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Tag Archives: Thatcher Memorial Lecture

“Jesus Got It Wrong”, Tony Abbott’s Thatcher Memorial Lecture.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, obviously you don’t mean foreigners trying to enter our country illegally just because they’re fleeing from persecution?”

Jesus replied, “Did I f*cking stutter?”

So our Tony has graced the international stage with his presence, delivering the Thatcher Memorial Lecture. Maggie Thatcher has always been a polarising figure within society. With some pleased that there is a memorial lecture for her, while others just wish it had happened sooner – many decades sooner! Abbott has merely divided his own party.

Abbott’s lecture was most instructive because it was almost an allegory of his time as leader of the Liberal Party. Full of strong rhetoric, with plenty of evidence to back up the very opposite of what he’s saying.

Although, I did find myself agreeing with Abbott when he said:

“In this audience, some may be disappointed that my own prime ministership in Australia lasted two years after removing Labor from office…”

Actually, I think that it’s more those here in Australia are disappointed that your prime ministership lasted two years. I suspect that your British audience couldn’t care less about your sudden end. And you did suggest to them that

“Implicitly or explicitly, the imperative to “love your neighbour as you love yourself” is at the heart of every Western polity. It expresses itself in laws protecting workers, in strong social security safety nets, and in the readiness to take in refugees. It’s what makes us decent and humane countries as well as prosperous ones, but – right now – this wholesome instinct is leading much of Europe into catastrophic error.”

See, it’s not just Pope Francis who’s been getting it wrong. Jesus, himself, didn’t fully understand how much trouble this loving thy neighbour stuff could get you into. Probably why Abbott had to leave the priesthood: The realisation that Jesus’ feeding the multitudes with the loaves and fishes had led to the entitlement expectations which caused the budget emergency that Australia was still paying off.

He went on tell us that countries would be better to slam the door shut on refugees, as he had done. I mean he wasn’t there to tell people how great he was. After all, earlier in his speech, he’d humbly told the gathered throng:

“It’s usually presumptuous to invoke the glorious dead in support of current policy – but your invitation to give this lecture suggests there was at least a hint of Thatcher about my government in Australia: stopping the flow of illegal immigrant boats because a country that can’t control its borders starts to lose control of itself; the repeal of the carbon tax that was socialism masquerading as environmentalism; budget repair so that within five years, the Australian government will once again be living within its means; the free trade agreements with our biggest markets to increase competition and make it fairer; the royal commission into corrupt union bosses; an even stronger alliance with the United States and a readiness to call out Russia for the shooting down of a civilian airliner.”

Conveniently overlooking that Europe is not “girt by sea” and that it’s not just a question of stopping a relatively minor number of boats, he went on to tell them to send back those illegal immigrants, before reminding everyone that ISIS was a “death cult”, barbaric and dangerous, but, hey, if people want to flee that, well, it shouldn’t be your problem. In other words, not only should we ignore the founder of his faith, but let’s just trash the UN convention on refugees, and say every man for himself.

After all, isn’t that what Thatcher would have wanted.

All this is just typical Tony. It was some of his comments on Thatcher that gave me a new lack of respect for Abbott’s mental faculties. For example:

“On Soviet missiles aimed at Europe, she didn’t see nuclear annihilation to be averted at all cost but an evil empire to be shown that aggression would not pay.”

Yep, we don’t need to avoid “nuclear annihilation”, we need to stand up to that “evil empire” (I think he still means the Soviets, although he may be suggesting that Maggie thought she was Luke Skywalker), even if means being annihilated. At least we’d be able to say that we showed those Soviets that aggression didn’t pay. Or we would if we all weren’t annihilated. But it was this little throwaway line that should send a shudder down the collective spine of the Liberal Party . . .

Actually, they wouldn’t have a “collective” spine, would they? Far too socialist.

“That was the essence of her greatness: on the things that mattered, she refused to believe that nothing could be done and would work relentlessly to set things right.”

Do I detect a whiff of his personal circumstances in that one?

Abbott’s recent speech makes good comic reading now that he’s no longer PM, and makes me think that a crowdfunding project where we book him to speak at a function where all the latte-sipping lefties can turn up to laugh at him and heckle might be a goer. Although, there is a chance that we’ll be competing with Turnbull millions, with Malcolm rumoured to be booking him for as many overseas appearances as possible for the next twelve months including Syria and Antarctica.

As I said yesterday, while I disagree with much that Turnbull is still doing – and yes there are still a number of people in his Cabinet that are only there for comic relief – there seems to be a more civilised tone returning to the conversations about how we deny people human rights, screw the poor and disadvantaged and destroy our natural resources. Less shrill screaming about how dare people use the law courts, and more attempts to persuade people that selling our coal is just part of our overall foreign aid program.

If I attempted to engage Turnbull by suggesting that renewables are the way of the future, I suspect that he’d reply by saying that coal will still be a part of the mix for a long time to come. If I suggested that he read up on disruptive innovation, he would undoubtedly tell me that he has, and that coal isn’t going to disappear overnight to which I’d reply that’s Kodak before they went broke and he’d say that Kodak had nothing to with coal and I’d say that he was just trying to change the subject and he’d point out that I was the one who brought up Kodak and then start talking about Kodak and his theory on why it went broke before I interrupted and…

Anyway, it’s a far cry from debating it with Abbott which would go something like this.

“Renewables will replace coal as the number one power source in the next few years.”

“Coal provides jobs. Doesn’t Rossleigh care about jobs? Or does he just care about his own?”
“I do care about jobs. There won’t be any jobs when the coal industry collapses because it’s not economical to mine it.”
“Rossleigh professes to care about jobs, yet he was part of the Labor government that run up a Budget deficit that we’ll never be able to repay.”

“No I wasn’t, but haven’t you run up an even bigger deficit?”

“We have the Budget back on the path to a sustainable surplus in 2050. Unlike you who’s never produced a surplus in your life.”

“I’ve never bean Treasurer.”

“And thank God for that, because with your policies we’d all be living in caves without electricity. It’s coal that’s given us progress and without coal, humanity would still be swinging in the trees…”

“Hang on, is it caves or trees?”

‘”It’s both. You’d have us all homeless and it’s only the Liberal Party who can deliver jobs and growth because we’re the ones who stopped the boats. There hasn’t been a single boat arrive in the last eighteen months.”
“Didn’t one land on Christmas Island earlier this year?”
“We never comment on operational matters!”

Well, I’ll leave Abbott with the last word. Summing up, he concluded his Maggie speech with the following:

“All of us, then, must ponder Margaret Thatcher’s example while we wait to see who might claim her mantle. Good values, clear analysis, and a do-able plan, in our day as in hers, are the essentials of the strong leadership the world needs.”

Mm, I wonder if he has anyone in mind … David Cameron? Rupert Murdoch? Donald Trump? Himself?

Well, you can bet he doesn’t mean Pope Francis!