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May 03rd 2017 print

Christopher Carr

I Left the Liberals? No, the Party Left Me

I was a very active member, but that was then, when branches represented democracy in microcosm. Today's party is beyond redemption, infested with apparatchiks, sycophants and those of no known principle nor competence. So I'll bide my time, endure Bill Shorten PM and await the conservative re-birth

turnbull eyesLast Saturday, the State Council of the New South Wales Liberal Party upheld the decision of the State Executive to suspend former MP Ross Cameron for four and a half years. His crime? He spoke freely of newly installed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s opposition to the introduction of plebiscites that would give all local branch members their say. Cameron should wear this suspension as a badge of honour.

For the rest of us — or, rather, those who yet remain within the party — immediate resignation would be a rational and principled response. For reasons which largely escape me, there are still some good people who faithfully maintain their memberships. Cameron’s martyrdom for suggesting that things revert to the way they once were should be the final straw. What does the Liberal Party stand for, they might ask themselves, now that its bosses not merely spurn rank-and-file democracy but actively and brazenly scorn it?

Full disclosure: years ago, I was a member. Indeed, I was more than that. I served as a branch president, a delegate to federal and state electorate conferences and to the State Council. In that distant past, my local branch could boast of more than one hundred members — a sampling that could rightfully and truthfully be described as representing the diversity of views held by the Liberal supporters who accepted the how-to-votes we handed out on election days.

In those days party members had serious debates about policy. What we did not have, at least in my area, were factional heavies breathing down our necks. I was involved in the preselection contest for the seat in which I lived way back in 1973. It was an open contest with a large number of candidates. Before the day of the vote, a number of us on the preselection committee submitted questions to all the candidates. Their written replies were circulated, studied and weighed. On the great day when we voted, all the candidates gave speeches. We then held exhaustive ballots until only two candidates were left.

Truly, merit won out. Little did we know that we had chosen as our candidate in the seat of Bennelong a future Prime Minister, John Winston Howard. What a contrast with the fixes now imposed on local branches by the Michael Photios dominated state executive.

liberals protestNorth Sydney Liberals protest the Labor-style shenanigans that saw party bosses install Trent Zimmerman as Joe Hockey’s replacement (ABC photo)

 

Were I still a paid-up Liberal, I would be ashamed to be a member of what is now the desiccated husk of a once-great party. I suspect that the Liberal Party will stagger to the next election like the walking dead. The next elections, both federal and state, will be cathartic events. And yet, if I look beyond the likely Labor victory and unsettling prospect of Bill Shorten, PM, there is the faintest light of hope in which to discern the future of the non-Labor side after the drubbings to come. Here I look across the Pacific for precedent and, ideally, for hope of revival.

Canada illustrates the fate of once great parties. For years, the Progressive Conservatives, an oxymoronic product of an essentially centre-left Canadian electorate, had functioned as the centre-right alternative to the centre-left Liberal Party. It produced prime ministers such as John Diefenbaker and later, during the 1980’s, Brian Mulroney. Kim Campbell, who succeeded Mulroney as leader of the party and prime minister, led the Progressive Conservatives to a total wipe-out  in the 1993 elections, winning precisely two seats in the Canadian House of Commons. The rival right-wing Reform Party, led by Preston Manning, emerged as the official opposition. Out of the Reform Party and elements of the old Progressive Conservatives, there emerged the new Conservative Party. Under the leadership of Stephen Harper, the Conservatives won the 2006 elections and governed with a fair degree of success for the next nine years.

As for Australia, we can be certain of only two things. One, Bill Shorten will win, but he will have no genuine mandate, the basis and core of his appeal being that he is not a Liberal. Whatever his majority in the House of Representatives, we may be sure that the ideologues in his cabinet will quickly alienate the majority of Australians. An unjustified moral superiority plus unlimited access to taxpayers’ money always brings that arrogant result.

The second thing of which we can be certain is that the non-Labor side will go through a painful period of reconstruction. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives become the wild cards in the pack. This pair of outsiders overlap, particularly in terms of their perception of the cultural and civilisational challenges, but differ markedly on matters economic. For my money, if one were to place a premium on intellectual coherence, the bet would be on Cory Bernardi as the chief driver of the conservative reconstruction. On the other hand, Pauline Hanson gives voice to the often contradictory impulses of conservative working-class voters. We will see.

Best of all, the factional heavies in the Liberal Party will be history.

I very much doubt that Ross Cameron will have to wait four and a half years before he resumes a constructive role on the conservative side of politics.

Comments [31]

  1. Jody says:

    Totally agree with this. If Cameron isn’t good enough then it’s not a party I want anything to do with. And now Talkbull has just announced another Labor education policy with Gonski and Boston (both Labor luvvies) by his side. I want them to crash and burn and later rise from the ashes, Phoenix-like. The sooner the better.

