5. anthony says:

    “I predict that the Robert Manne-Left…”

    Is there anything good that could follow this? I mean it’s like someone saying “You know what else you can do with an oboe…”

  6. adam says:

    hi all

    i just love how in one fell stroke, sheridan concatenates the entire range of progressive, non-fuckwit thought in this country into a tiny shoebox called “teh robert manne-left”, so that he can kick it about more easily.

    (robert manne-left? wasn’t he thatcher’s chancellor of the exchequer? personally, i dare say i find mr manne-left’s comments rather jolly, what-ho).

    however, this tactic is the most masterful stroke of the piece. after all, sheridan fluffs it later on by revealing his true colours.

    i’ve figured out mr sheridan. i used to think he was a clown and a fool. but now i know better. through this screed, he has confirmed himself as a master trotskyite, and therefore an entryist of the prime order. his avowed aim – to make the liberals believe he knows what is best, so they follow his advice – and it’s advice laced with his own homebrewed electoral arsenic.

    how can i substantiate this warped claim? it’s the only real sense i can give to his reasons for pushing abbott, who is as popular as a what better way to sabotage the liberal party’s chances of governing than to push tony abbott to the front of the pack. after all, there’ll be no competition. turnbull will be gone, and costello will be brutally eviscerated for his indiscretions against papa howard once papa isn’t there to protect him no more, while the rest are jellylegs… that leaves this meathook the only man still standing. it’s armageddon time again – and abbott gets to wield the axe.

    could see this one coming in march, btw. how predictable. how pointless. how greens as the opposition within ten years. every 18 year old i speak to believes this as gospel. they see the coming vote patterns. they are throwing out a government with their first vote. they will feel the people power, and can smell the international situation regards climate. bob brown – retire soon, get lower house seats at all costs, and start the generational transition broadly to avoid succumbing to the post-chipp democrat factor.

    peace, and happy sunday to you all.

    ——- btw i adore how the word teh is becoming the word the for unreal objects…:^)

  7. adam says:

    re above post – pls insert:

    …who is as popular as a one legged man with the coach of an arse-kicking team. what better way to sabotage..


  8. aidan says:

    Apparently “Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor”, though you might struggle to come to this conclusion simply by reading the words he wrote which have nothing much to do with Foreign Affairs, thinks

    … the Robert Manne-Left, the political force in this country most inclined to misrepresent facts and do them violence by shoe-horning them into a predetermined ideological cast, will try to take possession of the Howard loss.

    Self-awareness is not one of Greg’s great virtues. Exhibit number 1:

    Apparently “Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor”, though you might struggle to come to this conclusion simply by reading the words he wrote which have nothing much to do with Foreign Affairs, thinks

    Abbott, more than anyone except Howard, was responsible for defeating the push to a republic. Republicans may resent this but it cannot be considered a political failure to have your position endorsed by the overwhelming majority of the electorate.

    It was a referendum. The less popular option was put up, so it would have required a substantial sales job to make it palatable. Greg Sheridan knows this because in the very same paragraph he says

    Perhaps no republican model can win a referendum. Anything but the tiniest changes – perhaps substituting the governor-general for the Queen – will likely be unacceptable to the electorate.

    Sheridan, you are a clown.

    Exhibit number 2:

    But Abbott has a vast range of other political achievements. More than anyone, he destroyed the influence of Pauline Hanson in Australian politics. In doing this he gave a great gift to Australia and to the viability of mainstream conservative politics. He pioneered a signature Howard innovation – work for the dole – as well as the Australian Building and Construction Commission which has done so much to lift productivity in a vital sector of the economy. And remember that he was brought into health to solve a crisis for the Government, which he did, and the Government has had a shot at playing health from the front foot ever since.

    WTF?! I hope he was drunk when he wrote this.

  9. aidan says:

    Something horrible happened to my comment … like failing to proof it properly. On bring back the majesty that is LP live comment preview!

  10. mick says:

    Sorry aidan. Hopefully the real LP will be back on its legs next week.

    hc – whatever. Where’s the evidence that he’s a good thinker? He’s great at political games and nobbling opponents, but I wouldn’t go so far as calling him one of the intellectual heavies of the Liberal Party. To me his public opinions tend to exude dogma more than intellect.

  11. hc says:

    You are just being prejudiced Mick. He has sensible views on hospitals and health and generally has hard-edged contempt for the latest leftist, puerile ‘visions’ – its a useful attribute.

    I really think the left hate him because he is a renogade Catholic and a thinker. Catholics are supposed to be dumb, narrow, unthinking supporters of the right wing of the Labor Party with never an independent thought. The types who say ‘my dad voted Labor and so will I’.

    But the left continually criticise Abbott for his Catholicism (often they don’t make this explicit) and supposed dogmatic views – its a case of dogmatism imposing religious prejudice.

    In my view it is really horrible treatment of a decent bloke.

  12. ackerman says:

    I’m sure he’s lovely, hc, but what has he done?

