September 17, 2012

Sucker Punch

Tony Abbott, the man who nearly won an unwinnable federal election, is looking suspiciously like a man on the verge of being felled by a punch he either did or didn't throw when he was a young and silly university lad.  

Even for our superficial, absurd political arena, this is strange stuff.  You'd hope Abbott, or any of them, would be down for the count based on policies, incompetence, tin-ear-syndrome,  ignorance of macro economics - or anything other than being a jerk on campus 35 years ago.  The latter would rule out pretty much anyone who has ever been to university from holding any responsible job in life. 

Yet, the unstoppable Abbott is suddenly quite stoppable.  

Julia Gillard must be doing a few happy dances around The Lodge kitchen. 

Robert Manne, a professor of politics at La Trobe University, jumped into a bit of public thinking, to offer this scholarly spin on the story so far (emphasis added):
...  Simple common sense suggests that Patch was telling the truth. It is unlikely that a barrister would have lied about such a matter. But if he had, why would he have weakened his testimony by revealing that he had not actually been an eyewitness to the incident?
There are reasonable grounds for arguing about whether or not the violent and misogynist behaviour of the present Leader of the Opposition 35 years ago should be held against him now. There are, however, no grounds for doubting that Tony Abbott has seriously misled the nation with his comments to Stefanovic on Friday, because the story of the punch he threw at Barbara Ramjan is almost certainly in essence true.
Our trite politics.  Our trite would-be public intellectuals.  

It's enough to make a grown-up weep.  

Sparring in the ring of truth


  1. It really is pathetic. Note the casual passing slur of Sheridan and Abbott by association with the NCC. So what? Many conservative Catholics were in the 1970's especially on campuses. Manne would have to be the last person to throw up 35 year old student political associations. The NCC is far far preferable to what would be on the political CV of "Australia's leading public intellectual".

    I remember Abbot from student politics. Also Peter Costello, Peter Beattie and Michael Danby. They were the good guys as far as I was concerned and I had no hesitation supporting NCC aligned candidates (and Liberal Party and ALP; but not Country Party because it had been infiltrated by the League of Rights -- I preferred even the CPA to them.)

    Does Manne really not know what student politics were like in the 1970's? It was very easy to cop a bashing if you were caught in the wrong place and it wasn't the NCC that was doing the bashing.

    The NCC guys (they were all guys) were social conservatives but the main thing about them for me is that they were anti-Communist ( to say the least)

    That meant they were cool by me.

  2. Agree with all that, Geoffff.

    Most disturbing of all are our journalists, still gulping down the Kool-aid, in cahoots with politicians to make us all dumber, as quickly as possible.

    A 90 page essay, with a single paragraph endlessly debated. Nothing about the other 32,000 or so words of analysis of the man most likely to be the next PM.

    There's no hope this will change.