Think tanker Gerard Henderson lashes the "Australian conservative movement", whatever that is, for not being intellectual or influential enough in a humiliatingly whiny rant that is neither intellectual or influential and reads like a letter to the editor of The Australian.
A rejected letter :
Aren't they supposed to be journalists, and therefore neutral? How can you complain about the media being filled with biased Evil Lefties and then bitch about how few in the press gallery "supported" Howard? Henderson shows he isn't concerned about political bias in Australian journalism, just that there's not enough Liberal campaigners disguised as journos (probably the crap wages for most) applauding Brendan Nelson from the press gallery. Fantastic.
...it would be unwise to regard leadership as the only problem facing the Liberals. This issue disguises a deeper cultural problem that turns on the intellectual weakness of the politically conservative tradition in Australia, compared with that which prevails in similar democracies such as Britain and the US....towards the end of his administration it was difficult to find even three members of the Canberra Press Gallery who supported Howard on any one of such issues as Iraq, national security, Work Choices or climate change.
That might make for a catchy Brendan Nelson brand slogan, "Somewhere, Sometime".
During Howard's time there was considerable hype among the left about what were termed the culture wars. If such a cultural battle was ever engaged, Howard did not win it. His appointments to the ABC board did not change the national broadcaster's prevailing leftist culture.
Political cycles invariably turn, and the Liberal Party will almost certainly regain office somewhere, sometime.
What absolute twaddle. Nelson goes on a listening tour, it gets plenty of media coverage, he has nothing much to say, he listens a lot and then has few insightful comments on what he heard, and nobody generally gives a shit. Sure, blame the Evil Lefties for that, too. It would be terrible if Liberals actually had to take responsibility for their failing, falling ability to impact on the national conversation.
Meanwhile, the social democrats and the left still dominate the intellectual debate in Australia. This reality contributes to Nelson's evident difficulties and discontents, and especially to the fact that the Howard/Costello legacy is now being trashed.
It's very simple, if your ideas are getting an airing and they're not finding much of an audience, there's a good chance the ideas are not interesting or popular, or worse, they're just plain disturbing and acutely divisive. Like much of Andrew Bolt's production line word vomit.
Part of the problem of shouting 'Evil Lefty!' every time someone disagrees about the reality of the Iraq War or why hanging onto oil and coal as our main energy sources isn't going to be a good idea for the rest of this century, is that conservatives who believe these things are isolated because they don't see themselves as members of 'The Left', that outdated relic of obsession for a bunch of columnists who went to uni together in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Hendersons and the Bolts of the "conservative movement" need to spend less time whining about why they're not supposedly being heard, and more time trying to draw in those who truly believe conservative values are important, and can change the country for the better, without all the hysteria and bitterness.
Why would you want to be associated with the bitter, sulky likes of Andrew Bolt and Gerard Henderson, even if you did think they're mostly right, and not just Right?
If this great unrepresented mass of secret Liberal supporters is really out there, the Hendersons and Bolts have to make the beliefs and values they push far more attractive, and create enthusiasm for these ideas, and ideals, instead of pissing on about Evil Lefties hogging ABC air time and trying to turn every university student into the next Bob Brown or Al Gore.
It's fiction, and it's boring.
The people want to hear ideas they like, and believe in, they want to get excited by the new and challenging, but right now they're not hearing any of this from anyone much in the Liberal Party, or the mysterious "Australian conservative movement."
All they're still hearing from the Hendersons and Bolts is how awesome John Howard was, and how there's not enough appreciation for whatever it was he did during all those years in power.
Yeah, that gets people excited.