The vitriol with which much of the liberal mainstream media responded to Tony Abbott’s Margaret Thatcher memorial speech last month confirmed what many rightwingers have been claiming: that the scorn towards the former PM was a result of his conservative social values and that the problem was not his policies, but rather, his inability to sell them.
I’ve long harboured what’s now an unfashionable affection for the politician, diarist and columnist formally known as The Real Mark Latham. His frustration with the way identity politics has subsumed what passes for political discourse in Australia and his rancour that class is a subject almost entirely absent from mainstream commentary are important issues that are largely ignored by the mainstream media. The irony is that he tries to make this point by attacking individuals – that’s to say, engaging in the very identity politics he says he distains. Similarly, he’s long been an advocate for the kind of neoliberalism that has ensured class has become a dirty word while, at the same time, exacerbating the gulf between the richest and poorest members of society.
Last month, revelations made in a Senate inquiry by Transfield Services, the company contracted to run the Nauru detention centre, illustrated how the Australian government’s callousness and immorality on the issue of asylum seekers is beginning to infect the national consciousness.
It’s hard not to admire Reece Harding, who died in Syria fighting for the Kurdish peshmerga against IS. His sense of social justice, idealism and internationalism led him to take up arms against an organisation he seemingly believed lived up to Tony Abbott’s characterisation as a ‘death cult’.
It’s somewhat sobering to read Jake Bilardi’s final blog post—less manifesto, in parts, more expository essay—and find oneself agreeing with many of his views and opinions on the state of the world. He was revolted with the Israel–Palestine conflict, which he—echoing the title of Max Blumenthal’s latest book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel—characterises as ‘the ultimate David and Goliath story, where the world was wanting so desperately to turn the victim into the oppressor and the oppressor into the victim, with much success’.