Flat White


27 March 2018

7:14 PM

27 March 2018

7:14 PM

There is no disappointment so deep, no betrayal so wounding, as that felt by those who put their faith in someone who turns out to be, well, not as hoped.

This is not, on the part of the chosen one, turncoat betrayal but rather that the leopard hadn’t changed spots, but was mistaken, in a rush of enthusiasm, for a darling spotted fawn.

An algorithm is a procedure or formula for problem-solving, based on carrying out a sequence of specified actions. The word derives from the name of mathematician Mohammed ibn-Musa al-Khwarizmi of Baghdad and who lived around 780 to 850.

‘Malgorithms’ are procedures or formulae carried out following a sequence of specified actions that result not in the expected result, but unexpected and unspecified disappointment and general discontent.

Malgorithms are currently being experienced by those who hoped Malcolm Turnbull would provide the wisdom and compassion that heartless Liberals and their even more atavistic National Coalition partners so desperately lacked, and so they plotted the downfall of his predecessor Tony Abbott.  But something went wrong with the calculation.

The disappointment has been most acute in those who assumed that, with Abbott gone, the man who spearheaded and bankrolled the Republican movement, who appeared to be so much more intellectually appealing than his predecessor (“He winked ! He ate an onion – raw!”) would unite and regenerate not just the Coalition, but indeed the country.

That disappointment is now being publicly voiced by the same ‘public intellectuals’ who pinned their hopes on the New Man – and have seen hopes dashed and dreams dissolved.

Robert Manne, whose undoubted courage in facing his cancer challenge and subsequent laryngectomy which resulted in his larynx being removed and replaced with silicon prosthesis, was one of these.

Speaking, or rather whispering, he gave his verdict to Geraldine Doogue when she interviewed him about his new collection of essays ‘On Borrowed Time’ in which he details the poignant details of the cancer’s progression and the medical means that were taken to combat it.

“I thought he [Turnbull] might represent the continuation of the good Liberal tradition… most of all climate change, I couldn’t believe he wouldn’t act on that when he was Prime Minister but I believed what he said earlier was as radical as anything I had heard.  I believed.”

And yes, poor Robert Manne believed, truly believed, in Mr Turnbull’s previously stated stances on asylum seekers, on Muslims, on all those rose-tinted causes so beloved of the Green-Left and Manne’s disappointment is achingly raw.

Manne decided that ‘He is a barrister and causes are quasi-clients and at a certain moment he realises the cause is a danger to his progress and [it] is quietly dropped. I was very disappointed when he seemed to lose interest in the Republic… he doesn’t seem to care anymore.  Once it was the republic, once it was climate change, now it’s Malcolm Turnbull.”

So Manne has confronted not only his cancer, but the death of dreams.

He’s had to come to terms with reality. And it’s sad and ugly. In both cases.

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