17 February 2011

A pity

The view out to sea from time to time can be wonderful. Standing on the beach at Cronulla and looking out to Burraneer Bay on even an ordinary day is breathtakingly beautiful. The image stays with you through long boring meetings, rainy days in Melbourne, funerals of those who came so far for such beauty and freedom across the sea, and other dreary times. But beauty and heartbreak are never far away, and to demonstrate this you need only turn your back to the lovely bay and look at the suburbs that stretch before you: these are the people who vote for Scott Morrison.

Morrison came up through the Liberal Party without any strong philosophical convictions, only personal ones that Scott Morrison should hold high office and that the Liberal Party was the appropriate vehicle to make that happen. The idea that a philiosophical conviction might be strongly held enough to forfeit his political career is a contradiction in terms. This enabled him to be all things to everyone - well, almost everyone. The rightwing cranks in the Liberal Party in that district regard everyone who isn't in thrall to them as a "leftie", which is why ordinary Australians have trouble understanding why Morrison might be considered a "moderate" or "from the party's left". All that means is that he's not some Holocaust-denying lunatic.

The Liberal Party membership in the electorate of Cook is so small and so intolerant of diversity that it is not a representative sample of the electorate. Morrison was imposed on Cook by Liberal head office in the hope that he might appeal to people in that area who are sympathetic to the Liberal Party but who lack the commitment to join it and put up with the crap that the far right dish out. It's an invidious position to be in, but Morrison has to move right if his political career is to survive. Being undermined by his branches limits whatever glistering political career the Liberal Party has in mind for him.

Morrison has lit upon the idea of bagging Muslims, apparently, justified by some arse-witted polling. It isn't actually impossible for Muslims to integrate with the Australian community, a fact demonstrated by hundreds of thousands of people every day. Yet, Morrison wants to make it impossible in the hope that it might shore up his own position, so that he might continue doing, ah, whatever it is that he does.
[Some Liberal MPs] said they had picked up on strong anti-Muslim sentiment in their electorates but thought running a campaign against Muslim immigration could be "misconstrued".

That's right: real Muslim people wanting to live normal lives in Australia, whereas imaginary people who want to subvert the country would not be at all disadvantaged, and would have solid grounds for their grievances. It's dumb policy and nobody wants to live in a country like that. Scott Morrison has no way of knowing that, though; all he can know is what pops up in polls.

The idea that he might provide a level of leadership that would encourage people to rise above base instincts goes against everything Scott Morrison knows about politics, everything he is. There are some that suggest Morrison should apologise for begrudging the cost of flying detainees to funerals in Sydney while those funerals were underway; he apologised for the timing of those begruding remarks, never the remarks themselves. This is his idea of a compromise, because everything in politics can be compromised; any idea that he was completely and utterly wrong in principle, and that all human decency cries out against it, would see a collapse in his ego so profound that he could not go on.

Hockey was right to stand up for common decency over the funerals, wrong to compromise with Morrison in some faults-on-both-sides exercise. If Hockey is to be the Liberals' leader he must show us what the Liberal Party led by him might look like: at the moment, it looks like a muddle, an unattractive proposition for Liberals let alone anyone else. Had Hockey stood strong it would have been bracing medicine for the Liberals, no bad place to start in the slow march back.

I pity Scott Morrison, I pity everyone who made him and maintain him like that and I pity the sentiment that drives him on to more and worse of this kind of thing. I hope he has a nice house in a lovely part of the Shire, and a family prepared to wait out his thing for public life, because all they'll get back will be a kind of hollow shell of a man.

I pity Gary Humphries, who has staked his career on a three-person petition. He has no defence now against the Greens or Labor at the next election. He is an indecent little man, a healthy community would shun him.

I pity the idea that the Liberal Party was led around by One Nation. No good has come of Tony Abbott flirting with One Nation, but the poor fool can't leave them alone. The whole idea of Australia's Indonesian school program is to limit the effectiveness of Abu Bakar Bashir, not to encourage it. Poor Tony seriously believed he was on a winner, with no seats to be lost north of Solomon and Leichhardt. He's four seats from becoming Prime Minister, yet there is not a single seat held by parties outside the Coalition that would switch to them over such a policy - not one, and that's why current Liberal policy is dumb, anti-Australia policy.

Anti-Australia and anti-Liberal too. Four seats, people. No seat not currently held by the Liberals would be won over by this. Abbott can't sack Morrison because he agrees with the whole approach of smear Muslims if you can get away with it, so he couldn't distance himself if he wanted to. Abbott would incur resentment without enjoying the clear fresh air of deep-sixing the dog-whistle once and for all.

Nobody in shadow cabinet stood up for the national interest in seeking to foster an Indonesia so resistant to fake militant Islam that we have nothing to fear from it. Nobody had the guts to quit this toxic shadow cabinet. What a pitiful bunch they are.

