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March 30th 2017 print

Roger Franklin

After Latham

Sky has sacked its most opinionated talking head for being exactly what he was known to be when hired. Abrasive, vulgar and frequently contemptuous, he was also an affirmation, false as it happens, that there was at least one TV outlet which would not cower before our PC overlords

lathamThis is not re-assuring — not at all, not about the Reserve Bank, Sky News or the state of Rupert Murdoch’s commercial acumen. And on top of that there is the tough call, a deeply personal matter, of whether to forego a couch potato’s pleasure in watching the Western Bulldogs march toward 2017′s AFL Premiership flag. Let me explain.

Yesterday, much to the delight of the people you would expect, Sky News sacked Mark Latham for being, well, Mark Latham. He was Mark Latham when they hired him and Mark Latham when they fired him, and apparently that was the problem.

For those who haven’t been following events, it seems his remarks about the 15-year-old daughter of the Reserve Bank’s Philip Lowe were the last straw. Or perhaps it was because he took a schoolboy to be gay upon first seeing a wince-worthy video in which he and other lads are put up to addressing the camera as if they were girls — girls of the sort who hector men and boys and the other sort of girls, the ones who just want to have fun.

Then there was Wendy Harmer, who became very tetchy at his observation that, by one of those great strokes of fortune which seem so often to bless the left’s reliable gabblers, the shuttering of her commercial enterprise was followed by the happy coincidence of a lovely new job with the ABC.

Oh, and then there was fellow Sky presenter Kristina Keneally, ardent multiculturalist, who took exception to Latham’s reference to her multicultural “Yankee” background. She was even less happy at being branded the “protege” of jailbird and convicted corruptocrat Eddie Obeid, a man she told a court she “did not like”, who nevertheless assembled the numbers to install her as premier.

For one or all of these reasons, Latham is gone. It is not known if he was escorted from the premises by a security guard, but it does appear no arms were broken in the extraction. That is something for which to give thanks, yet many worries remain on other fronts.

Consider Reserve Bank Governor Lowe, a very big cog in the machinery of Australia’s economy, yet who might be seen by some as having a few teeth that are less than sharp, certainly where human resources come into play. Central bankers are famously opaque, so we can only go by the Bloomberg interview he gave, the one that inspired Latham’s comments:

Lowe’s 15-year-old daughter came home from school with a burning question that would leave an impression on the RBA chief: what was he doing to make sure women have equal chances at the central bank?

“I didn’t have a really good answer at first and she said ‘that’s not good enough,”’ 55-year-old Lowe said in his first interview after taking over as governor four months ago. “So that made me think about where we’re going.”

A remarkable tack soon followed! One gathers it did not strike Lowe to tell his daughter that he regards merit as the best qualification for any job, that competence alone would always be the guiding light of his managerial style. He might also have noted, albeit more delicately, that it is not “the shape of the genitalia” that matters, to use Latham’s words, but the content of a mind. As his daughter’s father, why did he not simply assure her that he would never, ever filter his appointments and promotions by way of chauvinism and chromosome?

Instead Lowe did this, as Bloomberg reported

Since then, Lowe has promoted women to two of three RBA assistant governor roles focused on monetary policy — the first time females have held such positions. The institution has struggled to lift its share of women managers to a third — mirroring a similar challenge throughout Australia’s workforce.

What must the corridor gossip be like at the Reserve Bank? Could there be men on the premises who think themselves better qualified to fill those posts? How must they feel to learn from the lips of the boss that their aspirations were pipped in part or whole by the modern executive job market’s yen for that special je ne sais quoi of femininity. If such men exist, one could perhaps grant them them the right to harbour just a tinge of bitterness — not the best thing for promoting team cohesion.

And what of the ladies who were elevated, how must they feel? Experts in their fields, undoubtedly worthy of the offices they now hold, their success must always now be shadowed by the Governor’s extraordinarily large and thoughtless mouth. It is every good father’s delight to make his child happy, but a quiet word over the breakfast table to the effect that Papa had favoured two women with plum promotions would have been a far more diplomatic way of appeasing his daughter than announcing his gender preferences to the business press. One can easily imagine that young Ms Lowe’s joy now far exceeds that of certain Reserve Bank employees.

