Guest Notes

Australian notes

2 July 2016

9:00 AM

2 July 2016

9:00 AM

Brexit, 1381 ad, and Turnbull’s election

Well, the Brits did it. They defied the warnings and threats from ‘I got a Nobel Peace Prize for no reason at all’ Barack Obama; and those from Christine Lagarde, the lefty head of the IMF; and those from Canadian Bank of England Governor Mark Carney; and from Tony Blair (the nerve of the man knows no boundaries), David Cameron (whose legacy has been ruined), spin doctor extraordinaire Alistair Campbell, red Tory political columnist Matthew Parris, and the list literally goes on for ages – including our own Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull.

The rejection of that Project Fear and Project Sneer (as the BBC and Davos Men types looked down their noses at mere voters) was as magnificent as it was wholly shocking to those who get their information and opinions from social media and from billion dollar a year public broadcasters who viscerally dislike democracy and much prefer rule by supranational elites (which our ABC’s coverage of the Brexit result amply proved, if you had the stomach to listen).

Try to think of analogies for what the common voters have just done in the UK. Well, you might stretch back to the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 AD. (I use the old year dating system, in the hope of annoying the most PC ‘Australian of the Year’ ever.) Or you might see Brexit in terms of a peaceful French Revolution, today’s aristocracy being given the same sort of two-fingered salute. Heck, given the way the powerful of the world were lined up on the other side, you might even try to paint it as an enervated restaging of how, for over a year, Britain stood alone against Hitler and Stalin as everyone said they were toast and could not possibly survive on their own.

However you see it, isn’t democracy a wonderful thing? Everyone counts the same. You don’t get extra votes because you have a Ph.d., or work for the ABC, or see yourself as a social justice warrior advancing the cause of ‘human rights’. Nope, you count no more than the plumber and the secretary, some of whom David Cameron once described as ‘loonies and fruitcakes’.


So as I write this, with Australia’s election looming and knowing that most readers will be aware of the outcome as they read this, let me nevertheless speculate on what Brexit tells us about the pending poll. First off, it seems to me that the 54 MPs who assassinated Mr Abbott late last year look a lot like the UK’s ‘Team Remain’. They were over-awed by the public broadcaster’s world view. They grossly exaggerated the importance of the views found on social media, which massively leans left. They did not know their core audience, much as David Cameron didn’t. And they showed no backbone at all, no commitment to principle just a longing for re-election and the good pension and the chauffeur-driven cars.

Here’s what they got as a result – one of the worst Liberal Party campaigns ever. Turnbull hasn’t or won’t talk about the boats, not really. Turnbull hasn’t or won’t talk about the renewable rent-seeking scams, not really. Turnbull hasn’t or won’t talk about the unions, not really. Turnbull flat out cannot talk about what a backstabbing self-promoter Bill Shorten has been, for obvious reasons. Turnbull hasn’t or won’t talk about how he trusts the people to make the call on same-sex marriage, not really, because everyone knows he’s been forced into it. Basically the traitorous 54 have given us the ultimate Davos Man as Liberal Leader, a person quintessentially at home with ‘Team Remain’ type values. A cultural lefty with supranational-leaning inclinations who might, on a good day, be good on economic issues but only if it didn’t get him offside with his Davos/ABC chums.

Not knowing the result I will nevertheless go out on a limb and say this. Abbott would have run a brutal campaign that would have been far more effective than what Turnbull has done, and Abbott would have done better on election day. The polls back in September were much like what we saw in the UK just before Brexit. However, cometh the actual election, cometh the Brexit and Abbott man.

Let’s be honest. If you hope that one day the patent bias of the ABC that sucks up over a billion dollars of your hard-earned money might be reformed, even a little, a Turnbull government won’t ever do it for you. Same holds if you want 18C to go, or if you want a Liberal government to do what Labor does and appoint, you know, like-minded people to all the bodies like the Human Rights Commission (the Libs just appointed Ed Santow!), or maybe not appoint Green Party candidates to top advisory positions. Same goes if you want the massive waste in our universities to be tackled. Same goes if you want a party that reflects the views of the vast preponderance of its members’ views.

So what to do (did I do) on election day? I know that The Speccie’s editorial line is to hold your nose and vote Liberal ahead of Labor in the House. And I know that the argument for that choice boils down wholly to this, that Turnbull is better than Shorten. Of course that is true. Diarrhea is also better than dysentery. But if your timeframe is longer than just the next three years, that is not the end of the matter. You also need to ask, ‘what might cure the present situation?’. Will a Turnbull government move right on anything, will it fix any of the above-mentioned problems? If not, if the whole political spectrum is being dragged to the left by Turnbull, then maybe short-term pain – and make no mistake, painful it will be – is the better choice for your kids and grandkids. I think it is. Moreover, even the David Flints of the world don’t want Turnbull to win a big majority. They want him constrained and gone too. They just don’t want the blood on their hands. Put differently, they want Delcons like me to preference Labor higher, just not too many of us to do so. They just can’t say so out loud. If all of us righties did as Flint and The Speccie suggested, then Mark Textor would be right. We righties simply wouldn’t matter. The party would have no incentive to move right. We’d all be irrelevant, as Textor asserted.

Brexit wasn’t achieved in a single election. It took a long time. Getting back a palatable Liberal Party might take a while too. The fastest way is to get Turnbull out. So I’m preferencing Labor over the Libs.

The post Australian notes appeared first on The Spectator.

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