Lost amid all the culture war hubbub about the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation being turned down by the Australian National University was this little gem: Tony Abbott, not so long ago, had been ready to walk away from parliament and dial up his conservative agitation as the chief executive of the now homeless centre.

Originally, the plan for the Ramsay Centre was to follow the model of the Rhodes Scholarship, since copied by the Fulbright Scholarship, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship et al. The appeal to Abbott of Anglo-supremacist Cecil Rhodes is in plain view -- but like many organisations spending other dead people’s money, the centre began expanding its ambitions.