Politics and politicians are on the nose all around the world. There is a savage reaction in the West against political parties and political elites. Since the system as we know it has been worked by political parties run by elites, the results may be disastrous, if not terminal. Corbyn was bad enough, but Trump is a genuine nightmare.
In Australia there is a very unhappy union between politicians and journalists. There is much to be said for the view that our press is in large part responsible for the awfulness of our politicians. They are far too cliquey and close to their subjects; the worst kinds of would-be journalists are tribal, and feed themselves on hits from other followers of the cult on the Internet. The real disasters are former political staffers who then want to pose as journalists. Instead, they become boring and loaded cheerleaders.
Two of the worst examples are Chris Kenny and Niki Savva. They could not hope to pose as being objective, but they sadly think that that they are intelligent. They live in confined echo chambers quite cut off from the world, just like the politicians in Canberra. They are part of a useless but self-appointed elite that is quite out of touch with what they call the mainstream.
It was therefore quite a surprise to read the following from Chris Kenny in The Australian last Saturday:
There is a great and pernicious divide in Australia. It is not between the eastern seaboard and the western plains, or between the rich and poor, city and country, black and white, or even between established citizens and refugees. The divide is between the political/media class and the mainstream.
There is a gulf between those who consider themselves superior to the masses and want to use the nation’s status to parade their post-material concerns, and those who do the work and raise the families that make the nation what it is.
That is a reasonable statement of the problem, even if it comes from one of the worst examples of those who give rise to the problem. And what on earth is a former Liberal staffer – attached to Lord Downer; no wonder his syntax is shot – and employed by The Australian and Sky doing referring to ‘the masses’. Has Mr Kenny ever met one of them? But then it all becomes clear when we get this:
In this election we are seeing the chasm open up, like a parting of the seas, as the media elites and their preferred left-of-centre politicians seek to determine what issues should be decisive. They lecture and hector the mainstream. Worse, they try to dictate what facts can even be discussed. They seek to silence dissent. They have compiled an informal list of unmentionables, facts that should not be outed: the truths whose name we dare not speak.
And then Mr Kenny goes on to ‘lecture and hector’ those poor souls who share his echo chamber, the true believers who know that Satan masquerades as the ABC and the Fairfax press.
This is all as boring and predictable as anything said by Mr Kenny in The Australian or one of those ghastly Sky chat shows that demonstrate that the chattering classes, the former chardonnay socialists, have long ago swapped sides graphically and terminally. We reached a new all-time low recently when Peta Credlin joined Andrew Bolt for a nocturnal tryst on Sky that will be sure to upset at least three dinners a night. It might all be boring, but the hypocrisy of Mr Kenny takes your breath away.
We get some idea of the problem from the article immediately beneath that of Mr Kenny. It comes from the paper’s former editor, Chris Mitchell. Mr Mitchell looks like he may be as unattractive in the flesh as he is in print. On the same day, Mr Coorey in the AFR – part of the Anti-Christ and my paper of choice – referred to those journalists who scramble like Spitfire pilots when someone says something rude about the Liberals. Mr Mitchell gives us a roll call of those he invokes to defend that brute Dutton – Paul Murray, Judith Sloan, Mark Latham, Andrew Bolt, Peter van Onselen, Paul Kelly, Chris Kenny, and other pilots in The Oz or Sky squadrons, the usual suspects. There is apparently honour among sellers because Mr Mitchell informs us that Peta told Andrew that she would not criticise Niki over her bestselling book. Here surely was grace that passeth all understanding. And guess what – Peta’s ‘appearances throughout the week were sure-footed and incisive.’ Has tribalism got any lower than this?
And Mr Mitchell gives us an insight into the light years between him and the ‘masses’ when he says:
Latham sees Labor being trapped in a world in which the Left rejects the notion of observable truths, but ordinary voters see Safe Schools as an extreme attempt to reconstruct gender.
In the sweet name of the son of the carpenter, is there any bastard outside the Canberra bubble who knows what ‘reconstructing gender’ might mean? Does any decent Australian give a bugger about the alleged Left/Right divide or any other of those profoundly stupid chat shows called ‘culture wars’? Have they not yet seen that everyone else rejects all this bullshit and all those who want to wallow in it? Does the press just not get that they are an essential part of the package that people are rejecting all around the world?
Then there is poor sad Gerard Henderson who looks like he has never smiled, let alone laughed. Gerry must be the text-book example of a man who preaches – and, like Mr Kenny, and most of these cave-dwellers, he does preach – only to the converted. It looks like the lawyers may have been at Gerry’s piece, because he wants to say that the Royal Commission is loaded against our George, but he concludes by saying that their behaviour raises issues of fairness. His sub-editor said the Commission ‘fails the test of fairness.’
And Gerry has come up with some hard evidence. Someone on the Commission staff had worked for the ABC! Worse, Gerry had followed that person’s journalism – no ABC journalist ever escapes the gaze of either Gerry or God – and Gerry ‘happened to know that he was a vehement critic of the theological conservatives in the Catholic Church, such as Pell, layman B A Santamaria and more besides’. Just think of it – an ABC journalist being a critic of Bob! But the case is even worse! Gerry just happened to run into this one-time journalist in the street – the corner of Phillip and Bent streets. For some reason, Gerry was surprised to see the man.
Crittenden was dressed in a fine suit, well-pressed shirt and tasteful tie. I asked him how it came to pass that a one-time left wing ABC journalist [really, Gerry, the left-wing part was otiose – we and God know they all are left-wing at Auntie] looking so CBDish so early in the morning.
Good heavens – an uppity socialist! And what in heaven has the earliness of the morning got to do with this dastardly conspiracy? But Satan can be devious with his disguises – just look at that unfortunate incident in the garden when he got us all damned, and one half of humanity proscribed for the ages; it was a bugger of a day for the girls.
Having mounted this massive case about his surprise ‘that a Pell critic such as Crittenden had been appointed to a senior position at the royal commission’, Gerry delivers the coup de grâce.
It would have been like appointing Andrew Bolt to a senior management position at the royal commission into trade union governance and corruption.
Poor, sad Gerry – he does not understand, and he never will, that very many Australians, including me, think that his mate Tony Abbott did a lot worse than that in appointing his mate Dyson Heydon to run that royal commission.
And Gerry – that other royal commission can say what it likes about George, but nothing they say will come anywhere near to causing the damage that George has brought on himself and his church.
And finally, Gerry – in addition to harbouring Bolshie views, I’m a ghastly snob; I only wear shirts from Jermyn Street; I only wear ties by Hermès or Ferragamo; and I have just acquired a Zegna scarf to add to the Hermès number – so you can put me down as a card carrying communist who should go straight to the head of the Watch Lists maintained by Opus Dei and the Society of Jesus.
A Big Thank You…
….to the person who kindly sent me that wonderful hamper. Your graceful note did not disclose your identity. I recall some reference to being saved from the communists. Was it, you, perhaps, Gerry? God does after all work in mysterious ways.
Poet of the month: A D Hope
The Apotolesm of W B Yeats
Such a grand story
Of Willy Yeats,
Keeping his warm bed
Under the slates
To a tale of milkmaids
His friend relates:
‘At churns in Sligo
The wenches hum:
Come butter, Come butter,
Every lump as
Big as my bum!’
A milkmaid mounting
The poet’s stair;
A blackbird trilling
His country air;
Butter and bottom,
The muse was there.
Sheep in the meadow,
Cows in the corn;
Come Willy Butler
Blow up your horn!
Out of such moments
Beauty is born.