Saturday, March 22, 2008

Help, My Brain Just Melted

Andrew "The Iraq Was Is Won" Bolt splutters with helpless fury at Liberal Party leader Brendan Nelson's new mantra on climate change :

For heaven’s sake. Brendan Nelson gives a speech to define the Liberals’ identity, and winds up channelling Al Gore instead:

Dr Nelson said the challenge of climate change and the need for a genuine global solution was the “most important economic, political and moral challenge to face our generation”.

Moral challenge? A scientific, technological and economic challenge, maybe, but moral?

With that one stupid word, Nelson damns the better-qualified sceptics in his party (and those silent ones in Kevin Rudd’s ministry) as not just wrong, but immoral.

One of the reasons, one of the many but certainly a key reason, why John Howard lost the election was he didn't keep up with the changing national belief and debate on climate change. One of the main reasons Howard did that is because he believed Andrew Bolt was right, and that Australians would always see global warming as a Green Conspiracy to take away their big screen TVs and make them live by firefly illumination.

When Howard was still claiming the debate was not yet over, and all the facts weren't in, the consensus amongst voters had already settled that climate change was real enough for them to believe that it threatened the livelihoods of their children and grandchildren and, therefore, was not an issue to be ignored. Or denied. Or mocked.

Some Howard advisors, like a good number of his personal staff, found refuge in 2006 and 2007 with Andrew Bolt And The BoltOns, where they mingled online with a small slice of the minority of Australians who sincerely believed that Al Gore was almost Hitler-evil, and that climate change really was a Green Conspiracy that would have us all living in bark shacks without electricity and flush toilets and sustaining on mung beans and tofu within five years.

But the real kick in the guts for Howard, and for Bolt, came when Bolt's boss Rupert Murdoch (who Howard once referred to as "God") announced in mid-2007 that he believed climate change was real, that it posed "dire consequences" and that most of the Murdoch media around the world would begin full-blown promotion of climate change as a reality that cannot be ignored.

Howard didn't see that coming, and obviously wasn't told in advance what Murdoch was going to announce, and so he was caught out with no time to prepare, or to soften up his Liberals for a superbackflip and spectacular "Me Too!" on dealing with climate change. That came only weeks out from the November election.

The Liberals know all too well now what happens when they take Andrew Bolt-approved conspiracy theories to the Australian people. They lose government. Which is why Brendan Nelson doesn't parrot Andrew And TheBoltOns the way Howard, Alexander Downer and Tony Abbott used to. They learned their lesson.

Bolt's fury is not so much directed at Nelson as it is towards himself for being left so far behind on the climate change issue, for being so out of tune with the majority of Australians, for having so much less impact and influence on the Australian mind than Al Gore, or Tim Flannery, and for helping to destroy the Liberal Party.

Andrew Bolt knows this, all of this, of course, but is not yet man enough to admit his vital role in the downfall of John Howard and the immolation of the Australian conservative movement.