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.
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 …