Bob Ellis is lucky he has such a large deposit of intellectual capital built up over 40 or so years, otherwise I doubt anyone would publish him today. Certainly not as a political analyst where he has developed an unenviable record of writing complete rubbish.
However, perhaps the date of his ultimate decline ought to be set at today with this piece published in The Drum. Headed “How Labor can win in New South Wales”, an untenable proposition in itself, this paragraph, which purports to show that the Libs are unfit to rule, particularly caught my eye:
“Askin was a crook, Brogden a suicide, Coleman lost his own seat and in NSW the Greiner government was investigated for corruption. All this happened in O’Farrell’s and Skinner’s time as backroomers and they probably looked the other way.”
Now, he’s probably right about Askin, but why these 35 year old allegations should give Labor an edge is unclear, given its own reputation for corruption. How “Brogden a suicide” got through the editor puzzles me. It’s a nasty brutal allegation that stigmatises mental illness in a way we have been trying to eliminate in the last 10 years.
The Coleman point is pointless – John Howard lost his seat, but what bearing did that have on the quality of government he provided? The allegation about Greiner is technically correct but practically dishonest. The “corruption” consisted of offering a position to Terry Metherell, an independent, which he accepted, causing a by-election beneficial to the Greiner government. Charges of corruption against Greiner went to court and were dismissed.
Concocting this cocktail is one thing, but to take it and throw it over O’Farrell in an attempt to smear him is completely unpardonable.
It’s time for the curtain to fall on Ellis’s career as a political “commentator”.