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Friday, 05 February 2021 23:47

Abbott and Trump

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Losing Trump was just like losing Abbott.  Two feisty conviction politicians with much in common have been lost to the West.  Their many enemies are grinning.  We will miss them both.  (A version of this article appears in the 6 February 2021 edition of The Spectator Australia).

Losing Trump was just like losing Abbott.  Two feisty conviction politicians with much in common have been lost to the West.  Their many enemies are grinning.  We will miss them both.  (A version of this article appears in the 6 February 2021 edition of The Spectator Australia).

 

Trust The Guardian to keep the jeremiad going.  They have branded Tony Abbott, in his latest incarnation as an Institute of Public Affairs Distinguished Fellow, as a Trump fellow-traveller, and thereby have quietly plunged another dagger into each of them.  The leftist rag noted that:

Abbott’s wide range of complaints … echo some preoccupations of former US president Donald Trump…

Unintentionally, The Guardian may have done us a favour.  It has reminded us of the importance of the Anglosphere’s two great political losses of the last decade, and of what they had in common.

We was robbed.  Twice over.

Call us Australian Conservatives.  Or the DLP.  Or the Alt-Right.  Or the Make Australia Great Again deplorables.  Quiet Australians.  The politically homeless.  Whatever.  In 2015, we lost something core to our tenuous allegiance to the Australian Right-of-Centre, Establishment in-group – a leader we felt proud to stand up and defend against his many detractors, most of whose views we reflexively loathe.  And we miss it still.

Some years back, an insider-outsider Liberal called Tony Abbott bucked the emerging Liberal establishment, or at least tried to.  He saw the utter garbage that was the climate religion.  He tried to put the grand “moderate” poobah Michael Photios back in his factional box.  Tried to reform the bastion of incestuous, green progressivism that is the NSW Liberal Party.  Tried to suggest that a brake could reasonably be applied to rampant political correctness.  Tried to give a voice to what the late Christopher Pearson used to term “Club Sensible”.

We all know what happened. 

Abbott was shafted.  Ignominiously ejected.  A globalist shill, Mr Great Reset himself, was installed in the Liberal leadership in his stead.  Our last and only real hope of policy push-back against wokism, climate ratbaggery, cultural takeover by stealth, anti-religion, and the long march of neo-communists through the whole shebang.

If only Tony were still around now, to calm what he himself has called the “Covid hysteria” if nothing else.  There would be hope.  There isn’t hope now, not in his own Party.  Just mediocrity and cringe-worthy faux leftism.

Ditching Abbott as leader wasn’t enough, though, for his enemies.  He had to be ground into the dust.

No front bench position was offered, to save a former great leader’s face.  Even when they ditched Malcolm the Usurper, still no front bench position was offered to his predecessor.  They tried to kill Tony at the grassroots level of the Party.  The big branch-stack was engineered.  The Mr and Mrs Photios greenies were on the march.  That didn’t work.  Then they found an independent to kill him off in what had become a marginal seat.  That worked.  You could almost hear the Liberal moderates cheering on election night.  Ignominy for the Pell defender (the ultimate crime).  Yesterday’s man.  An insider turned into an outsider.  There are still no job offers from the still-somehow-reigning Liberal Party.  It took the British Tories to offer him a job. 

Then it all happened again, in November 2020 and since.  The last great hope for the US of A was shafted.  Then disgraced in an effort to destroy his values and his legacy.  And, of course, any chance of a possible political comeback, the thing his enemies still fear the most.

We lost an American president of principle and consequence, another outsider who stood for the outsiders, shunned by his own as the Establishment attempted its worst.  Killed politically by way of a much-hyped virus, and finished off by Big Tech bullies and Democrat crooks.  A President who, like Abbott in Australia, saw the emerging postmodern world as a threat to our core values and traditions.  Who understood the rule of law.  Who saved the US energy sector from its mortal enemies.  Who engaged with the heartland people of his nation.  Who saved a legless economy racked by socialism, international recession and bailouts.  Who stood up to the self-appointed ruling class.  Who suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous opponents who would stop at nothing to destroy him totally.  And many of whose enemies were located on his own side of the aisle. 

Does all this sound a little familiar?

Abbott and Trump.

Each of these losses was felt deeply by those of us who were already reduced to minimal faith in a democratic process bastardised by oligarchs and elites.  The events of late 2020 brought back the crushing sense of loss from 2015.  Someone good destroyed.  Something essential snatched away.  Hated by many, with visceral commitment, yet respected by we-the-people.  Neither was an ideologue, despite what their enemies claimed about them.  Two men about whom it might reasonably have been said – why ever did they persist, in the face of such undying hatred?

Both men were pugilists, in Abbott’s case, literally.  They relished the battle.  They engaged the enemy, unlike so many of their respective colleagues better known for their ideological limpness.  They took the fight to their opponents, just when we needed them to.

Two men who, with the father of postwar conservatism, William F Buckley Jr, stood athwart history and yelled “stop”.  Oh, and they both kept their political promises.

Differences? 

Plenty, of course.  Abbott was and is a man of letters.  Bookish.  A writer.  A thinker.  A student of history.  A Rhodes Scholar.  Trump was, and is, a bull in a China shop.  Abbott is a movement conservative with populist influences.  Trump is an outsider-populist – in the very best sense, and God love him for it – who ended up delivering for his base a deeply conservative message and product.  With real outcomes, outcomes that mortally offended a ruling class equally disdained by Abbott.

And both are now, we fear, lost. 

Their successors in office and in opposition lack utterly their steel and their sense of mission.  Whether Liberal or Republican, the current lot do not seem to know why they are there.  They don’t know who they represent.  They are clueless careerists who care for nothing more than the optics and the perks.  They have lost all connection with those who might still be persuaded, against all the odds, to give them another chance.

And unlike the Australian Liberals, who still shun Abbott, at least most of the Senate Republicans have saved some face, it seems, and are likely to ensure that The Donald avoids the ultimate humiliation of being found guilty following his second impeachment.

Some in the media have claimed, possibly with excitable hyberbole, that Tony Abbott is “leading a new movement”.  Well, at this stage he simply has a position at a right-of-centre thinktank.  But there is no doubt whatsoever that there is a huge hole to be filled in Australian politics and culture.  Currently, there is nowhere for the Aussie deplorables (of either side of politics) to go.  The Liberal Party is in the hands of the antipodean equivalent of American RINOs (establishment Republicans) who always loathed Trump and all his works.

Two worthy men have been cut down prematurely, by foul means, and so have been prevented from etching their proper places in the history books.  Their legacies have been, or will be, torched by those who defeated them.  And we who cherished their leadership, values and spine are at a loss as to where to head next.

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Paul Collits

Paul Collits is a freelance writer and independent researcher who lives in Lismore New South Wales.  
 
He has worked in government, industry and the university sector, and has taught at tertiary level in three different disciplines - politics, geography and planning and business studies.  He spent over 25 years working in economic development and has published widely in Australian and international peer reviewed and other journals.  He has been a keynote speaker internationally on topics such as rural development, regional policy, entrepreneurship and innovation.  Much of his academic writing is available at https://independent.academia.edu/PaulCollits
 
His recent writings on ideology, conservatism, politics, religion, culture, education and police corruption have been published in such journals as Quadrant, News Weekly and The Spectator Australia.
 
He has BA Hons and MA degrees in political science from the Australian National University and a PhD in geography and planning from the University of New England.  He currently has an adjunct Associate Professor position at a New Zealand Polytechnic.

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