Even more pitiful is "Menzies House", a website run by and for gutless morons. The head office of the Liberal Party in the Canberra suburb of Barton is called Menzies House. To call a website by that name and to have Liberal Party office bearers running it is to give that site some authority within the Liberal Party. I read its poorly written and anonymous article on Hockey, an odd mix of jowl-wobbling complacency and shrieky panic; but the cover-up is invariably worse than the crime itself:
Several of our readers and contributors have expressed concern that this article was not attributed to any particular author.

Here at Menzies House we try to post articles without fear or favour to encourage vigorous debate, however it has been common practice in the past for authors to use their real names or for those in sensitive positions to use pseudonyms and ambiguous professional titles.

I have no idea why a pseudonym is more acceptable than an anonymous article: either you stand up for your principles or you don't. What's the point of getting all bellicose in print and then backing down? I put my name to these articles, and if I disagreed with a poster I'd say so publicly. I wouldn't engage in weaselly equivocations like these invertebrates.
Unfortunately in this case the editorial team has decided to remove this post ...

Look at the hand-wringing equivocation here: it isn't a matter of "fortune" for a website to be taken out; it was a matter of deliberate policy. The phrase "in this case" is also a verbal whimper, followed by an expression in the passive voice ... at this point I gave up. You'd expect these rugged individualists to stand up for their decisions, but no. The initials of one such member of that team appears at the end, but otherwise they've replaced one anonymous piece with another. Time to go over their heads:
... Senator Bernardi has given his long-serving staffer Chris Browne, who is also editor-in-chief of the Menzies House website, his full support as senior party figures called for the anonymous author to be outed.

The article, attributed only to a "senior Liberal staffer", described Mr Hockey as incompetent, unfit for the Coalition's leadership team and a stain on the party's reputation as a good economic managers.

In the piece, pulled from website yesterday morning, the Coalition staffer warned "panic is spreading through the ranks as members view the destruction Hockey is causing".

If Hockey was indeed causing panic, if he is truly incompetent, it would be of overwhelming importance to stand up against him, and risk going down for the sake of the greater good. Neither of these events has occurred. The strident denouncer has shuffled meekly back into the ranks and will be about as effective at anything else as they were at polemic.

Which "senior party figures" are calling for this person to be outed, and why did the fearless investigative team at The Australian render them anonymous?
[Quoting Cory Bernardi] "I didn't order anyone to do anything, but I thought it was inappropriate to have anonymous posts like the one that was published, but Chris Browne had nothing to do with it," he said.

The editor in chief is responsible and takes responsibility. To disavow the role of an editor-in-chief in this manner is gutless and dishonest, but typical.

Where are the Christian Kerr Five in of all this? How will Scotty Morrison and his snide efforts play in Hanson-phobic Melbourne, Kelly O'Dwyer and Josh Frydenberg? Would you prefer those funerals were held in Inverbrackie, Jamie Briggs?

All of these pitiful Liberals still insist that there are votes to be won from the far right while the great centre looks for capable government. They have shirked Australia's number one security threat, the prospect of radical Islam taking over Indonesia. Quietly and surely Labor seems to be getting lots of little things done, little things that add up but which seem to be too boring for detailed examination either by Liberals or journalists. At a time when a Liberal government is so close, those occupying the big offices turn their backs on the broad, calm waters of middle Australia and entrusted their futures to One Nation and gutless, stupid turds like Morrison, Bernardi and Andrews. Such a pity, not only for the party but the nation that would subsidise such behaviour.

To subsidise and endorse such behaviour renders you unable to complain about the mourning of those who could have contributed far more to our country than these pitiful creatures infesting our body politic.

Update: Mr Denmore and Grog's Gamut.


  1. i hope some of the miserable reptiles read this andrew,and its about time some of the moderate liberal supporters in the community got involved i reckon.i am really concerned about the damage these self seeking and short sighted lumps of shite are doing to our social cohesiveness.

  2. "...jowl-wobbling complacency..."

    Love it

  3. I think you are too kind to Cronulla. Having lived there for 5 years, I can pretty safely say that if the local populace became suddenly politicised and everyone joined the Party, Morrison really would look a moderate. The so-called "Cronulla Riots" were no freak event - that's how they roll in The Shire. Morrison has done himself no harm at all in his constituency - more's the pity.

  4. It beats me how people keep voting for them.

  5. I've been reading you since Kim Beazley was opposition leader and this is hands down the best thing you've ever published. Write a fucking book already, couldn't be worse than John Hyde Page's.

  6. Terrific piece Andrew.
    Morrison probably is playing to his constituency on the insular peninsula, but I can only hope the rest of the nation is turned off by the strategy.
    As for Abbott's leadership – the man who once understood the problems that the rise of One Nation would have caused for the nation (and the Liberals), now seems ready to do and say whatever it takes.
    There isn't a broom big enough to sweep out the dead wood from the parliamentary liberal party.

  7. I think the Liberals have gone as far right as they can. They'll start getting shown up by the states, who have proper grown-up governing work to do (not to mention staff jobs paying proper salaries).