No we can’t
Try as I might, I cannot pinpoint the exact moment or instance, when the world’s conservative parties shifted from extolling tradition and practising good manners, to embracing corruption and malfeasance.
So for convenience sake I cite the election of Barack Obama who served as the 44th President of the United States of America.
Yes I know there are thousands of other instances, but stay with me.
Barack Hussein Obama II served as President from 2009 to 2017. He is a Democrat, and the first African-American President of the United States.
Obama electrified the world with the slogan, Yes We Can.
So is it fair to say that race has altered the behaviour of all conservative politicians, and prompted them to behave like James Bond villains?
I realise this might be a bit of stretch especially in Australia which is, so we are told, the most successful multi-cultural nation on the planet.
But allow me to present a couple of examples of race-based spite which proves my point.
Exhibit one. A couple of vile epithets written by a so-called journalist employed by News Corp, which as AIM readers know, aids and abets conservative corruption and ill will.
Exhibit two. The increasingly hysterical reaction to the Corona virus, and exhibit three the failure of the Closing the Gap initiative.
Let’s start with News Corp’s Tim Blair.
Consider these two pejorative examples of Blair’s wit. Sudafednasalspray, and Sweatpeahummusstain – both coined by Blair to belittle Thinethavone or Tim, Soutphommasane.
Soutphommasane, who served as Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2013 to 2018, has so far written and published three books. He is an Oxford graduate, the Director of Cultural Strategy and Professor of Practice (Sociology and Political Theory) at the University of Sydney.
Blair on the other hand peddles his scribbles to Quadrant and News Corp. In a less than stellar career Tim claims to have worked as an elbows-out jobber on Sport Illustrated, Truth and Time.
A simple comparison of both men boils down to the vulgar American colloquialism; shit and Shinola.
Tim Blair’s sustained campaign against Soutphommasane segues to my second example; incipient racism following the spread of the Corona virus.
But let’s stay with the object of Tim Blair’s spite.
Last week Soutphommasane and colleagues at the University of Sydney posted a video on Twitter about the impact of the epidemic.
Soutphommasane, along with academics from across the nation, are acutely aware of the financial catastrophe facing Australian universities, right here, right now.
For the record University lectures begin this week.
Handling the Corona virus requires tact, skill and leadership. But like the elbows-out Tim Blair, the Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton clouded the issue when he said people evacuated from the epidemic’s epicentre Wuhan, to Christmas Island would be expected to pay $1000.
Treasurer Josh Frydenburg quickly closed down Dutton’s gaff on Insiders. Since then Frydenburg has valiantly defended the Government’s ever-shrinking and rapidly disappearing Budget Surplus.
To its credit the SBS is reporting the rise of racism and the Corona virus as per this item by Tom Stayner. So to exhibit three: the umpteenth failure of the bipartisan Closing the Gap initiative.
During Question Time on February 12 2020, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison took an Opposition dixer about the failure of the most recent Closing the Gap report to reach its targets.
Reading from speaking notes, the PM mouthed platitudes. ‘More needed to be done to improve the lot of Aboriginal Australians’, quoth he.
In reality Australia has barely moved an iota toward Closing the Gap since the landmark date of February 13 2008 when Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to Aboriginal Australians.
Mindful of this, Labor Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese offered an olive branch of sorts to the Government. Albanese suggested the Government at least consider a change to the Australian Constitution.
This change Albo argued, conforms with the aspirations of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, a document which outlines a way forward for the recognition of Aboriginal Australians in the Constitution.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart seeks to give Aboriginal Australians a voice in laws and policies made about them … ergo Closing the Gap.
And the Prime Minister’s response?
No We Can’t.
While Australians rightly demand action on climate change, surely we must also call an end to bigotry and boycott racist muck peddlers like Tim Blair.
As mega blazes burn the oxygen we breathe, and one-in-a hundred years floods inundate our homes, it is racism which corrodes the nation’s soul.
Unless we the people vote out the likes of Doctor No and Blofeld and their villainous mouthpieces like Tim Blair, we shall remain vassals of an utterly corrupt global conservative movement.
To paraphrase the words of the John Lennon song Working Class Hero, [the conservatives] “keep you doped with religion and sex and TV. And you think you’re so clever and classless and free, but you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.”
Henry Johnston is a Sydney-based author. His latest book, The Last Voyage of Aratus is on sale here.
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A clear and thoughtful essay. Thank you
Blair is one of Murdoch’s haemorrhoidal horrors, a scribbling scrit, squirt and shit, fit for nothing beyond childish yelling, You’d find a better human equivalent under a dead goat’s tail, unwashed. The Battalion of bullshitting blatherers hired by the Great Media Maggot is fit for propaganda, lies, filth, wordy wormy willy wacking, but cannot embrace truth, facts, sense, science or reality. Blair to someone decent like Soutphommasane is as Shit sandwiches, to Sugarcoated sweets. But ignorant grubs and growths like Blair are not capable of knowing what grubs and growths they are. Why should we converse about a pillock of poo like Blair..? Because they are a disgrace to all of us. here and worldwide. May Blair masturbate his misshapen minimaggot down to sub blistered size and disappear up his own date.
Tim Blair is the voice of those who routinely trawl pub urinals and street gutters in search of half-smoked ciggie butts.
“Try as I might, I cannot pinpoint the exact moment or instance, when the world’s conservative parties shifted from extolling tradition and practising good manners, to embracing corruption and malfeasance.”
That is because there is no such moment. I came of age, politically speaking, in the early 70s, when, having joined the Socialist Youth in my home country, I received a thorough introduction into the perfidity of the CIA-led Operation Condor in South and Central America. But politically motivated perfidity goes back a lot further than that, and also is not exactly the sole preserve of the conservative/reactionary side of politics.
Which brings me to Blair’s puerile twisting of Soutphommasane’s name: again, reactionary scribblers aren’t the only ones doing it, as can be readily ascertained by reading articles and commentary on The AIMN. For example. Indeed, I have done it myself, and thought myself immensely clever for doing it. Why, just yesterday I referred to B. Joice as “the Beetrooter”. Classy!
As to Soutphommasane drawing attention to the dire financial situation of Australian universities, that’s an old hat:
As well, this is a chapeau the universities chose all by themselves to fashion and wear: the grossly overpaid vice chancellors in charge of administrating University finances are all academics themselves. Further, all those involved in setting and administrating the context of tertiary funding – politicians, civil servants and bureaucrats, etc. – would all hold at least an undergraduate degree, meaning that the ideas that underpin the dismal administration of university funding were either received, or at the very least not challenged, during their university days. Ok, so Keating never went to uni – but Labor education minister John Dawkins held an economics degree from the Uni of WA.
As for thinking that I am “so clever and classless and free”, as blue-collar libertarian (anarchist) communist, I have long since disabused myself of that paryicular delusion. But I can see plenty of folks all around me who clearly haven’t.
In Australia, the corruption and malfeasance began with the Conservatives plotting the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975. It spelt the end of democracy in Australia although it wasn’t considered so at the time. It took a few more years for the right conditions and the right man to emerge. And he wasn’t even a conservative.
Bob Hawke deregulated the financial markets here, something the compliant media still tell us was a good thing. The one stumbling block that stood in the way of the trickle-up economy, i.e. trade union movement, was minimised either through government legislation or partnerships; somewhat ironic since the architect of the reforms was its former boss.