Dying on their knees

Remember these two analogies.

First one. At the start of the pandemic hysteria in Florida, the uncritical press had petrified the voters of Florida into big-scale support for lockdowns. Even the bulk of Fox News was in favour. But Governor Ron DeSantis read the data. He read the Great Barrington Declaration authored by three of the best epidemiologists in the world. After a very short lockdown he opened up his state of Florida. He fronted the press and answered questions. He stood for something. He directly took on the lockdownistas. Later on, he flat out refused to impose any sort of mandates, mask or vaccine. He was regularly labelled a ‘granny killer’. But he continued on to implement an anglosphere version of Sweden’s (now world’s best) response. Principled. With values. Prepared to take on a near uniformly left-wing press and the few righties who revelled in lockdowns. We now know that virtually every call he made was correct. Oh, and when Disney was pushing a bizarre ‘teach kids in kindergarten and years one and two sex education in the usual Woke way’ he took away the unique tax advantages this virtue-signalling corporation had enjoyed for decades. We’re talking tens of millions of dollars each year. In the recent midterm elections, Governor DeSantis won a massive victory with 60 per cent of the vote, compared to in 2018 when he had barely snuck home by a few thousand votes.

Second analogy. When Campbell Newman was Premier of Queensland, he took on every vested interest going. He reduced the size of the civil service. He went after the doctors. He took on the legal establishment (albeit in an incompetent way without seemingly asking any, you know, actual conservative legal types how to do it). His government was unashamedly for smaller government, non-Wokery, and fiscal responsibility. Sure, he probably opened too many fronts at once and when he went for re-election he lost. But this is what no one says. His government won 41.3 per cent of the primary votes in that losing effort. Since then, every LNP Opposition government has played the ‘let’s be a centimetre to the right of Labor’ game and has lost to Labor far far worse than that Campbell Newman losing effort. And this repeats itself in other states. Standing for something pays off. Occasionally you’ll die on your feet, but of late the Liberals have been dying on their knees everywhere, all the time, in the dire grip of Stockholm syndrome.

Right now the caste that advises Liberal politicians is uniformly in the Mark Textor mould of ‘conservatives have nowhere else to go so park yourselves way over there to the left beside Labor’. It’s a really bad strategy. It destroyed the Western Australian Liberal Party. It allowed the Coalition to lose again last night to Dan Andrews. I’d bet big money that Dominic Perrottet and the Libs will lose next year. The LNP and Crisafulli in Queensland are yet another iteration of this woeful strategy.

Look, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to put a piece of paper between my views and those of John F. Kennedy (save that I’d probably have fewer hookers in the White House each week). But those views are now categorised as ‘hard right’ or ‘extremely ideological’ not just by the ABC (which is wholly to be expected) but also by half of the MPs in a Coalition partyroom. This is the worst cohort of right-of-centre politicians in my lifetime. They stand for absolutely nothing, Mr Morrison being exhibit A in the case for the prosecution. There is nothing they’d fight for if it risked them losing the chauffeur and perks.

Frankly, it beggars belief that the Victorian Opposition under Matthew Guy could have been this wholly useless. Did they attack relentlessly on the world’s worst lockdowns? You know… The weaponised police. The destroyed small business sector. The brutal and ineffective vaccine mandates. No. No. No. Instead, Matthew Guy sounded as though he more or less agreed with the Andrews’ playbook. And don’t forget that Scott Morrison never once said one critical thing about how Dan Andrews imposed the world’s harshest, most thuggish pandemic response on Victoria.

I guarantee you that had Ron DeSantis been Victorian leader – even allowing for how many Victorians clearly must have no clue about the data surrounding how badly Australia has done (for instance, our cumulative excess deaths are worse than no-lockdown Sweden’s by some way) – that he would have made huge inroads on the Labor vote on that front alone.

Then there’s Victoria’s debt that is massive. Guy says a couple of trite things about this and then offers highly subsidised public transport. And what about the patent corruption? The imploding credit rating? The list goes on. Don’t tell me the press acts as Labor’s praetorian guard. Of course it does. Have you seen our universities and journalism schools? But they did in Florida too, even more so. Know your stuff and take them on. Fight and you can win.

The Libs aren’t offering a fighting Opposition. It’s more of a tame, complicit, ‘we agree with you Danny Boy’ affair. It pains me to say this, given that Dan Andrews behaved shockingly during the two and a half years of Covid. But the Libs were so awful and so lacking in any coherent values or beliefs that they deserved to lose. The NSW version of Team Liberal deserves to lose too. And so does the Queensland version. The party has been infiltrated by too many people who don’t hold any of the longstanding small government, pro-freedom values. They actually share much of a centre-left type ideology. They agree that those like me whose views line up perfectly with JFK’s really are ‘hard right’ or ‘ideological extremists’. Just look at the advisers who went on TV after it became clear Matthew Guy had been slaughtered. Their take? The Libs need quotas for women. Know what you morons? I will never, ever vote for any party that imposes quotas. I believe in merit. And I think there are a lot like me. The problem is advisers and value-free hack politicians with a focus group obsession that is premised on being hollow, value-free vacuums waiting to suck up what this poll or that poll indicates. Ron DeSantis ignored polls and went with principles. He won people over.

This party right now is an absolute disgrace. I like Peter Dutton. I’m really hoping he stands up to the appeasers in his partyroom and throughout the adviser class. Because it’s not going to be long before the only Liberals in government will be in Tasmania. Make of that what you will.

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