Tim Blair


New Criterion



Friday, December 12, 2003
"THEY JUST CARRIED THE MONEY-BAGS, they didn't see the plane-tickets".

September 11 co-conspirator Abdelghani Mzoudi has been released by a German judge because he, the judge, has seen a reported statement by confessed plotter Binalshib that

of the cell members who were based in Hamburg, only suicide pilots Mohamed Atta, Marwan Al-Shehhi and Ziad Samir Jarrah, along with and Ramzi Binalshibh, knew of the plan for the hijackings

and that's all you need to walk free in Germany.

Convicted German plotter Motassadeq will be pushing for immediate release on the same grounds.

The Americans are better equipped legally to deal with these creeps.

And so, I hope, are we.

Thursday, December 11, 2003
ANOTHER CONFESSION from your relentlessy honest Uncle.

I will miss Geraldine Doogue, who leaves Radio National's morning session for the stay-at-homes, Life Matters, at the end of this year's season.

Geraldine preserved in the amber of her mind a moment Uncle remembers from his political childhood. I was about forty years old at the time.

The Whitlam regime had been toppled by a popular landslide, but the true-believers had yet to learn at the hands of the Hawke government that Whitlamism was never to return. Many of them still haven't.

One of the leading intellects of the left - yes there were still some left thinkers in those pre-post-modern days - was lecturing his colleagues on the need to re-discover the gospel of Gough. Bigger government, better plans, more ambitious bureaucrats, and this time all would go skippingly.

One of his colleagues rose wearily to his feet.

"We were all brought up to know the dire consequences of market-failure" he conceded.

"The Whitlam government taught us the consequences of government-failure. Perhaps we should learn from it."

Every time Ms Doogue wonders at the assumptions of the latest left-wing snake-oil monger pushed forward by her communard minders I hear again the sound of the scales dropping from the eyes of that old time socialist so many years ago.

I have no doubt the old socialist has worked out a few new answers in the ensuing years.

Luckily for La Doogue, she has stuck with the questions.

And so has remained employable in Auntie's sheltered workshop.

As a result of Doogue's defection Auntie's listeners will be left to the full-time attention of Ms Julie McCrossin, who doesn't so much question the intellectual baubles served up to her as fall over them like a puppy.

There will soon be demand for some heavy relief.

HENNY HERALD'S POLITICAL PROTEGE, Andrew Wilkie, gets another shove in the direction of his political goal, Parliament.

Yesterdays Henny gave Wilkie sole possession of its page two, complete with sympathetic colour pic and soft-soaping text.

Iraq intelligence whistleblower and former spy, Andrew Wilkie, is considering whether to stand as a Greens candidate at the next federal election after quietly joining the party in Sydney recently.

"considering whether to stand"?


The only reason Wilkie joined the Greens, a party he has opposed until five minutes ago, was to give him a brand name under which to campaign for election.

Mr Wilkie said he had realised after leaving the Office of National Assessments in March and going public with his concerns that the best way of maximising his effectiveness as an anti-war activist would be to join a political party

You mean that stage-managed - or should we say Laurie Oakes-managed - departure from ONA was the work of a man who was not actively planning a career in politics?

You mean those involuntary trips to London and Washington may have a political pay-off?

You mean he knew how to be a better anti-war activist nine months ago but did nothing about it until this week?

Henny, how stupid do you think your readers are?

Do you mean, Iraq being now fait accompli, that Wilkie is really a pacifist and will run as an "anti-war activist" on a policy opposing all wars? Or he has other policy commitments you're keeping secret from us until his campaign launch?

Lord Bob of the barricades Brown welcomed Wilkie's announcement. He will support Wilkie "in the same way he would support any candidate".

Perhaps Lord Bob knew already that

Mr Wilkie said he first approached the Labor Party about joining.

Perhaps the ALP's offer wasn't attractive enough. Henny didn't bother to ask.

Alternatively, if you're as simple as Henny wants us to believe it is,

"At first I thought the ALP was best for me but the more I researched the parties' platforms I realised that it was the Greens that was my natural home".

Could this spiv have graduated from that forcing school for political spivs? Yes.

Mr Wilkie joined the Young Liberals while a cadet at the Duntroon military academy in the late 1980s.

You have to wonder who's playing whom for a mug in this Wilkie-Henny assault on our credulity.

In today's Henny we are told, on page 7, under the smallest headline seen since World War I, (and it's not on Henny's website)

Wilkie yesterday revaled that he held talks with Labor, the Democrats and Meg Lees's Progressive Alliance before he decided to join the Greens.

That's either good research or careful seat-shopping, take your pick. Apparently he hasn't approached One Nation. Yet.

[Wilkie] said he had yet to decide whether he would stand for a lower house seat for the Greens at the next federal election. He has already missed the cut-off date for Greens nominations for the Senate.

Will Wilkie really try for a 50% vote, two party preferred?

Will Kerry Stinger Nettle move aside for this recently "hard right" now anti-war activist man of principle?

Will Henny Herald get honest with its readers?

