On the risk of an Australian Trump

David Edmunds writes: Re. “Canberra chaos means Australia will have its own Donald Trump soon enough” (Tuesday)

There are some problems with Guy Rundle’s prediction of a competent hard-right leader in the near future.  He does not mention the influence and support of religious movements that are essential to the movement in the US.  British hard right movements rise and fall with some regularity, but never gain much currency.  The US is the only member of the anglo sphere with such a movement, and they ended up with Trump, who was not exactly what they had in mind.  In Europe, Marine le Pen is the best example, but France has a special history of such movements, rooted in the failure of French colonialism, particularly Algeria.

Other examples in Europe are restricted to the old soviet sphere countries such as Hungary and Poland.

Guy does not seem to distinguish between the hard right and populist nationalist movements.  The populists support a grab bag of grievances but do little to develop policy that might address those grievances.  There is some sort of a natural ceiling for these movements of a couple of percent or so.  Barnaby Joyce makes the point that it is difficult to find a potential treasurer from amongst the Hansonites.

There is no potential hard right movement in Australia with a coherent philosophical base.  Various groups do not much like “wogs” except for their own friends and families, but their policy prescriptions on this and other issues are thin on the ground.  The best they can come up with relates to the halal certification.

Because of the lack of underpinning philosophy it is hard to see a movement coalescing around any of the nascent movements in this country.  The swirling concerns about global trade, religion, global warming, 18C, marriage equality and immigration are not the basis on which a movement might gain widespread popularity, with or without a competent leader.

The issues that do seem to consume people across the western world are growing inequality, the displacement of people in an automating workplace and the opportunities for their children.  Beyond Trump’s bombast and nativism, these are the issues that he identified in the US, and the reason people voted for him.  If he now follows the policy prescriptions of the hard right, such as Stephen Bannon his counsellor, it will be interesting to see how that pans out.

On Peta Credlin

Jock Webb writes: Re. “On Peta Credlin” (Wednesday)

I don’t think Ms Credlin knew what she was talking about either Mr Thornton. She was the mouthpiece for Abbott, and if the nonsense he spouted came via her ideas she lives in a different reality. Unpleasant and utterly out of touch, same as her boss. Other than bile, she hasn’t offered much in her new job either.

On the Q Society “newspaper”

Meredith Williams writes: Re. “Q Society up to their old tricks again depsite defamation case” (Wednesday)

To call the folded sheet of paper found by your tipster a “newspaper” would seem to be engaging in the A-G’s assault on the English language. That it was found in a public toilet suggests a more appropriate designation and purpose.

Peter Fray

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