Alex Mitchell’s WEEKLY NOTEBOOK – Abbott starts multi wars to save his skin

Under Prime Minister Tony Abbott we now have three wars in progress – a war on “the ISIS death cult”, a war on domestic violence and a war on ice.
The wars are being fought on international and domestic fronts and they embrace three of the great evils of our time.
If they were driven by rational argument and moral and ethical values they could be supported.
Although disliking the use of “war” in policy projects, I would happily support a war on cancer or a war of climate change, for example.
But Abbott’s “war” motives are purely political. The overriding purpose is to deflect attention from his incompetent and chaotic government and keep voters in a state of fearful apprehension.
It is a formula borrowed straight from the Tea Party wing of the US Republican Party. The GOP ran this kind of permanent fear campaign and it led to two terms for George W Bush. It worked for Israel’s Benyamin Netanyahu as well, so why not here?

Where’s Shorty?

On all three war fronts, Abbott enjoys the support of Opposition leader Bill Shorten and together they constitute a virtual coalition. Labor is too terrified to reject Abbott’s embrace because it would be blackguarded as “unAustralian” by Abbott and the Murdoch media.
And because Labor doesn’t have a counter-programme on international and domestic politics, it submits to Abbott’s wedging.
Meanwhile, Abbott is milking Shorten’s acquiescence to boost his own electoral standing – at the expense of Labor – and keep his Liberal Party critics at bay.
Pyschologists will be able to tell you what happens to a society that is force-fed on a constant diet of fear from real or imagined external and internal threats. The citizens become confused, afraid and ultimately unhinged.
The 20th century offers clinical examples of this social phenomenon – Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa, Pol Pot’s Kampuchea and Zionist Israel.
Without confidence, optimism and hope, no nation of people can weather this kind of morbid onslaught without suffering damage to its psyche.
The sooner Abbott’s hateful, depressing, xenophobic, unfair and valueless government is defeated the better. Australians, like people across the world, are at their best when they are building, creating, open minded and open hearted.

Murdoch blowhard

Former Queensland Labor senator John Black has found his way into the columns of Rupert Murdoch’s Australian as an economics and political wizard.
Writing about the recent NSW State Election he confidently predicted Labor would win 46 out of the 93 seats in the Legislative Assembly. In the final result the ALP won 34.
He also wrote that Labor would receive a 17% swing. In fact it was a shade less than 10%.
Of course, there was no apology from The Oz or Black. In his first post-election readers were introduced to Black’s bizarre attempt at demographics:
“The state seats where the Greens failed to win many votes were dominated by mainstream Australian suburban families with children, who drive themselves to work daily or ride as a car passenger. The parents tend to have certificate qualifications in engineering for dad and hospitality for mum, with dad employed as a machine operator in manufacturing or a transport driver, and mum finding it very difficult to get a hospitality job which pays enough to earn any realistic income and has flexible hours for her to look after three kids in the local government school system.”
Canberra economist/blogger Tom Westland has unmasked Black’s hilarious pomposities. It is healthy to see that Murdoch’s voodoo salesmen and women are being called out. The mainstream media won’t.
Harry’s dad
Murdoch’s Sydney rag, The Daily Telegraph, is the foghorn for the English monarchy. The very sight of a visiting English royal sends editors, columnists, reporters and cartoonists into a frenzy of irrational adoration. It’s sickening.
When Prince Harry had a stopover in Sydney last week the Telegraph gave him front-page treatment plus acres of space inside. The headline; “His Royal Ranga-ness”, was accompanied by a crowd shot with a placard reading: “Red Heads Rule!”
His father, Prince Charles, has brown hair and so did his mother, the late Lady Di. But ex-Major James Hewitt who conducted a five-year affair with Lady Di has bright red hair.
The former officer in the household cavalry, now 56, has tried to sell 64 private letters from Diana for $12 million and he was arrested in possession of cocaine outside a London club in 2004.
It’s a pity none of this background material found its way into News Ltd’s coverage. They were too busy grovelling to stop and think.

Remembering Ritchie

When the legendary English commentator John Arlott died on 14 December 1991 the tributes poured forth from the cricket world.
It was an era when MCC players were known by nicknames. Atherton was “Athers”, Gatting was “Gatters”, Gooch was “Goochers” etc.
Then Prime Minister John Major stood on the doorstep of No 10 Downing Street and paid tribute to Arlott saying: “Summers will never the same.”
One of the reporters turned to his colleague and asked: “Who is Summers?”
I was covering Sydney’s Central Criminal Court in the early 1960s for the Daily Mirror when The Sun’s police roundsman approached me saying: “I missed the court appearances this morning, did anything happen?”
I told him that the magistrate had given a jail sentence to a repeat drunk offender and warned him to clean up his act, get a job and start behaving like a proper husband and father.
I gave him all the details that I had taken down and he thanked me, rushing off to The Sun’s telephone to dictate his story.
The journo was Ritchie Benaud.

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