Feb 4, 2010

Abbott to the lunatic fringe: it’s OK, I’m one of you

Tony Abbott's decision to meet Lord Monckton was contemptible -- but smart politics. Abbott is just doing what he has been hired to do: dog-whistle to the extreme right of the party.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Tony Abbott met with conspiracy theorist Chris Monckton yesterday at lunchtime, but Abbott wouldn’t allow photographers to record the meeting or publicly comment on what was discussed. Meeting this shabby character is contemptible and reflects poorly on Abbott's fitness for high office.  There are, after all, plenty of Australian skeptics and denialists out there to meet, plenty of men and women who share Abbott's view that climate science is crap.  We've produced quite a few of them. Despite Ian Plimer or Bob Carter lacking any credentials in climate science, at least they can mount a pseudo-scientific case against global warming.  But Abbott decided to meet this low-rent Lyndon LaRouche from London. Worse, refusing to allow the meeting to be photographed shows thorough cowardice. If he’s happy to meet this “swivel-eyed maniac”, as one conservative called Monckton, he should be happy to be photographed shaking his hand. But forget the moral outrage: this was savvy politics. Abbott has sent a clear signal to the right-wing fringe groups and One Nation-types that have drifted away from the party over the last two years: he’s their man, he shares their values. When they talk about shoring up the base, this is what they mean, pulling those voters out of the “Other” camp in polling, where they’re lodged with Family First and socially-conservative parties, and back into the Liberal column. It didn’t require being photographed with Monckton – the lunatic fringe will know he met him. It will be all over their blogs and in their email networks. Finally, they’ll think, someone important is listening to us. Being photographed with Monckton might have sent the wrong single to mainstream voters, because Monckton’s a risk, prone to coming out with potentially ridiculous statements that Abbott would have to distance himself from. Like interning people with HIV, for example, (although apparently Monckton has invented a cure for that). So best to keep it on the quiet, out the media, because the media loves visuals and stories don't get one-tenth as far without them. A job well done. We "intellectual snobs" can foam at the mouth all we like, but this was Abbott doing what he has been hired to do – dog-whistling to the extreme right of the party, letting the conservative membership know the Liberal Party is safe for them again, showing them that that appalling lefty Malcolm Turnbull has gone.  Just like John Howard felt he had to in the face of the One Nation phenomenon.  Abbott was an apt pupil.

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36 thoughts on “Abbott to the lunatic fringe: it’s OK, I’m one of you

  1. John james

    You know the Left are in deep trouble when a long tirade of personal abuse, like this article, is offered for intellectual consumption.

  2. Ian

    More old pyjams. Perhaps Crikey should change its name to the “AGW Deaf Old Farts Club”. Getting worried that you really may have been hoodwinked? For goodness’ sake, even The Guardian is expressing doubts. Give the propaganda a rest Crikey, and get back to what you used to do well – investigative journalism.

    Here’s a challenge – publish nothing from either side on AGW for a week. Bet you can’t help your self.

  3. gregb

    Compared to what Munchkin offers up for intellectual consumption, John James? What piercing intellectual stuff we get from the good Lord!

  4. bangin16

    Abbott can’t have it all his own way on this, despite the lack of any photos. Visiting Monckton will be yet one more nail in his climate change incredibility.

  5. micae

    Spot on about Abbott the dog whistler but also aesthetic considerations, .e.,g the “swivel-eyed maniac” is quite visually distracting – he reminded me instantly of Melbourne Zoo’s goggle-eyed new baby elephant, Luk Chai –


  6. John Ryan

    People like John James the coat trailers who support this liar,BS artist con merchant,Knave and fool, and dribbler,but then he is a Lord of some sort as PT Barnum said theres one born every minute.
    And when these weak minded fools here a Lord from the UK is on theitr side they go weak at the knees,Monckton could not lie straight in bed,the article makes more sense than the rambling of some Stupid(well maybe not he got the weak minded to pay him to lie his head off)you dont wonder why the con merchants find so many marks in Australia.
    Ever Time Plimer, Monkton and co have to front up to some one who can see through the BS they run for cover Plimer has been done over more times that most have had Christmas dinners but still the faithful suckers believe.

  7. klewso

    Why do I think of Young Frankenstein, and Marty Feldman?
    “Where wolf?”
    “There wolf…..?”

  8. baal

    wow it’s getting nasty, eh? Bring it on I say, let’s see what feral extremes of insult can swamp this thread

  9. David

    As jjames is a clone of the loony mamma he would doubtless, given the opportunity, caste himself at the feet of the equally loony Lord screaming take me Im yours. That would to jj amount to intelligence as he knows it.

  10. paddy

    What…..No photographs???
    Where’s the Crikey cohort of Jimmy Olsens and Lois Lanes, with their bloody mobile phone cameras when you need them?
    Surely someone will step up to the plate with a “photoshop special” at least. 🙂

    Perhaps Firstdog could oblige with a commemorative T-Shirt, in honour of this meeting of great minds???

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