Tom Switzer rss

Salad days

8 August 2015
When we were young & foolish: A memoir of my misguided youth with Tony Abbott, Bob Carr, Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd & other reprobates Greg Sheridan

Allen & Unwin, pp.366, $34.99, ISBN: 9781760113391

If you enjoy reading Greg Sheridan’s Diaries in this magazine, you’ll love this book. The author, a 30-year veteran journalist at the Australian, has his eyes and ears perpetually on… Read more


Richard Nixon – comeback kid

26 July 2014
The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority Patrick J. Buchanan

The Crown Publishing Group, pp.392, £22.50, ISBN: 9780553418637

Winston Churchill once said of politics that it’s ‘almost as exciting as war and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics — many… Read more


12 April 2014

A lamentable by-product of the media in the digital age is its frequent lack of good manners. Ridiculing opponents rather than answering their arguments increasingly characterises what passes for public… Read more


Two cheers for Bowen

16 November 2013
Hearts & Minds: A blueprint for modern Labor Chris Bowen

MUP, pp.154, $24.99, ISBN: 9780522864434

Since I know Speccie readers like a bit of a shock, let me oblige: I think Chris Bowen is a top bloke. We went to university together more than two… Read more

A foreign policy realist

7 September 2013

‘The United States does not want either side to win this war. Victory for either side would mean dreadful massacres and ethnic cleansing, as well as an increased threat of… Read more


Conservative landslide in Australia: Tony Abbott will crush Kevin Rudd

24 August 2013

Sometimes only a cliché will do, especially when the subject is the Australian Labor party. Labor is holed beneath the water line and is sinking fast. No one, not even… Read more

An all-too-familar ritual: Pakistanis protest against US drone attacks on the northwestern tribal belt, January 2013

Foreign Policy Begins at Home, by Richard N. Haass - review

6 July 2013
Foreign Policy Begins at Home Richard N. Haass

Basic Books, pp.208, £17.99, ISBN: 9780465057986

A year or so after the ‘liberation’ of Iraq, an unnamed senior Bush administration official (later revealed to be Karl Rove) boasted: ‘We are an empire now, and when we… Read more

29 May 2013

Washington, D.C. Five years. If a week, as Harold Wilson once observed, is a long time in politics, five years is a virtual eternity. How strange then that in all that… Read more


6 March 2013

Washington, D.C. ‘There’s a tremendous amount on the line [in Iraq]. If this goes wrong, of course, [neoconservatives] will be, to some degree, discredited. Justifiably so. We put forward these… Read more

A slow-motion car crash

23 February 2013

A rule of so-called quality journalism is that one should never use clichés. But they are unavoidable in describing today’s Labor party. What Australians are watching here is the political… Read more

Diary Australia – 11 August

11 August 2012

Mates tell me I am foolishly resistant to social media. In having nothing to do with Twitter, they say, I make my life less interesting and stimulating. I am not… Read more

Australian Books: House style

10 December 2011

Bringing Down The House By Barry Cohen Connor Court, $29.95, pp 260 ISBN 9781921421938 If you enjoy reading the Cut & Paste section in the Australian, you’ll love this book.… Read more

I ain’t marching anymore

19 November 2011

Forget the US – it’s time to get out of Afghanistan Canberra The first time I turned out for a US president was two decades ago when George H.W. Bush… Read more

The great denier

25 June 2011

Nick Minchin is perhaps uniquely adept at doling out the ideological red meat to his party’s centre-right base. But what a surprise it is to find that this 32-year veteran… Read more

A Shakespearean tragedy in Canberra

23 April 2011

What with everything else going on in the world, you might be forgiven for thinking that this Easter week’s stories about Julia Gillard’s predictable poll ratings are of no consequence.… Read more

Turn up the radio

12 March 2011

During Lent, blokes like me need to come clean and reveal their dirty little secrets: to admit that they have not always followed the path of moral righteousness, that they… Read more

A question of degree

19 December 2010

A Guide to Climate Change Lunacy by Mark Lawson Connor Court, $29.95, pp. 228 ISBN 9781921421426 Today, however, the climate has changed so dramatically that only 26 per cent of… Read more


Conservatism has triumphed in Australia, whoever its next PM might be

28 August 2010

He’s ‘too archetypically conservative’. He’s too much of a ‘King Catholic’. He views the world through a ‘narrow ideological prism’. He’ll ‘split the party’. He’s ‘unelectable as prime minister’. Under… Read more

Journos get it wrong (again)

10 July 2010

Shitstorm: Inside Labor’s Darkest Days by Lenore Taylor & David Uren MUP, $34.99 pp. 276, ISBN 9780522857290 At first this seems a simple, intriguing little tale about how Australia weathered… Read more

Cameron should have learned from Turnbull

26 May 2010

A centre-right leader won’t win power by turning his back on conservative principles, argues Tom Switzer The odd thing is that so many pundits and political professionals deluded themselves for… Read more

Our Ted Heath

24 February 2010

For more than a decade, Malcolm Fraser has won plaudits from everyone: everyone except those who respect John Howard, that is, which is to say a clear majority of Australians.… Read more

Our Nixonian PM

3 February 2010

‘At one time or another, he had espoused almost every worthy principle, often repeatedly,’ Newsweek once observed of Richard Nixon. ‘But in practice he violated enough of them to make… Read more

Unlikely bedfellows

8 January 2010

The March of Patriots: The Struggle for Modern Australia, by Paul Kelly Melbourne University Press, $60, pp. 709, ISBN 9780522857382 Paul Kelly is the eminence grise of Australian journalism. He… Read more

A global miscalculation

8 January 2010

I am trying to remember now when it was, and where it was, that it hit me. Was it last winter when sales of Ian Plimer’s Heaven & Earth went… Read more

A soft asylum policy will damage Labor

26 November 2009

Why such a panic about a mere 78 boat people? Isn’t it dangerous for Labor and Liberal politicians to exploit the issue of race to whip up fear in the… Read more