In the hour and a half it took me to drive to Sydney on August 23, I listened to what seemed like the imminent political disintegration of Australia on my radio. Could post-modern Australian politics really sink any further?
For some odd reason I tried to imagine what Shakespeare might have said about this whole matter – or failing him Winston Churchill. During my extremely distant schooldays, the English boarding school I attended fell within the political constituency of Winston Churchill who sometimes used our great hall for the purpose of political speeches simply because it was the largest auditorium in the area.
At his very finest Churchill could match the eloquence of Shakespeare and I have humbly stood in the very room at Churchill’s sometime country house – Chartwell at Westerham in Kent – where he once agonised endlessly over the precise wording of his most memorable wartime speeches. Churchill understood the power of words in a manner almost unimaginable today largely because he was such a lucid, gifted and accomplished writer himself. Imagine for a moment almost any modern politician trying to mouth the immortal words: ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’ words uttered by Churchill almost exactly 78 years ago (20.8.1940) at the conclusion of that vast aerial conflict which constituted the Battle of Britain. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that Churchill’s wartime speeches contributed substantially to the favourable outcome of the war for the allied cause. Churchill also wrote ‘Let us brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour”.’ Who can even begin to write words like that today let alone deliver them so memorably to a parliament of his peers?
In his resignation address Malcolm Turnbull spoke fondly of the ‘progressive’ nature of his three year reign as exemplified by matters such as a successful vote for ‘marriage equality’ which as every properly educated person ought to know by now is simply a concept borrowed from the standard Marxist playbook. Marx’s passionate aim was to crush the vital concepts of the family and Christian belief so that a purely notional Marxist ‘utopia’ might flourish. Marxist ideas have infiltrated intellectual thought now for 170 years yet where has such a utopia ever existed? The simple answer is nowhere. Marxism has brought nothing but horror and misery to our world and continues to do so, generally while hiding behind the false rhetoric of ‘progress’.
By the end of this week a short, new book by me is due to hit bookstalls. Among other matters Post-Modernist Australia: How To Create An Unholy Mess (Connor Court) does its best to unpick the insidious nonsense promoted largely through rhetorical use of language. The word ‘progress’ is sometimes appropriate when applied to medical research or aeronautical design, say, yet is very seldom if ever so when used in political or social contexts. When thus used by Turnbull it simply represents fathomless flannel.
In the aftermath of the latter’s departure the best article I have read so far was offered by Richard Alston in the pages of the Weekend Australian. Oddly I interviewed that former senator for that precise publication when I first came to Australia myself some twenty years ago. The beginning of the end for me as a News Corps journalist began a year or two later when I described intellectual life in Australia as ‘rather less than effervescent’ in an article I wrote for The Spectator. Within days I was hauled before the then editor-in-chief of the Australian to apologise, which perhaps rather proved my point. My new book makes the point that the whole of post-modernism which has been with us now for more than 50 years is simply Marxism dressed in a carefully-concocted disguise.
Do I still entertain any regrets about my departure from a News Corps paper? In the Weekend Australian of August 25-26 another regular columnist offers the following explanation of very recent events: ‘The coup against Turnbull had all the subtlety of a chainsaw massacre, removing a prime minister who, despite three years of daily, calculated destabilisation from within and remorseless criticism from the delcons without remained the government’s best electoral asset’.
Did I really read that? No doubt anyone who has ever written for this very magazine will be airily dismissed as a ‘delcon’ – probably including me who first made my minor reputation as a journalist via some 500 articles written for The Spectator in Britain between 1984 and 1995.
It is hard not to feel utter despair for Australia when a paragraph such as the foregoing appears in Australia’s supposedly best centre-right newspaper. I had the great good fortune once to live under some 26 years of almost uninterrupted conservative government under such figures as Margaret Thatcher and John Howard and to serve the former as an official advisor on The Arts & Heritage and the National Curriculum. As atheism is an absolute pre-condition of Marxist belief so respect for the achievements of Christianity is similarly an absolute pre-condition of true conservatism.
The proper sphere for rhetoric – which is language designed simply to persuade or impress – is, if anywhere, advertising. Turnbull’s so-called ‘progressive’ liberalism has done great harm to the way we can and should value continuity in our lives and in our thoughts. Radicalism does have an appropriate place in human life but so, too, does the great virtue of continuity. Re-inventing age-old moral codes is easy to advocate until the inevitable consequences begin sooner or later to catch up. An Australia run for the benefit of the electorate – rather than just the elected – is by now an extremely overdue need.