  13. Nabakov says:

    “In my view it is really horrible treatment of a decent bloke.”

    I trust Harry, that as as a gentleman first and a political partisan second, you also are prepared to condemn even worse treatment so often meted out to his ALP oppo? It’s not like anyone’s attacking Tony’s accent, clothes (does he own a dress at all?) and looks or implying he’s barren. True there’s tangible proof out there he’s experienced at least one productive organism.

    But it’s nothing compared to the pointless off topic shit being thrown at Julia Gillard just because she’s a smart upfront dame. Actually she and Tony have one thing in common. They’ve both behaved with great grace in the face of concerted personal attacks. But far more foul in Julia’s case.

    Incidentally, I’m not alone am I in thinking there’s definitely some URST going on between Julia and Tony? I’ve heard from my Canberra snouts that they actively seek each other out at functions to enjoy a good arguement over a glass of decent local plonk and those little sushi fingerfood thingies, You know the ones like baby nori rolls.

  14. hc says:

    Nabokov, I saw Gillard and Abbott debating at Melbourne University and I thought they were both great. Gillard is the one labour MP I do think has value – she has (apart from silly views on WorkChoices) real talent – and, yes, I am sure she and Tony enjoy their bun fights.

    She mentioned during one of the debates Labor’s policy on chronic diseases. I was in the audience so I asked Abbott during question time whether she didn’t have a point. I mean even for a right-wing Liberal detecting things like Type 2 diabetes early would safe the health system a fortune in costs.

    Abbott went all quiet and gave a careful reflective reply – that conceded my general point and essentially Gillard’s view. He didn’t just defend his position as pollies normally do. Maybe it was because it was a university audience but I was very impressed. Not because he accepted the argument but because he was listening and open.

    Politicians like Gillard and Abbott can contribute something to making this country a better place. They have brains and the intellectual will to argue things through.

  15. Andyc says:

    hc: “Gillard is the one labour MP I do think has value – she has (apart from silly views on WorkChoices) real talent ”

    Harry – have you ever been in danger of being employed by anyone under Workchoices conditions?

    Any employer who cannot make an adequate profit unless their workers are serfs, should be in a different business.

  16. Nabakov says:

    Yes Harry, Tony and Julia are a very intriguing double act and not just for URST reasons. There’s some mutual respect there too.

    “Politicians like Gillard and Abbott can contribute something to making this country a better place. They have brains and the intellectual will to argue things through.”

    I’d go with that. They’re both tough ruthless partisan fighters but also I think smart enough to work with each other when they have to – especially about a decade down the track when they’re jostling each other for the PM job, about when Australia gets hit by a black swan.. They’d make a good nucleus for a national unity government dealing with an Outside Context Problem.

  17. Su says:

    Sure Abbott’s swell; unless you are a woman who would like to retain control over her reproductive choices in which case he is a disaster. My god what apocalyptic vision is this; Abbott as pm? That’s a bloody black swan in itself if you ask me. They couldn’t be confusing URST with revolted fascination could they?

  18. Nabakov says:

    “unless you are a woman who would like to retain control over her reproductive choices in which case he is a disaster. ”

    Don’t you want Julia to convert him? Live on webcam.

  19. Sir Henry Casingbroke says:

    Harry, you know me, right wing of the Labor Party, Catholic or otherwise, is not my preferred direction. What you say is just cheap payback for the touch-up you got on your own site.

    As for Abbott, I do know him personally and I have spoken to him on numerous occasions. I am a director and licensee of the Forestville Rugby League Club and Tony is patron of the club and over last 15 years or so he has come to a few functions, although not lately, because he thinks he has Warringah in the bag.

    He is very personable one on one, but that’s his job, to network and schmooze. As a political personality he is one of the most toxic around. His Catholicism or whatever wouldn’t bother me except that he brings his Lefevrian views to the political arena, often by stealth. He feels he has a duty that is higher than one he owes to his constituents or the Australian people. As such he is far more dangerous than any unreconstructed Stalinist union leader we have ever had.

  20. Su says:

    Don’t you want Julia to convert him? Live on webcam.

    You know as well as I do that that would only confirm him in all his odious opinions. Don’t insult our Jules so Nabs.

  21. 2 tanners says:

    I tend to agree with Adam’s colourfully expressed position @6. Sheridan’s advice, if followed, would be electoral poison. Abbott presents as a radical, not a conservative and in the event of a landslide, a charismatic (or domineering, I don’t care which) radical leader would have a high probability of taking them into an idelogical promised land, but an electoral wilderness.

    I don’t know whether I find the idea of the greens as the new opposition funny or terrifying – the former because the glib theories whcih propose it seems to lack a certain something (like asking who would give them 50% TPP in any given seat) or the latter because it would certainly mean that the Labor Party as I knew had finally and completely been killed off through its own electoral success in stealing the centre and moderate right from the LNP.