    • Guido Negraszus says:

      “I want them to crash and burn and later rise from the ashes, Phoenix-like. The sooner the better.”

      That was the delcon argument all along.

      • Steve Spencer says:

        “That was the delcon argument all along.”

        And it was that sentiment that directed my votes at the last election, in the face of much derision from many so-called conservatives/Liberals. Turnbull and the Liberal party have since done everything in their power to prove that we ‘Delcons’ were right. I take little comfort though. All the last election did was postpone the destruction and (I hope) rebirth of the Liberal party while the Turnbull faithful one-by-one concede that they stuffed up.

        • Guido Negraszus says:

          Agree. Bill Shorten now faces the extraordinary situation where he faces another Labor-kind party (once called Liberals) come next election. People will vote for the original!

  2. pgang says:

    Because I follow politics a little bit (which is a billion times more than the average person), people sometimes ask me why I don’t get involved. My reply is always, ‘What for?’

  3. pgang says:

    ….and their reply is usually, after a moment’s thought, ‘For the perks.’

  4. Bill Martin says:

    Bill Shorten PM. What a terrifying prospect, yet it seems all but certain. Hopefully the handful of genuine conservatives still in the Liberal Party will flock to Bernardi’s conservatives following the debacle and quickly get the new party on the road to regaining their rightful place in the political landscape.

  5. Jon R says:

    Christopher, I am fortunate, I never joined. It would seem membership of any political party is a complete waste of time. Subscribe to a newspaper, you might just have more influence. I have consistently over the years, voted for people who I know to be honest and upright. People of principal who will do the best they know how. Our current Canberra crew, are more useful as corkscrews. There is one exception, and he has been rolled by the machine, and the press.

  6. Warty says:

    It seems to me that the Liberal Party, and to a lesser extent, the Nationals, merely reflect those ‘deep state’ aspects of the society we now live in. For those conservatives with a degree of political nous, the Liberal Party is beyond restitution, and Ross Cameron indicated this when he pointed out he was ‘over it’ on Jones and Co, of Sky News.
    So, the idea that a Shorten government might rid the Liberal Party of its Labor-lites, its cuck conservatives, no longer bears any weight for this ex Liberal voter. I joined Cory’s Australian Conservatives, for better or worse, in the hope we may indeed form a new conservative base.
    With his speech in WA tonight, Tony Abbot seems to be gathering momentum, but seems to be backing a horse with a severe case of rickets. I’m growing increasingly more confused as to what he hopes achieve, if he keeps on pledging his loyalty to a dysfunctional party.

  7. Keith Kennelly says:

    Warty

    That’s his best strategy. After he is returned as PM, he’ll be able to demand the same of Malcolm and his stooges. They’ll leave, because they don’t have the nous or stomach to face their duplicity.

    And good riddance.

    I’m looking forward to watching Nikki Savva and all the other Tony Haters have a very public breakdown.

    Malcolm and Lucy will go into hiding and that idiotic SA defence minister will look as silly as his silly look.

    • Jody says:

      Are you referring to “The Mincing Poodle”, by any chance?

      • Warty says:

        Sounds good, particularly Nikki Savva doing a complete flip out in public. I wrote a critical comment of her Tony for GG article in the Australian today, but the Savva hired moderator wouldn’t publish it. I’m afraid I have to be a little self indulgent here and post the bloody thing at the end of this comment. Yes, pathetic, I know, but I can’t stand censorship.

        ‘Just reading the headline to this article should be sufficient for anyone (because who in their right mind would want to read further). So who gives a damn what this Niki Savva thinks. Believe it or not Tony will operate independently of her. So will I. So will you. The question is, who on earth decided to publish what she wrote?’
        The headline, for those who don’t receive The Australian, was ‘Abbot should take GG role’. I mean, ‘should’! Expletive followed by another expletive more foul than the first.

  8. Mike_O28 says:

    I have been a liberal voter for quite some time but not at the last election. I am dismayed at the actions taken by the Cabal centred around MT. The influence of the Greens on both major parties is remarkable. Both liberal and labor just do not see the threat of going down the path of green thinking. Recently the realisation that there is a problem with electricity generation. The constant carping to end fossil fuels is believed by both parties. Malcolm Turnbull actually signed a plan to convert our economy to 100% renewables. Labor thinks more than 50%. When we have a new government it will be the Labgre and if there is not enough right wing senators we will be in a deep mess.

    I wonder what electric planes and electric submarines are going to look like. Will the submarines have wind turbines?

  9. Trog says:

    This seriously depresses me. We have Tony as an emasculated Aslan on the stone table being further sliced away by evilly twisted and corrupt minions that once walked with him in the light.

    I fervently hope he can again find the deep Magick and resurrect both himself and the party but fear not. I am sadly resigned alas to the evil Queen Tanya assuming the overlord mantle eventually and winter besetting us all.

