As I understand the business of journalism a reporter or contributor submits an article which is then pored over by an editor, an individual I had always assumed in my blithe ignorance would cast a keen eye over the copy for errors of fact, illogicality and specious arguments. Apparently his applies only to ink-stained wretches of the common or garden variety, as a recent attempt by Fairfax star opinionator Peter FitzSimons would suggest that he is permitted to publish any tosh he fancies, which is quite a lot indeed if recent effort is any indication. Perhaps his editors were attending at a symposium detailing what can and cannot be reported about Islam in Western Sydney, a campaign of omission so successful even Media Watch has been obliged to notice the total absence of stories in the SMH about the goings on at Punchbowl High.
So I’ll work on the assumption that FitzSimons’ lastest opus passed into print unread and unnoticed. Either that or SMH editor Stuart Washington mistakenly believes his columnist is a disciple of the Prophet and it would therefore be racist to send a short note urging him not to be so much of a dill.
FitzSimon’s target was that universal fallback of the topic-bereft, Tony Abbott, described by the headline thus, ‘Tony Abbott is tied in knots over Brexit and the monarchy.’ Here is the crux of an argument as put by a former rugby star who may well have taken one too many blows to the head:
“You decided to take responsibility for your own future,” he (Abbott) declared, “and I have to say I have never, ever admired the British people more.”
Get it? There is Australia’s most famous monarchist, lauding the Brits for going it alone, while STILL maintaining that Australia not only shouldn’t follow their example, but must cling to their ankles!
If you still don’t get the point, the caption below the photo of Abbott accompanying this diatribe spelled it put:
Tony Abbott can’t admire Brexit in Britain and yet remain a monarchist in Australia … can he?
Does FitzSimons really believe that, for Britons, Brexit means a repudiation of the monarchy? Further, does he believe, really believe, that edicts issued by Brussels bureaucrats are in any way comparable to the Monarch’s place as a symbolic figurehead? Australia has not surrendered one iota of its sovereignty by maintaining its acceptance of Queen Elizabeth (and her successors) as our Head(s) of State, which function she exercises quite independently of any similar function she fulfills towards Great Britain and, indeed, Canada or New Zealand. Does FitzSimons imagine that because the Queen is also Canada’s Head of State there is some constitutional link between Canada and Australia?
This is a classic example of the lack of intellectual rigour that now pervades Left thought and, as collateral damage, the ignominy it has deposited in the sandboxes that pass for Fairfax editorial operations. Those who reject the aims of the Australian Republican Movement should take comfort in the fact that FitzSimons is its chief. Not much chance of success there, one would think.
Further to the subject of woolly thinking, know that Fitzsimons has some unexpected company in the dunce’s corner — Graeme Richardson, who is usually far too smart to peddle yet another free speech myth:
Just to make sure that the right got in on the anti-free speech bandwagon, Peter Dutton bucketed the CEOs who had the temerity to lend their support to an open letter calling for an early start for gay marriage.
Having earlier in the piece castigated the Left for its persecution of Bill Leak, this is Richardson’s bid to balance the ledger. It’s an argument that most of the ABC Insider’s panel espoused yesterday as well, a coincidence that cofims it is supremely vacuous.
Dutton was not suggesting that CEOs, such as Qantas’ Alan Joyce, do not have the right to express an opinion on same-sex marriage. What he was saying was that they do not have the right to appropriate the prestige or standing of the companies they head to bolster their own private positions or to push a particular partisan political line — not unless they have received the overwhelming imprimatur of the shareholders, rather than on the strength of dubious polls whose results endorse their leanings and preoneptions. This is particularly true in that the position expressed in the open letter was not merely general support for a social issue (same-sex marriage) but support for a partisan political position – conscience vote vs plebiscite. I am not a Qantas shareholder, but were hat the case I would be even more outraged at Joyce’s temerity than I am now.
Just as an aside, I note that David Crowe, writing like Richardson in The Australian, opines in reference to Turnbull’s proposed company tax cuts:
Turnbull took the tax cut to the election but cannot get it all through the Senate. He will need to legislate what he can get, abandon the rest and assure voters he has listened to the parliament they elected. This will infuriate big business but the policy appears doomed anyway.
Doesn’t this make Dutton’s point about execs doing best by “sticking to their knitting”? If Big Business spent more time and energy supporting this clearly pro-growth initiative and less time worrying about same-sex marriage maybe the tax proposals might not be in so much trouble.
These things might appear no worse mere irritants, but that would be the wrong impression to draw from these examples of people who should know when to shut up but seldom do. If taxes aren’t reduced, businesses will depart for more hospitable shores, taking jobs with them. If we reject the Monarchy for the wrong reasons and minus any true grasp of the role it plays, whatever comes next will be based on a lie — and we all know what happens to those who deal in untuths. Just look at how few people now read FitzSimons columns!