  22. Paul Burns says:

    It would seem to me Sheridan doesn’t know his Robert Manne at all. There is no way Manne’s excellent history of the Petrov Affair could remotely bee imagined as pro-Labor. With it, mainly because he had access to papers which hasd just come into the public domain, he killed off the Labor shibboleth about the Petrov affair being a conspiracy, as argued by Stubbs and Whitlam (Not Gough); the latter still a valuable book despite its now being proved absolutely wrong because it gives an insight into the Labor mindset of the 1950s.
    Manne doeswn’t come across as a leftie but as a humanitarian, which is a good thing in an intellectual.
    One thing the right wing cultural warriors definitely lack is humanity.

  23. rf says:

    “But he is an independent thinker who holds sincere religious view”
    Ah yes, independently thinks the Catholic Churches dogma has all the moral answers. Me, I prefer my politicians, whether on the right or left, to come without religous delusions but alas we seem to be heading towards the US in our necessity for politicians to declare their passionate beleif in religion.

  24. Katz says:

    As Yobbo so tastefully put it, it would be great to watch the left have to ‘neck itself’ after a Coalition survival.

    What’s this? Pre-emptive gloating by proxy?

    If you’re going to gloat, gloat full-bloodly and sincerely.

    Me? I’m going to enjoy the Coalition defeat for many reasons.

    1. The unpersoning of John Howard. His name will be removed from the annals of Liberal history more thoroughly than Trotsky’s was in the Soviet Union.

    2. The termination of the career of Peter Costello. He will have to console himself with a well-paid job with a merchant bank. Will the real John Hewson please stand up.

    3. The shit-fight about to erupt between the clerical and secular Right for possession of the corpse of the Liberal Party.

    4. A series of rolling civil wars for control of the different state branches of the Liberal Party. At the end of this, the Victorian branch and the NSW branch will have hardly anything to say to each other.

    5. Flame wars among the punditocracy of the Right. Central theme: “Who lost Australia?” The IPA will blame QuadRant for being pussies. QuadRant will ask why the IPA hates Australia.

    6. Keith Wind-Who?

    7. Miranda Devine, Caroline Overington and Janet Albrechtsen reassigned to cover Sydney suburban municipal news.

    8. The truth about AWB.

    9. A Senate inquiry into the intelligence flow preparatory to Australian involvement in Iraq.

    10. The acrid stench of overheating paper shredders the length and breadth of Canberra on Satuday night and Sunday morning.

    11. Ratty’s diamond-upholstered ottoman in a removal van leaving Kirribilli House.

  25. Ken Lovell says:

    Mick I have nothing but admiration for the sacrifices you make for the cause. First you watch Costello debate Swan for us and now you read Greg Sheridan. We’re in your debt man :-D.

  26. Peterc says:

    I think Sheridan’s shopping list he ascribes to “teh left” is quite a good one:

    “They will argue that the Howard defeat marks the repudiation of the Howard Government’s lies on Iraq, racism on Aborigines, hostility to multiculturalism, construction of a national security state, un-Australian subservience to Washington, hostility to Muslims and so on.”

    But I disgree with his conclusion – it is wholly true, and not a province of ‘teh left’. Rudd’s “embrace” is a simply a tactic to avoid wedges. I find it amazing that Howard has pushed policy so far to the extreme right, and corrupted our Westminster democracy so that he and his ministers are never accountable for when his extreme right agenda slips over the edge.

    I am looking forward to a new direction for Australia, I just hope Kevin07 is brave enough to snuff out the vestiges of Howard’s extremism and selfishness. He needs to braver than Brumby in Victoria who seems to be impersonating Jeff Kennett.

  27. adam says:

    hi 2tanners @ 21

    the assumption regarding the greens rests on three predictions, the beginnings for first & second of these being observable now:

    1) climate change becomes the dominant geopolitical reality. australian governments tend to rise and fall around responding these realities, as we are a small and relatively powerless nation, unlike nations such as the uk, usa, japan, euro-zone, etc which can set agendas.

    2) the liberal party, having no purpose now that free market economics is uncontroversial and does not require selling, continues its long move under the sway of the nsw right towards captain de groot territory and eventual rump party irrelevance.

    3) the resultant broadening of the green base, through increased relevance and the filling of the moderate “right-wing” vacuum by the now euro-style social democrat labor, will bring more politically competent “left-wing” people into the greens fold, thus whittling the weird edges off policy.

    i was colorful cos i’m enjoying this campaign, so glad you enjoyed it too. but these are more serious expressions of the vital seams underlying the argument above.

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  29. Harry, Su has summed-up the problem with Abbott head on.

    He may be a personable bloke – so’s George W. Bush from all reports, even by people who can’t stand his politics – but the fact is that he gets his marching orders on moral issues direct from George Pell and actually attempts to implement them.

    He’ll never, ever be Prime Minister of this country. The negative campaign on abortion issues pretty much writes itself, given the man’s form on the issue. If you ever want to see Labor actually get 60% two-party preferred, put Abbott in charge of the Libs.

    Not to mention that his election to the leadership would likely result in Democrats Mark II.

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