And the greater joke, of course, is that man or woman, gender is of small consequence when economists of each sex and everything in between are each and every one a Keynes cultist.

harmer tweet

Life is full of moral dilemmas and Latham’s expulsion from the realm of acceptable opinion presents another. Damn me for a bogan if you wish, but he made for entertaining TV and I seldom reached for the channel changer when that ugly mug filled the screen. That should concern Rupert Murdoch, who has a substantial interest in Sky News and Foxtel, the cable service that delivers the news channel. My first reaction was to cancel my subscription by way of protest, but then self-interest kicked in. No more Andrew Bolt at 7pm. No more Peta Credlin, who would make a better and far smarter prime minister than the man who knifed her former boss and found, much to his surprise, that effective leadership demands rather more than presenting oneself for the admiration of the press gallery’s faithless hacks.

So I stayed my hand, took no action, didn’t cancel my Foxtel subscription. Not yet anyway, not until the AFL season concludes and the Bulldogs have secured their third flag. In the meantime there will be a lot less watching of Sky because, without Latham, there is a lot less to watch — and probably even less to watch in future. Other of Sky’s talking heads will have noted that, yes, there is so far they can go and no further. They’ll be thinking of their pay cheques, watching Twitter and hoping they don’t spark one of those social-media “storms” that can get a fellow into trouble with a boss who is first a weather vane, ratings-hound coming a poor second.

Perhaps Murdoch, who has never shied from controversy and criticism, is for the moment lost so deeply in the arms of new bride Jerry Hall that he isn’t paying attention. He should be. He most definitely should be, especially to those who follow the advice of the link blow.

How Do I Cancel My Foxtel Subscription?

Editor’s note: Normally, in order to better inform readers, the above article would have included inset footage of those five lads making with the girl talk. They are young, were undoubtedly dragooned into making spectacles of themselves by some feminist with a master’s degree in advanced child-minding, and they do do not deserve to have their video link more widely propagated. One guesses they should also make plans for careers at places other than the Reserve Bank.

Comments [21]

  1. Bran Dee says:

    QOL Editor Roger Franklin you welspoke.
    Bring Latham back we viewers of Foxtel say. Tell Kristina Keneally and Wendy Harmer and the others to not be so precious. Reluctantly apologise if it is inescapable.
    How can we view Outsiders without Latham, and where is the appeal of Alan Jones without Co?

  2. LBLoveday says:

    How is what Harmer is suing Latham over – “she’s got a disability” (which is what a lisp is) and “a proven commercial failure”, which by any rational criterion she was with Hoopla – worse than her calling him an “unhinged ranter?
    And saying her workplace, the ABC, is a “sheltered workshop for all the leftys” is hardly controversial.
    To call in the lawyers over this is an indictment of not only Snowflake Harmer, but lawyers and the society that foments such nonsense.

    • Jody says:

      I wish she would pursue Latham through the courts, just like the Marquis of Queensbury did in the 19th century when he accused Oscar Wilde of buggery with his son Bosie. Wilde defended the action but lost and everything was exposed to the whole world. I wish the same for the disability queen Harmer (yes, a cleft palate IS a disability). Let’s have the whole world find out about Harmer and her junkets. As for Keneally; she is living proof that political correctness is ALL ABOUT prevent people from learning the truth, or even hearing it vaguely. It’s all about DENIAL. Mark Latham made that point magnificently.

      I AM cancelling Foxtel. It’s unacceptable.

    • padraic says:

      Like many, I am going to miss Latham on Fox. He was a breath of fresh air with his accurate commentary, a refreshing alternative to the 7.30 Report. I agree with LBLoveday about lawyers. They are the elephant in the room in the PC debate. We can all go on about PC but until we overcome the ultimate denial about political correctness, i.e admit that the root cause of PC is out of control lawyers threatening all and sundry, it will continue to fester. Australia is not being governed by democratically elected Parliaments but by avaricious lawyers who suppress free speech and normal activity in order to make money and for this they encourage a victim mentality which is now rampant in our society. They are now allowed to advertise and tout for business. The other night I saw an ad pretending to show mishandling the drill by a dentist so someone was injured and thus they should go to their friendly neighbourhood lawyer and sue the dentist. First it was doctors, now dentists. This element of the legal profession is a disgrace, and an embarrassment to good lawyers whose prime aim is conducting their practice within a sensible legal system for the betterment of society, not its control.

  3. Guido Negraszus says:

    Yes, the right think to do would be to cancel Foxtel but I really need Andrew Bolt. I hope that Latham finds a new home somewhere incl. as a writer. He is top notch. I like his in your face approach. No nonsense, no BS. I still can’t believe that Sky News is that stupid!

