Adam Piggott

Gentleman adventurer

Kevin Rudd and the graveyard of journalism.


where irrelevant journalists go to die …

It is becoming quite simple to predict what will occur in the Australian social and political scene simply because we are so closely aligned to what is happening in the rest of the Western world, and particularly the United States. However, we are a few years behind those other nations in the great battle with the progressive Left and the scourge of globalism. Thus it is possible to observe events, witness the reactions from established groups, and then turn an eye back on Australia. That journalists here are not themselves doing this is telling in itself.

The media here has been dominated over the past week with the news that the conservative government will not support the former Labor prime minister, Kevin Rudd, in his tilt for Secretary-general of the UN. Notwithstanding the fact that Rudd is a narcissistic and vindictive petty tyrant who lacks the basic judgement necessary to manage a backyard children’s birthday party, [suggesting that he is prime UN material – Editor], the media is aghast that the Turnbull government has chosen to waste this great occasion to have an Australian in the world spotlight and instead has stooped to playing petty politics.

Coming from most of the SJW-infested media in these parts this is no great surprise. But the so-called conservative media has also been very strident in its disappointment in the turn of events. Writing in The Australian, (paywalled but you should know how to get around that), Henry Ergas is particularly unhappy with the decision. And this is where things get interesting.

Over the past year in the USA many conservative political commentators have loudly expressed their displeasure in the Trump phenomenon. They abhor his tactics, his methodology, his background, in fact just about everything about him. Many of them have gone on record as saying they prefer for Clinton to win. Because ultimately they cannot stomach Trump’s refusal to play nice. For them it is preferable to lose, (think Mitt Romney), as long as you played the game in the correct manner. A tainted win by their definition is not worth the betrayal of their “principles”.

Just as the conservative media have this problem so too do conservative politicians themselves. The progressive Left has been taking advantage of this for over forty years. They routinely stack every government institution with their own foot soldiers while in power. But conservatives do not do this in response when they hold the reins as they do not want to stoop to such tactics. And as a result for forty years they have been losing on every front.

I did not expect the Turnbull government to refuse to nominate Rudd for the position. The fact that they have bucked the trend is very promising. Their political opponents of course are furious and taking every opportunity to denounce this “bastardy” but that is to be fully expected. In fact, the more furious they are the better a decision it was. But as I said, conservative political commentators are aghast. Let us go to Henry Ergas:

If Labor has an ethical standard that guides its conduct it is no better than this: hurt your enemies, help your friends. Now, with the government’s refusal to nominate Kevin Rudd as a candidate for secretary-general of the UN, the ­Coalition risks sinking to its opponent’s level.

Ergas in his opening paragraph succinctly states the issue at hand but then immediately discounts it because it sinks to their level. He would rather continue to lose than to win in a “dishonorable” manner.

As each decision is made on a partisan basis, what was once political common ground becomes fractured terrain, weakening what little is left of our polity’s shared foundation. Yet nothing could be more antithetical to the Turnbull government’s interests, with its razor-thin majority, than egging that process on.

The fact is that there no longer remains any common political ground and this is primarily a result of the progressive Left and its march through the institutions. You cannot wish for something to be other than it is purely because of noble intentions of generations past.

It would be a mistake, however, to believe that hardening in the tone of politics is solely an Australian phenomenon. There is, on the contrary, compelling evidence of similar trends in the other advanced democracies.

It is well known, for example, that politics in the US has become more polarised, with the gap in policy preferences between Democrats and Republicans widening steadily.

Ergas recognizes the same common denominator as I have but he completely fails to apply it to himself.

Labor’s tribalism, which distributes favours to mates and punishments to adversaries (and most of all to ex-friends), is morally repugnant.

Too often, its cronyism has filled our public agencies with the venal, the lazy and the third rate, while its quest for revenge is no better than the justice of the broken bottle, which plays so large a part in the union movement that is Shorten’s home.

To descend to that level would insult the Liberal tradition, as the Coalition’s so-called conservatives should well know; and by turning its back on the public’s sense of a fair go, it would be stupid to boot, allowing Labor to claim the high ground while making the government seem weak and mean-minded.

Only on those whom the gods would destroy could such madness be inflicted. As it considers the fallout from what was meant to be a fresh start, the Coalition needs to take a long, hard look at itself.

And there we have it. Ergas would rather continue to lose than to change tactics and play the enemy at their own game. He would have the Turnbull government appoint one of the most venal, lazy, and third rate individuals from the enemy’s own camp. Somehow that act would be noble and upholding the Liberal tradition. It would be certainly upholding a tradition of losing the culture war if that is what he means.

The conservative commentators in the USA who refuse to get on the Trump train as it insults their principles are in grave danger of becoming irrelevant, if they have not already become so. Glenn Beck prowls the wilderness in a desperate search for confirmation of his ethical goodness as events leave him further behind. Likewise in Australia we are beginning to witness the same turn of events. Ergas, and many of his ilk, are heading for the scrapheap.


Hillary! because she’s a chick so why not?


You can change the world!


  1. Yep. Nailed it.

    I’m thinking that the likes of Ergas are more concerned with what can be listed, columnised, summarised, abstracted, modelled etc to look convincing on paper. The reality of Rudd isn’t that important to technocrats, be they of the right of left.

    Unfortunately, silly old reality is giving us a bit of a nudge at the moment. Don’t think I’ll be asking some guy from a think tank in the ‘gong what to do about it all. Especially if he’s spent time at Chateau OECD by the Bois de Boulogne.

    If all Henry’s “studies” and “papers” can’t tell him that Rudd is a complete bloody ratbag we might start wondering what his $61.8 million world-class whatsy is for. I’m already wondering.

    • Adam

      Indeed. I watched the Pauline Hanson doco on SBS last night and they had a shot of her 20 years ago deriding economics experts for not understanding how business works in the real world outside of their cozy model bubble. She was laughed out of existence at the time but it appears that she was right on the money.

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