What is it about Labor, and the left more generally, that it plays the person rather than the ball, and applies the techniques of social exclusion rather than logic and rational persuasion? And why does the media play along with Labor when it does?
Tony Abbott is overseas representing Australia, and from what I can see, doing a damned good job of it. Yet the demonisation at home continues apace.
We have what Dr Spooner could only have described as the “shining wits” of Twitter picking up on a slight slip of the tongue over #Canadia, which is then magnified and rebroadcast by mainstream media, as proof that Abbott is a dolt.
Yesterday’s edition of Rupert Murdoch’s (yes that Murdoch) throwaway tabloid MX running with the teaser “Grab today’s mX to see how Marinko “Mad Doge” Matosevic made an utter Tony Abbott of himself in London overnight”, using “Tony Abbott” as a synonym for sexist and misogynist.
And then to add insult to injury, Hilary Clinton rushes into the fray, referring to the sexism and misogyny that Julia Gillard had to face as prime minister of Australia, surely a reference to Gillard’s “I will not be lectured by this man” speech, one of the great verbals of this century so far.
This is the same Julia Gillard who is looking more and more the gangster’s moll as the Royal Commission progresses, who ought to be the subject of on- and off-line conversation everywhere on the basis of facts, not allegations of discrimination.
I’ve even been lectured by teenagers on the stupidity of Tony Abbott because a comedian in the US by the name of John Oliver did a satirical video of him, failing to notice that this same John Oliver gave the same treatment to the French president Francois Hollande the week before.
(The lesson to draw from this treatment is not that Abbott is an idiot, but that Australia looms as large in the US as France).
And then there was Abbott’s “Yeah, I know I’m being set up but I think I can handle it” wink when a talk back caller claimed to be a 67 year old grandmother reduced to phone sex work to make ends meet, which the Twits, and many media described as “sleazy”.
Oh, and getting off Abbott for a moment, how is it a scandal for some protesters loosely supportive of the coalition to brandish banners saying “Ditch the Witch” in reference to Julia Gillard, but not when Tony Burke sends out emails under the ALP banner calling Bronwyn Bishop “Dolores Umbrage”, one of the witches from the Harry Potter series?
(I’m pointing out the hypocrisy here, not disputing the accuracy of either description).
None of this is accidental, and all of this is typical.
To see how typical it is, just look at the last election campaigns the ALP has run around the country. In every single one of them, rather than arguing policies, the pitch has been that their opponent is either too stupid, or too corrupt, to run the country.
In the last round of elections these allegations didn’t work, but they did work a treat for a number of years.
It’s ironic that at the same time as we are being urged to become culturally more sensitive to bullying, half of our polity is engaged in the school yard “mean girls” approach to gaining and winning power.
It’s about time that the nerds struck back.