“I’m back, I’m back, as a matter of fact I’m back,” as Gary Glitter once said – but my current mood is more like that of another controversial Pom when he opined, “Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood’.” I am filled with foreboding.

It’s not just because after a week amongst the cows of Donnybrook I’ve decided that they’re far preferable to the bovine creatures of Canberra. I’m also worried about another herd – or herd mentality – Rod Liddle described perfectly in The Spectator last month as “suffocating, moronic, politically-correct, anti-liberal leftism…the standpoint which insists that alternative views may be mistaken, even though held in good faith, but are clearly, objectively wrong – no argument – and therefore cannot possibly be countenanced”.

Working though my emails, I even see this tendency appearing in Crikey. Cumulatively, it reads more left wing than left field. The opinions of CIS adjunct scholar, Miranda Darling, are worthless, we were told last week, because she is a former model (oh, and a conservative). It will be interesting to see what else is in my inbox.

I presume there’s one from one friend and former model – an elected delegate to the ConCon and ten years a professional soldier – asking if Crikey regards her as a greater threat to our democracy and national security as Jemaah Islamiah.

And one from another asking if her idea of abandoning a promising career in journalism in favour of postgraduate studies that will enable her to put her skills at getting people to talk to better use as a clinical psychologist should be abandoned in favour of a return to the lingerie shows.

The inbox is certainly full of copies of Anne Summers’s piece from Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald where I’m included on the list of “Howard-approvers” who apparently “dominate the Government’s key cultural bodies and the media”.

Leo Sayer is back in the charts. Leftover 70s people sending themselves up in their dotage can clearly be quite entertaining. Summers, though, is a worry. I would have thought she’d absolutely agree with the often trenchant criticisms I’ve made over the years on the Howard Government’s policy on refugees, same-sex rights, Indigenous affairs and transparency and principles in public administration.

And while she mightn’t share my philosophical direction, I also would have thought that she would at least understand my attacks on government policies on tax, welfare and industrial relations. Apparently not. Summers is absolutely entitled to disagree with my views. Anyone is. I am concerned, however, at how she has represented them.

The left – properly – have fulminated over the admission the New Yorker extracted from an unnamed Bush White House aide, “You are irrelevant. We make our own reality.” So why are they doing it themselves? If everyone in politics believes this is acceptable practice, that’s worrying.

Peter Fray

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