There is no doubt that times are not good for the Australian far Right -- but will its troubles create real problems for the Coalition, and the mainstream Right? Will the Mad Monk be brought low by the madder Monckton?

Two days after I noted the rise of "hysterical conservatism" in the US, its Australian manifestation had exploded closer to home, with a storm over Christopher Monckton, viscount and jobbing political hack turned climatologist, and his decision, in speeches elsewhere, to label Ross Garnaut as a Nazi, juxtaposing a quote from Garnaut with a large slide of a swastika.

Monckton used the term "fascist", a term of abuse that has lost nearly all dramatic effect -- but the swastika is something else. Fascism, Italian-style, was a cruel political movement, but its frequent use as a catch-all term including Nazism obscures major differences.