The election victory of Giorgia Meloni and her Brothers of Italy party came as welcome news this week. Welcome news for the world’s entirely predictable mainstream media who – and this, sadly, includes even centre-right publications in Australia – immediately resorted to employing as many variations of ‘far-right’ and ‘fascist’ as they could find in a Thesaurus and squeeze into each and every sentence regarding Ms Meloni’s victory.
More importantly, the victory is also welcome to conservatives and traditonally-minded voters across the West excited as well as relieved to finally hear and see a politician of the right who not only is passionate about traditional values, but has the stomach to fight tooth and nail for them.
The curse of conservatism over the past decade or two has been the almost universal lack of courage among conservative leaders to actually defend the causes they supposedly believe in. For sure, there are the occasional speeches or doorstop interviews where the typical centre-right leader mouths a few reassuring platitudes on the free market, or freedom of expression (within certain boundaries, of course!) to keep the party faithful happy, but these soothing words are never matched by full-throated, unequivocal, aggressive defence of those values that the Left has so successfully denigrated and vandalised across the West.
Those politicians who do defend traditonal values are immediately dismissed as ‘populists’ and swiftly dumped into the maverick bin. Donald Trump is and was a staunch and proud defender of most conservative values, but his theatricality and his unflinching style were viewed by other conservative leaders as something to be embarrassed about, rather than something to emulate. Boris Johnson had plenty of Trump’s flamboyant style, but he had none of his convictions, instincts or common sense. Trump announced he would build a wall across the southern states of America because he wanted to stop illegal immigrants coming across that border. Full stop. Boris Johnson announced he supported Brexit because he thought it would suit him politically. There is a difference.
Jair Bolsonaro and Victor Orbán have successfully been painted by the mainstream media as oddballs or fascists, which is clearly what Giorgia Meloni can look forward to over the coming months and years. Indeed, the week before her victory, the European Union’s unctious Ursula van der Leyen sneeringly suggested that should Ms Meloni win in Italy, the EU would employ unspecified ‘tools’ against her. So much for democracy, a plurality of points of view and so on. Within the EU mindset, Ms Meloni, like Mr Orbán, and their countries, must be punished and brought undone – rather than be accommodated or listen to – for having had the temerity to express dissatisfaction with the EU behemoth.
But the times may well suit Giorgia Meloni. This time around, it’s not climate change, it’s not immigration, it’s not welfare, although they are all still critical to her success. This time the overreach of the Left has entered the public domain and cannot be ignored. Having successfully captured all the major institutions, corporations and most of the political parties, the Left may come to regret the day they also tried to march through the bedrooms of troubled teenage boys and girls. There is no question that the sheer revulsion felt by many conservatives and traditionally-minded individuals, not to mention religious folk, at the entire transgender/pronouns/chest-binding/puberty-blocker/gender-surgery/ what is a woman? horror show, all of which can be summed up in the word ‘woke’, has driven blue-collar, solidly traditional people away from the old parties of the Left and into the comforting, motherly, Christian, family-oriented embrace of Ms Meloni. When she pounds her fist on the podium and rants to the adoring, cheering faithful, it is accompanied by words and phrases such as ‘family’, ‘mother’, ‘Italian’ and ‘Christian’. Identity politics may have finally come full circle.
In Australia, a nation where we now have almost wall to wall Labor governments, the lesson is crystal clear. Only conservatives who have the courage to not only articulate but to passionately fight for conservative convictions have a hope of cutting through to the electorate. Pandering to the Left by adopting net zero, or playing the insidious diversity, inclusion and equity game, deservedly spells disaster.
The times have changed. Conservatives must stop being cowards. The CPAC weekend in Sydney is as good a place to start as any.