By Andrew Bolt ~
Paul Kelly is furious that voters are fed up with the political class and demand change.
He lashes out, attacking scapegoats as he confuses cause and effect:
The conservative side of Australian politics is now devouring itself, consumed by personal aggrandisement, ideological delusion and populist fervour in an upheaval likely to destroy the Turnbull government, deliver power to the Labor Party and generate a structural split among conservatives that will weaken their cause for years to come.
The grandest hoax of our time, pumped out daily by conservative media outlets, is that the present Donald Trump-inspired turbulence will make conservatism in Australia ever stronger. In truth, conservatism in this country is being trashed. Every principle and value of genuine conservatism is being ripped up in an orgy of indulgent self-interest that exposes the intellectual and moral weakness of conservatism in Australia and its abject corruption by Trumpism.
But let’s start with one corrective and one inconvenient historical fact.
The grandest hoax of our time is in fact the claim – pumped out by the likes of Paul Kelly – that man-made global warming is a catastrophic threat that demands painful sacrifices from voters, by hook or by crook.
The hectoring and lecturing and lying and hypocrisy that the political class then indulge in to spread this catastrophism – and promote their totally useless job-killing sacrifices – are in fact one of the many reasons that so many voters no longer trust them.
And the historical fact; Pauline Hanson and her three senators were all elected before Donald Trump. In other words, Kelly is confusing cause with effect. Trump himself is a symptom of the upheaval, rather than the cause. He won because voters wanted dramatic change in the first place.
Indeed, the number of conservatives here who supported Trump before he won the Republican nomination is tiny. I didn’t, for instance. Greg Sheridan didn’t. Tony Abbott didn’t. Cory Bernardi and George Christensen were about the only Coalition MPs who dared to cheer.
But Trump is now there, and it’s clear that many voters are screaming for change.
It is a huge mistake of the progressives to blame “populists” for this.
For a start, “populist” is a curse-word used far too readily by Kelly and his like. Too often they say “populist” when they actually mean “popular” – as in something demanded by or approved of by many people. But isn’t doing what the public wants the very essence of democracy?
More importantly, to blame “populists” for a great public movement is to treat the public as malleable – clay to be shaped any which way by a clever columnist or cunning politician. If that were true then the political class, which so dominates the positions of power, would have a very docile electorate. How come the public is not responding to them, instead?
No, people react more to their circumstances rather than to what their “betters” tell them – although, yes, there are indeed unprincipled leaders and propagandists that endorse what they should condemn and feed what they should starve.
But in this case the truth is obvious: conservatives are not destroying the Liberals. The Liberals are instead being destroyed by the Left, into whose hands the party has fallen.
(TonyfromOz adds that here in Australia, The Liberal Party is the major political party from the Conservative side of the political fence.)
If the Liberals had recognised sooner that they were not giving voters what they wanted they would be in much better shape. And they will recover once they are led from the top by someone who in their person symbolises the values of the party and the voters it seeks to represent.
Who believes that? Why, Paul Kelly himself:
Turnbull is unable to counter the fragmentation and upheaval within conservative politics. He never calls himself a conservative and is not seen as a conservative. Turnbull lacks a voice in this contest for the Liberal Party soul…
Any Coalition government that loses its conservative base vote cannot endure. Yet there is no strategic game plan to save that base as Hanson and Bernardi exploit this vacuum…
Turnbull stands by the same-sex marriage plebiscite, champions coal, ditches the emissions intensity scheme, reopens the section 18C issue and wins Trump on border protection. Yet the populist conservatives are unpersuaded. Their problem is not Turnbull’s policies — it is Turnbull himself. They won’t accept Turnbull because he is a progressive, not a conservative. If they won’t accept his middle-ground pragmatism then Turnbull faces a permanent problem on his Right flank.
There’s your problem right there, even allowing for Kelly’s refusal to concede that Turnbull actually has not done enough at all to fight the global warming scare, lower power prices, defend free speech, reject identity politics or crack down on immigration levels – all issues taken up by Pauline Hanson and Cory Bernardi. Kelly also misrepresents Turnbull’s commitment to a people’s vote on same-sex marriage – a vote he long opposed and which he still won’t rule out ditching.
The Trump phenomenon is really not that hard to understand or even that monstrous. The public just wants more conservative policies, and the political class – overwhelming Left and overwhelmingly in change of state institutions – does not want to surrender its privileges.
On which side of that battle is Kelly?
Andrew Bolt writes for the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, and The Advertiser and runs Australia’s most-read political blog. On week nights he hosts The Bolt Report on Sky News at 7pm and his Macquarie Radio show at 8pm with Steve Price.