Some gags you can’t get enough of, and the suggestion by Mark Latham and others that the astonishing success of the inaugural Conservative Political Action Conference in Sydney owed its good fortune to the ‘advertising skills’ of Labor Senator Kristina Keneally was too good to let go. Like all good jokes, its humour derives largely from the fact that although counter-intuitive, it was undeniably true. Well done to Sarah Dudley and Ben Davis on (yet another) great Speccie cover.
It was on Tuesday, 30 July that Senator Keneally stood up in the virtually empty Senate and launched a snide, sanctimonious and typically undergraduate-style attack (later described as ‘unhinged’) on the upcoming CPAC event, and on one speaker in particular, Raheem Kassam. With less than two weeks to go, tickets still selling only modestly and some speakers still hesitant as to whether or not to attend, Ms Keneally’s broadside was the shot in the arm the conference organisers could only ever have dreamed of. Before you could say ‘Bennelong by-election’, CPAC was packed out. Those sprightly on their feet quickly snapped up tickets, and suddenly every commentator with a vaguely conservative bent begged to speak at the event. Senator Keneally’s ‘cavalcade of intolerance’ had instead become a cavalcade of attendees.
In much the same way that his hapless predecessor made a fool of himself being photographed kissing puppies with ‘Bus Captain’ Kristina Keneally during their disastrous election campaign together, Anthony Albanese made the identical error of snuggling up to Ms Keneally’s foolish CPAC misjudgment when he should of course have distanced himself from it. Sneering at Brexit party leader Nigel Farage for being ‘far right’ and referring to ‘hate speech’ only compounded the folly. The latest polling from the UK suggests Mr Farage may well win a general election, with his popularity streaking ahead in the formerly Labour-held seats in the north. Mr Albanese can only dream of ever having the rapport with, and support of, the genuine blue-collar, beer-swilling working class types who are increasingly drawn to Mr Farage’s Brexit party.
The CPAC event was a huge success, as is wittily detailed by attendee Alexandra Marshall in this week’s cover story. Senator Keneally’s sterling work has almost certainly guaranteed the long-term viability and success of CPAC Australia, an event that brought together Liberty Works, the American Conservative Union, the Institute for Public Affairs and Advance Australia all under one packed-to-the-rafters roof. The cavalcade of conservative speakers included Nigel Farage — who flew out especially for the event and appeared exclusively on the Outsiders on Sky News on his final morning — Peta Credlin, Tony Abbott, the outstanding US congressman for North Carolina Mark Meadows and many others familiar to our readers.
And the message? Clearly, insights, concerns, fears and frustrations surrounding the ‘long march of the Left through the institutions’ were manifold. But one thing that repeatedly emerged is the conservative faith in the wisdom, instincts, common sense and decency of the average citizen. Nigel Farage spoke of a ‘revolt on the right’ and the disquiet that the man and woman in the street instinctively feel about the globalist agenda; a disquiet which erupted in the epoch-defining year of 2016 with its twin seismic shocks: Brexit and Trump.
As Raheem Kassam put it bluntly, ‘we are winning.’
As Australia reels from yet another deadly CBD act of butchery, accompanied to the cries of ‘Allahu akbar!’, our politically-correct authorities continue to draw their bizarre distinction between ‘radical Islamist terrorists’ and the ‘mentally ill’, as if these two circles in a Venn diagram don’t ever overlap. Weirdly, the Left then rush around complaining of being ‘traumatised’ by footage of the horror. Hard to defeat a foe you daren’t name.