Jun 5, 2018

Hang on… did Abbott manufacture this whole Ramsay Centre blow-up?

The fallout from the Ramsay Centre collapse is in full swing and once loyal comrades are beginning to sharpen their knives -- it's like a scene out of the Bolshevik Russia.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


liberal party council

Feasting on the destroyed carcass of the ANU Ramsay Centre, your correspondent started wondering whether he has not done Tony Abbott a disservice. Abbott, to recap, posted an article on Quadrant Online arguing that the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation should not only study Western civilisation, but be in favour of it. He had earlier gone out of his way to quote the example of Cecil Rhodes, a brutal imperial exploiter, as an inspiration to the centre.

Days after Abbott’s intervention, the ANU pulled its support, in a way that makes it difficult for any other university to take up the slack, and leaving us to wonder if any of God’s creatures could be that dumb as to blow the whole gaff days before the deal went down.

[Ramsay Centre collapses under the weight of Western stupidity]

On Monday, Greg Sheridan, a cut-price Kamenev to Abbott’s hapless Zinoviev act, suggested that housing the Ramsay in a university had always been a bad idea. Gerard Henderson (any bids? Molotov? Malenkov?) had already suggested this, citing the example of John Howard’s favoured US Studies Centre at Sydney Uni, which others feel has been hijacked by the left — i.e academics applied and got jobs there — and realpolitikers like  Tomas Tomasovitch Switzerov who has become so close to Russia that … well, you know that horse Putin’s always riding shirtless? Putin calls it “Switzer”.

There appear to be factions in the Ramsay Centre push — the Abbotists are boldly going after the revisionist Howardite scum — and I wonder if I have sorely misjudged how much Abbott and co-star did in fact learn at the cankered feet of their master, B.A. Santamaria, the last Leninist.

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Was this a classic bit of “third period” splitting? Having lost the battle to keep the Ramsay out of the universities, did they decide to wreck it, split the forces, and rebuild? If so, I doff my fur cap to you, tovarish Abbott, that is superb factional warfare.

Of course, that is almost certainly not the case, and sheer stupidity is to blame. But a man can dream …


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15 thoughts on “Hang on… did Abbott manufacture this whole Ramsay Centre blow-up?

  1. 1984AUS

    Love the knife sharpening and Bolshie reference Guy. The Abbott admiration for and quoting of slave trader Cecil Rhodes is most apt given the Abbott Goon Squad leader at university was handed a Rogue’s Collar Scholarship by then uni Professor Dyson Heydon who obviously was either ignorant of or approved of Abbott’s appalling numerous thuggery and wanton escapades under the eye of Heydon when at university.

    1. Xoanon

      Is it wrong that whenever Dyson Heydon is mentioned, I assume it’s a new brand of washing machine?

    2. rhwombat

      Don’t forget Emmett Costello, Confessor to the Stars, who actually organised the scam.

  2. 1984AUS

    Guy, you get the descriptive award for the day:

    …” the Abbotists are boldly going after the revisionist Howardite scum — and I wonder if I have sorely misjudged how much Abbott and co-star did in fact learn at the cankered feet of their master, B.A. Santamaria, the last Leninist.”

  3. kyle Hargraves

    We do enjoy our “throw-away” remarks – it would seem – Guy; to wit : “Cecil Rhodes, a brutal imperial exploiter, as an inspiration to the centre.”

    I suppose you are referring to the Jameson Raid. If so, then you might have mentioned the the copious scholarships that Rhodes established for all and sundry who were capable students in South Africa – allowing for the history of there being, de-facto, two South Africa’s; one British and the other Boer (or considered as synonymous as Afrikaans – the latter being, in fact, the language). Rhodes was also innovative in developing the education system in (British) South Africa; i.e the Cape and Natal.

    If you were not referring to the Jameson Raid then Rhodes was (just) another “man of Empire” along with any number of his generation; Kipling for example. Keep in mind that slavery was openly practiced by the Boer-controlled Provinces by white and black (yes there were a few) farmers.

    Rhodes observed British law and practice. In consequence Rhodes was never a slave trader. In fact the slavery that the Boers practiced caused a good deal of trouble from circa 1850 between British (missionaries in particular) and Boer. The practice had been outlawed decades earlier. As with Francis Galton (1822-1911), a gentleman of
    copious talents (statistics not being the least and his theorems indispensable today), his opinion of the “black man” was not high. Rhodes considered the station of the black man to be manual labour which, for Rhodes, was a considerable advance from barbarism. Galton, in various letters (many to The Times), proposed that China “take-over” the whole of Africa for the good government of the world. Well, a century and a bit hence, ain’t that recommendation amusing?

    We do ourselves a very great disservice by “evaluating” previous epochs from the “P.C.” of the 21st century. The (difficult) task is to evaluate history from the perspective of the ethos in which it occurred. As a point of disclaimer a book on Rhodes and his exploration of Southern Africa was my first school prize.

    Given the objectives of the Ramsey Centre a statute of Rhodes would be entirely in order in front of the (main) Administration building. Maybe also a statute of Abbott; both looking outward and “visionary”; who could say?

    Otherwise many fair and useful points abound in your article. However, those without some Russian will probably deem “tovarish” a typo rather than the phonetic formal form of address by one Russian to another Russian.

  4. zut alors

    Abbott’s support for anything has the consequence of a reverse Midas touch.

    Viz his enthusiasm for coal-fired power stations & the increasing popularity of renewables.

  5. Decorum

    Gerard Henderson: Squealer?

  6. AR

    As sand through the hourglass of Time…

  7. Peter Schulz

    I’d love to share the dream with you, Guy, but Tony Abbott is too much a man of principle for that. And what principle would that be? Well, the same principle that helped me understand my managers in a State health bureaucracy, Hanlon’s Razor – ‘never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity’.

  8. Steve777

    Tony Abbott thinks that the Ramsey Centre needs to be on “Team Western”, just like the ABC should be on “Team Australia”. Tony Abbott is a ferocious cultural warrior for the right, I don’t think he had any concept of independent, non partisan enquiry and analysis.

    As I recall, the Ramsey Centre was the result of a bequest. I suppose it comes down to whether the bequestor wanted a centre for independent study and enquiry in Western Civilisation or a propaganda unit for it.

  9. covenanter

    To the “Mad Monk” the continuation of Western Civilisation requires a Fourth Reich?
    Nothing if not persistent, this crew seemingly impelled by the weight of a long established
    and ant-democratic history.

  10. Gavin Moodie

    Stephen Matchett’s Campus Morning Mail reports that the University of Sydney is now considering the Ramsay Centre. While that seems unwise on several grounds, at least it wont earn Rundle’s classist derision for being a ‘new’ university.

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