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May 25th 2016 print

Christian Kerr

Snarling Incoherence from a Safe Space

That The Guardian Australia's website is playground and sanctuary for those whose literary antics cannot withstand scrutiny outside its oh-so-precious and protected environment hardly needs to be said.  The proof, if any more is needed, is columnist Van Badham

van badham II“The Australian privileged live within a culture of exclusive spaces that structurally reinforce exceptions, excuses and exonerations for their behaviour that are never extended to the rest of us.” Yep. Truly. Or at least that’s what Van Badham (left) claimed in The Guardian Australia this morning. After puzzling over the sentence for a while, it began to make sense. Sorta. By “culture” she means “institutions” or “social networks”. Sloppy, but it kind of fits. Particularly if one keeps that crucial line form Orwell’s Politics and the English Language in mind, the one that observes language “becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish.”

And that’s our Van!

For those of you who don’t know of Ms Badham, she bills herself as a “writer, speaker and social media campaign strategist”. This means she spends much of her time getting angry on Twitter. In these strange times that can form a basis of a career. Now she is also able to get angry in The Guardian, at the various public (and publicly funded) “ideas” festivals the left stage to entertaining themselves, on Q&A (naturally) and even commercial TV.

Anger has been the basis of Ms Badham’s public career. It’s also been its sole anchor point. Consistency otherwise has been sadly lacking. She was once enamoured with the Greens. “I just voted Green and it felt so good”, she Tweeted in March, 2011. “I’m voting Green,” she Tweeted ahead of the last federal election. “I vote Greens”, she said in its aftermath.

Then Ms Badham became taken with a lad from the trade union movement. The Greens became … problematic, as people like her are so fond of saying. When her formerly favoured party joined up with the government in March to change the Senate voting system Ms Badham let loose a storm of Twitter fury at Green turpitude that rivalled any thunderbolts unleashed by Zeus.

Then there was this little thought bubble a few years back: “Some days, I am more of an anarcho-syndicalist and some days more of a libertarian communist.” But back to this morning’s column. It goes on to complain about the government’s “$50 billion tax cuts to big business”. Except there aren’t any. There’s a 10-year program of phased-in tax relief that begins with small and medium-size business the Treasury estimates will cost $48.2 billion over the period, although they’re at pains to stress such forecasts are less than perfect.

Ah. But the Australian privileged live within a culture of exclusive spaces that structurally reinforce exceptions, excuses and exonerations for their behaviour that are never extended to the rest of us.

Van Badham is a paragon of the latest vanguard of the new class. Her election commentary may be based on complete mistruths and misrepresentations, but she and her comrades demand that we swallow it all.

Otherwise she’ll get angry.