    Meanwhile the wolfish people smugglers are busily spending up on not so seaworthy vessels.

    • Jody says:

      Abbott is finished as a leader, and possibly even a front-bencher, in this or any other Coalition. He should just remain the Philosopher King and keep jammering to his vastly-decreasing audience.

      • Doubting Thomas says:

        Niki, belt up and stop channeling Jody. You’re ruining her reputation.

      • Warty says:

        Depends which audience you are referring to. Amongst The Australian readers, he enjoys significant support, and the same with 2GB listeners, which is why he appears once a week on Ben Fordham’s show, and once a fortnight on Ray Hadley. Real conservatives can’t get enough of him; cuck conservatives, well they’re thoroughly intimidated by him. Can’t muster a kind word for him if they tried. The only problem is that the rest of us wouldn’t give two dingo’s droppings what the cucks think anyway. Not that I’m saying Jody’s a cuck, just a little conflicted: nothing a smooth creamy mocha chocolate wouldn’t fix.

    • whitelaughter says:

      The obvious question is – why didn’t the clobbering at the last election persuade the Liberal machine that it was time to hide behind people who actually believed in things? Surely the threat of oblivion is obvious even to them?

  10. ChrisPer says:

    In 1996 the Liberals and the National Party betrayed a million ordinary Australians to a baying lynch-mob over guns, for the approval of people like those we now call the Legacy Media or MSM. Every day we suffer over-regulation based on bad assumptions of the causes and risks of gun violence.
    SO it is a real pleasure now that Malcolm Turnbull and Mark Textor have freed me from the responsibility of voting for the good of all Australians, and purely vote to punish the party that has done me the most harm.

  11. Keith Kennelly says:

    Jody expresses these views: hates Abbott, hates Trump, tends towards catastrofarian sympathies.

    Yet says she votes and thinks herself as Liberal!

    I’m left shaking my head.

    One of these views, yeah ok, two of these views, leaves me looking askance but all three, naaaah… gotta be a leftie at heart.

    • Jody says:

      “I’m left shaking my head”.

      Careful; it will fall off because it isn’t held on by much!!!

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Jody expresses these views: hates Abbott, hates Trump, tends towards catastrofarian sympathies.

      Bring on the Inquisition!
      Burn all heretics and apostates!
      Jody, or Jody d’Arc, or whatever her name is, to the top of the pyre!
      What we need is purification!

      • whitelaughter says:

        Rather than bag each other out, consider:
        1) Despite the lies of the ABC etc, Quadrant has never just been for the extreme Right. Look back here in the archives: https://quadrant.org.au/issue_archive/Vol2_No2_1958/QUADV2N2.pdf – even in 1958, one of the contributors is Niall Brennan, son of Labor MP Frank Brennan, talking about his time in the Labor party. This is a good place for anyone who respects democracy.

        2) On a recent occasion, rather than bagging each other out, the parties of an incipient flame war chose to respond to each other in verse: surely this is a far more civilized way to handle matters?

  12. Keith Kennelly says:

    Jody

    Why bother?

  13. dcburgos says:

    Meanwhile Western Civilization is eroding from within, aided and abetted by ALL establishment politicians who have no moral backbone and are utterly cowered by the seemingly unstoppable tidal wave of Marxian/Deep Ecological/Cultural Relativists march through the Institutions… the last time this happened, it took the better part of 800 years to Reconquer and rid the West of the Obscurantist Malaise… but go ahead keep arguing about the inconsequential and ephemeral…

  14. Keith Kennelly says:

    Deburhos

    It is conservative politicians like Trump and Abbott who are our only hope of resisting the Marxist wave.

    Their policies will reverse the tide by abolishing the leftie trendy causes of climate catastrophe, political correctness. They are in direct opposition to the politicians (pretending to be Conservatives) who give tacit support to these Marxist causes.

    Jody is one of their supporters. In here she supports anyone who pretends conservative, and hates all politicians who are truely conservative. She also thinks the greens might b right.

    It is Jody and people like her who give great succour to the Marxists among us. They have her truely fooled.

    Jody and people like her haven’t identified the enemy and are fooled into identifying with the pretend conservatives … who are bracketed with the Marxist enemy’s of western values and civilisation.

    Of course she’ll argue against this but will still hate Abbott and Trump, and will excuse climate castropharians views.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Ergo, anyone who disagrees with Abbott and Trump is a Marxist. QED.
      Likewise anyone who supports the scientific mainstream on AGW.
      I will say this for it Keith: it simplifies the issues enormously. “Too much thinking makes Jack a dull boy”: I think that’s how the old saying has it.

  15. Keith Kennelly says:

    Too much over thinking and propaganda makes you say silly things like cold causes warming and that because the climate evidence doesnt back climate science we need to revise sciences.

    Really Ian, do you forget what you say?