Maurice Newman, the spaced-out cowboy is back in the Oz op-ed pages. And it’s an instant classic, riding to the rescue of white South African farmers, days after the issue was dismissed as an embarrassment to the government and the nation.

You’d think that free-marketeer Maurice would be using his column to decry the “loopiness of the Greens” public bank proposal — oh, except that he made his banking career when state-owned banks helped regulate the market — but noooo. He has selflessly come to the aid of South African white farmers, because allegedly:

That in the past 21 years 1757 white farmers have been murdered in 12,245 attacks? Or that this year alone there have been 15 murders from 109 attacks?

Yeah, the only problem with those stats is that they’re not reliably sourced, focus on white farmers only, and are dwarfed by the wider problem of violence in South Africa. The South African police don’t record the race of murder victims, and haven’t since the end of apartheid. The figures for white farmers are estimated by the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU), a lobby group for white farmers.

They are pure beat-up.

The “farmer-cide” boosters say that the murder rate for farmers is 133 per 100,000 — three times the already staggeringly high rate of 34/100,000 for the whole of South Africa. A fortnight ago, David Leyonhjelm used those figures to suggest that, scaled to Australia, that would amount to 400 murders a year.

That is absolute rubbish.

These figures were extrapolated from a paper by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), which did some of the work for the TAU. But the ISS itself rejected the accuracy of the figures. According to the Institute’s Johan Burger:

This was never meant to be a scientifically accurate fact, only an estimate to show how serious the situation is. The size of the numbers involved also makes this type of calculation at best an indication rather than a scientifically acceptable ratio.

There are 2.9 million agricultural households in South Africa. About 250,000 of them are commercial farms, and about 143,000 white agricultural households. There are about 135,000 commercial farms in Australia.

There were 74 farm murders — white and black — in South Africa in 2015/2016.

You do the maths. Newman, the banker and Leyonhjelm clearly haven’t. The “400 murders” comparatively, is nonsense.

By contrast to 74 murders in total for the whole farm sector, there are 50 murders a day in South Africa, including hundreds, if not thousands of central Africans — from Cameroon, the Congo and elsewhere — stranded in SA, and murdered for xenophobic reasons.

By number and circumstance, they are far more deserving of refugee fast-tracking than white farmers. By number and circumstance, the non-white people of Myanmar, Syria, Kurdistan and elsewhere are more deserving.

So, yes, caring about white farmers more than other people is racist. It’s practically the definition of it. The only argument for doing it, is that all those white farmers arriving at Australian airports, the camera lenses of the world’s media pointed at them, would establish, once and for all, how racist Australia’s refugee policy really is.

Mauuuuurice. Be a lover and a grinner, not a sinner.