Guest Notes

Australian notes

24 September 2016

9:00 AM

24 September 2016

9:00 AM

Brexit, abbott, latham and team turnbull

I just learned a fascinating fact. Apparently the voters in Britain actually voted to ‘Remain’ and not to ‘Leave’ in their recent referendum on whether to ditch the EU. No kidding. It’s a fact. How do I know this? Well, it turns out that between February 23rd, 2015 and August 19th, 2015 the Financial Times publication in the UK conducted regular polls of voters’ intentions vis-à-vis leaving or remaining. During the exact timeframe I set out above the FT in fact conducted 30 such polls. (Sound familiar that number?) In each one the ‘Remain’ side was ahead, sometimes massively ahead such as on April 13th (55-36), on April 29th (52-32) and on May 31st (58-31).

So to repeat, that makes 30 consecutive polls that took place well within the one year before the June 23rd, 2016 date set for the actual referendum. Some of those 30 consecutive polls were so lopsidedly in favour of remaining inside the supranational behemoth that is the EU that surely no one who was compos mentis or not indulging in a bit of LSD or who had managed to avoid becoming entrapped in that Australian cult known as Team Delcon could ever believe that after 30 negative polls it would ever be possible to turn things around. Certainly no one who worked for the ABC, or for Fairfax, or (it pains me to say) the then majority of op-ed writers on the Australian who comprised the ‘Turnbull Times’ faction would be brave enough to suggest – and to believe – that such polls could easily move based on – you know – good campaigning, strong convictions and being on the right side of the argument. Not possible, full stop, end of story, the science is settled.

Hence, as I said, it’s a well-known fact that the Brits voted to ‘Remain’. Likewise, based on precisely the same sort of reasoning that dismisses all such things as ‘what kind of a campaigner are you’, ‘does the leader actually believe in anything at all that is right-of-centre’, ‘is the head honcho an egomaniac’, ‘does he connect with ordinary voters’, ‘will the PM run on the unions, the boats, carbon taxes or on ‘innovation’, taxing his core supporters’ superannuation and ‘being alive at the best time ever’ and so on and so forth, we know for sure that Mr Abbott would have lost the recent election in which Mr Turnbull was swept back into office with a magnificent majority of one.

We know this just by extrapolating from the 30 polls. Extrapolating never lies. Ask Tim Flannery.

So please, join with Niki Savva and all the other disinterested, impartial, outside observers (so you, too, PvO) as well as with all of the 54 defenestrating backstabbers in the Liberal caucus and consider this issue closed. Just chant after me, ‘No way Abbott would have done better than Malcolm the Magnificent’. Indeed, it is Turnbull’s crowning glory, okay his only glory, that he single-handedly dragged the Coalition over the line on July 2nd with no help from anyone else, and especially not Dan Andrews.

Now that I have that out of the way, I want to report a personal revelation. It came as a sort of bolt out of the blue. There I was very recently watching a political show on Sky TV, having jettisoned the watching of all ABC political shows of any sort given that the taxpayer-funded national broadcaster can’t seem to employ a single, solitary right-of-centre presenter, producer or editor (not one) and given that ‘our’ ABC these days seems more like the propaganda arm of the Green party.

Where was I? Oh yes, I’m watching something on Sky. And Mark Latham is on. And he’s talking about all sorts of things. And it just hit me, much as I imagine it hit Saul as he was making his way to Damascus that maybe he ought to convert and henceforth call himself Paul.

What hit me, you ask? Well, it hit me that I share a lot more values and beliefs and core positions with Mark Latham than I do with Malcolm Turnbull. Seriously. Try it yourself. Being clear and honest about the threat posed by radical Islam? I take Latham. A powerful commitment to the core Enlightenment value of free speech? No contest, it’s Latham.

(While I’m on the subject, Malcolm says the Libs are too busy to try to uphold free speech. Too much on their plate, which you can see by the way the Senators were so busy recently that they had to just kill time babbling about whatever popped into their heads. And please, please, please, consider signing my petition in cahoots with The Spectator Australia that you will never again vote for the Liberals until they make it an unbending party policy significantly to amend Section 18C. We already have over 2,000 signatories in only a fortnight. The link is )

And if free speech and standing up to Islam isn’t your bag, Latham is better on standing up to the grievance- mongering rent-seekers too. (See all things renewable energy for instance.) Likewise Latham is better, far better, than Turnbull on empathising with the QUT students stuck in a Kafkaesque Human Rights Commission abetted hell. Heck, Latham is closer to me on the desirability of getting rid of Gillian Triggs than Turnbull is. Ditto Latham’s take on the ABC (though to be fair we can’t expect Malcolm to feel anything but love for the national broadcaster that ran the unrelenting attacks on then PM Abbott).

Even if you’re more of a back pocket kind of guy or gal, well even there Latham seems no worse than Turnbull on how to tax super.

Now of course the Mark Textor school of how to run the Liberal Party is that what you do is you drag the party so far left that it’s about one millimetre to the right of Labor. Then you count on long-time Liberal party voters not wanting to vote for the other guys. Heck, you openly dare them to do so in the confident belief they won’t as you think they have nowhere else to go. And that Textor school of thought must be right, n’est-ce pas? I mean if you doubt that you’re probably the sort who doubts the received wisdom that Abbott would have lost the recent election had he been in charge.

Or you’re the sort who doubted that in the end the Brits would in fact vote to ‘Remain’, as we all know they must have done.

The polls never get it wrong.

The post Australian notes appeared first on The Spectator.

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