  4. PeterPetrum says:

    If you have an iPad go to the App Store and download FOXTEL GO. You can watch all the live Fox programs for nothing, including Bolt et al.

  5. Richard H says:

    I can agree with almost everything in this article except the description of Latham as “vulgar”. That gives the impression that Latham is a sort of real-life Sir Les, which plainly he is not. Prone to occasional lapses into vulgarity, yes, but not enough I think to be described as “vulgar”. He will be sorely missed until – God wiling – he reappears somewhere else.

    As for Peta Credlin: I agree she’s compelling viewing – one of the very few truly intelligent commentators on Sky. What a shame that her main program requires one to tolerate equal doses of the robotic utterances of Astro Boy.

    • Trog says:

      ASTRO Girl surely! She’s a hotsy totsy looker but unfortunately can’t match it with Peta for astuteness and political nous. No biggy, not very many can.

      Latham is Keating on steroids.

      Brilliant, always vaguely menacing yet ever insightful and with a well modulated and matter of fact delivery that bolsters the credibility of his argument. No hyperventilating, just the facts please.

      The most entertaining political commentator we have, with a fine mind to match and the hard won tattoos and scars of an unbowed, experienced, street tough

      A complex man for sure, but a great loss to stimulating debate as opposed to our regular daily dose of groupthink.

  6. Keith Kennelly says:

    I’d join a political party formed by Latham and Credlin with Abbott as leader.
    That would really get the feminists tits tangled, the queers nickers knotted and the educated elites exasperated.

  7. Keith Kennelly says:

    Who would vote for them?

    Everyone.

  8. Lo says:

    I subscribed to Foxtel a few weeks ago for a the commentary, particularly Outsiders, and the football. Latham was immensely enjoyable and absolutely refreshing. Are they crazy? There are a lot more offensive things to watch if one chooses, and probably a great deal more crude. Latham was just interesting and obnoxious, exactly why I enjoyed his appearances.

  9. en passant says:

    You are all dreaming! I cancelled Foxtel last November, again in December, for the third time in February and will probably do so again when the postman delivers.
    Probably 12-14 hours on the phone (I will be able to speak Tagalog soon), yet the monthly bills still arrive (with interest added for the previous unpaid bills for a service I no longer have).
    At this rate my credit rating will soon be worst than that of Oz …
    Of course, based on the fact that my unpaid (and never to be paid bills) are counted as an asset, Rupert can borrow more money from the banks, though that is unlikely to be the reason for my ongoing cancelled subscription.

    • Jody says:

      I’ve been up to my local Stockland, where Foxtel has a little ‘cubicle’, and cancelled there. I’ll contact American Express to make sure there are no further deductions.

      • Doubting Thomas says:

        A friend had a bitter experience trying to cancel automatic deductions. In his case, his bank required the recipient company to authorise the cancellation. I have no personal experience of this but don’t be surprised if it happens in your case. Obviously, it will depend on your contract.

  10. Peter says:

    Absolutely Roger, Latham did no more than be Latham – the reason we tuned in to see him. I will add my voice to those disappointed that he will no longer be on the Bolt show. He was by far the most entertaining and articulate of Bolt’s regulars (though I like Rowan Dean too). A petition to get his reinstatement would be good.

  11. Ian Matthews says:

    Mark me down as one who is disappointed that Foxtel has succumbed to the forces of darkness and booted Mark Latham.

  12. Geoffrey Luck says:

    I always thought Kristina Keneally had a cleft palate, but it turns out she’s just a Yank.

  13. Keith Kennelly says:

    Good God Lacebug … you prefer much older women?

  14. Davidovich says:

    I agree entirely with Roger Franklin and it is only the access to Bolt which prevents me from closing my subscription to Foxtel. Even Bolt, I suspect, is being very careful these days and who could blame him but it doesn’t augur well. I never watch Keneally as I cannot stomach her PC leftiness and PVO was very aptly described by Latham, another one to never be listened to. Speers is also too PC although he used to be a reasonably objective commentator.

  15. I agree Roger, if it wasn’t for Bolt and Chris Kenny and the cricket and football [Rugby League for me - cowboys] I would have already cancelled my Foxtel subs. Gutlessness should never be rewarded, that’s why I refuse to drink Coopers anymore even though they make good beer.