Greg Sheridan has excelled himself in the last few days. On Saturday, his piece began:
François Hollande is Donald Trump’s first big casualty in Europe.
The bland French president, who only a few days ago looked every inch his country’s Hillary Clinton, has made the shock announcement that he will not seek re-election.
Trump-style populist insurrection is roiling Europe as strongly as it roiled the US. Europe’s professional political class is under as widespread and sustained attack from the continent’s own populists as the American political class has been from the Trumpers.
… France has now had two presidential terms of unequivocal failure, one from the centre-right, one from the centre-left. This is an almost perfect analogue to the conditions that brought Trump to power in the US. They are tailor made for the National Front’s Marine le Pen.
It is, frankly, a bit hard to see how Trump could have brought down the French president – whose approval rating had fallen to 4% before Trump was elected. And you notice we still get those references to the ‘professional political class’ – of which Mr Sheridan is certainly a member.
Then a few days later on the front page of the newspaper we got this:
US president-elect Donald Trump was absolutely right to take a phone call from Taiwan’s President….
By this one 10-minute call he has done something that was utterly beyond Barack Obama in eight feckless years in the White House – he has put the Chinese leadership off balance.
How would he know how China is reacting, and if he is correct, how does it help the US – or us – will to put China off balance?
But the prize for bullshit on the weekend, and a strong contender for bullshit of the year, goes to Chris Kenny. He has a very different view of the significance of the election of Trump for Australians. The heading of the piece is Trump’s triumph vindicates Abbott. It starts as follows:
Our political/media class –[Look, Mum, no hands!] – seems to have conveniently overlooked the most telling domestic lesson from the Trump ascendancy. Perhaps they worry it exposes their lack of judgement.
Donald Trump’s election triumph buttresses the argument that Tony Abbott’s overthrow was unnecessary – that he would have won this year’s election. It gives weight to the claim his poor mid-term polling was meaningless and that his known strengths were electorally compelling.
Those of us who have long made this case believe that, for all his faults, Abbott’s strong positions on border protection, national security, climate caution [!], union corruption and budget discipline would contrast sharply with Labor. The political/media class, however, declared Abbott an embarrassment and barracked for a coup.
We will never know. But everything that has transpired since Abbott’s knifing tends to bolster the position: from the way Malcolm Turnbull has struggled to display certitude to how Bill shorten hasn’t had to duck a punch; from the Prime Minister’s own polling and near defeat to Britain’s clear statement of faith in sovereignty through Brexit; and from Trump’s focus on borders and disdain for the dominant media narrative to his victory despite the polling consensus.
This flight from reality is truly unnerving. The bullshit is mind blasting. What on earth do we understand from ‘Britain’s clear statement of faith in sovereignty through Brexit’? They have been like bunnies under a spotlight since they realised that they got sold a pup by two crooks who are almost as bad as Donald Trump.
These people who are so happy with Trump – yes the political/media class or part of it – are riding for a big gutser. It is a shame this newspaper is so infested with Liberal rejects and Labor rats. When the government announced a review of policy, the paper launched an editorial and three columnists. They are helping the reactionaries to ensure a Labor win. One of the cavemen said of the proposed review: ‘It was a clear attempt to reintroduce a price on hot air to satisfy the extreme greens and others seduced by the socialist alarmism of anthropogenic climate change.’ Goebbels would have been in awe. So would Freud.
Poet of the month: Vergil (Eclogues)
Here, wheat, there, vines, flourish more happily:
trees elsewhere, and grasses, shoot up unasked for.
See how Tmolus sends us saffron fragrance,
India, ivory, the gentle Sabeans, their incense,
while the naked Chalybes send iron, Pontus rank
beaver-oil, Epirus the glories of her mares from Elis.
Nature has necessarily imposed these rules, eternal laws,
on certain places, since ancient times, when Deucalion
hurled stones out into the empty world,
from which a tough race of men was born.
Come: and let your strong oxen turn the earth’s rich soil,
right away, in the first months of the year,
and let the clods lie for dusty summer to bake them in full sun:
but if the earth has not been fertile it’s enough to lift it
in shallow furrows, beneath Arcturus: in the first case
so that the weeds don’t harm the rich crops, in the other,
so what little moisture there is doesn’t leave the barren sand.