I wouldn't put a cent on any of those.


For the silly season, instead of subjecting her long-suffering listeners to repeats of interviews with their favourite left-wing agitators, or their truly awful summer series of New Age lunacies, Radio National had opted for silence. Pity about the crap music that interrupts it.

It's called industrial action, but they can't expect us to take that seriously.

Later. It didn't last. The call of conscience has been overwhelmed by the slurping sounds of .... Philip Gastropod Adams, Max-weird McCutcheon, etc.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003
THE ACT BILL OF RIGHTS gets a run on this morning's Law Report.

The Australian Capital Territory will be the first jurisdiction to saddle its citizens with this burden of a job-creation scheme for lawyers, judges and opportunistic litigants.

Other Labor-ruled states don't seem keen to follow the ACT's Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope.

Stanhope leads a government whose ineptness has already cost the ACT two suburbs, whose residents found themselves in the middle of an inferno last January without even the courtesy of an hour's notice.

This summer they will watch their gardens browning off as their reservoirs clog up with ash and silt.

Soon they can watch what is left of government in the ACT clog up with litigation and judicial triumphalism.

Stanhope says that prospect doesn't bother him.

It's hard to see what could bother this Premier Lite.

Monday, December 08, 2003
TRUTH IS THE FIRST CASUALTY in the first part of Christopher Kremmer's three-part barrage in the culture war - National Museum of Australia campaign.

Kremmer, you must remember, is the hack who believes all other hacks except Margo Kingston, are "handmaidens of the imperial West".

Kremmer uses Henny Herald's page three pulpit to transform departing NMA Director, Dawn Casey , into a handmaiden of post-colonial left.

One of Australia's top Aboriginal bureaucrats, Dawn Casey took on Howard's men - and paid the price. trumpets Henny, in an op-ed piece pretending to be reportage.

Casey, a personable administrator is, I regret to report, a volunteer. The government has not been willing or able to find her an equivalent position when she leaves the Museum, so she is performing for Kremmer, Pastor Lane, and anyone who'll have her.

On this morning's AM she allows the words "cultural commandos" to be put in her mouth, describing her unnamed enemies on the Museum Council, so the phrase can be repeated on tonight's ABC television news.

ELIZABETH BYRNE: There's been a suggestion that you were driven out by a crack team of cultural commandos. Is that a fair, is that something you think has happened?

DAWN CASEY: I suspect that's right. I'd call the would-be cultural commandos (laughs).

The demented Kathryn Greiner says Casey has been let go because she is a woman, and "black".

If that is the low point of this debate, it's not that much lower than the rest of it.

The warriors of the left are, of course, fighting to defend their control of the Museum's agenda. Like the worst of the Musesum's curators, they'll just make the story up if it sounds good to them.

Casey's position is composed of several parts of sheer incomprehension.

When Pastor Lane puts to her the Carroll Enquiry's criticism of the fabricated display on the "Bell's Falls massacre", she thinks he is talking about something else entirely.

For Casey, promoted beyond what congeniality can manage, the confected conspiracies of Kremmer and the left provide an outlet for her disappointment.

The unfortunate fact is, Casey was unable to contain the culture warriors on her staff. And now she will fall instead of the ideologues she wouldn't, and the Board can't, discipline.

Kremmer continues his commentary into today's Henny, in an unwebbed half-page spread, making this one-man campaign one of Henny's biggest for months.

He asserts "The conservatives want a "great narrative" of heroism, while the progressives want warts and all", thereby misrepresenting the positions of both the reigning ideology and its critics.

Kremmer takes exception to Keith Windschuttle's comment that "identity groups [activists for women's, gay and indigenous 'rights'] do not live in cocoons of their own mkaing. Their lives are governed by the great structures of Australian society: its political, legal, economic and cultural systems" but fails to say why this obvious point should be rejected, in favour of his preferred "multicultural, reconciliation-based Keating era", whatever that might be.

What, apart from misrepresenting his opponents, is Kremmer on about?

Let's start with Captain Cook, as Professor John Carroll is keen to do.

Kremmer puts Casey in to fight for him. She "is less than impressed:'Look, I truly recognise that Captain Cook was a remarkable explorer. But you shouldn't say he was the first person to visit this country, because the Macassans were here trading. There was a whole series of explorers.'"

You see how the post-modern technique of making all options equivalent, and therefore one's own choices beyond useful debate, comes into play.

The Macassans traded with north Australia for two hundred years, leaving behind nothing but a few words, a few genes, and a couple of catastrophic (for Aborigines) smallpox epidemics.

What none of the other explorers did was bring Australia within the ambit of British policy, institutions and settlement. Cook wasn't just a brilliant explorer, he was the beginning of modern Australia. There are real continuities between the policies, the economy and the culture that pushed him here and those that guided the new colonies.

If being first doesn't matter, what happens to the rationale for the gallery of Aboriginal Australia?

A Museum Director, or a journalist, who can't see the differences here is disqualified from playing a leading role in the future of our Museum.

We are left with slogans. It's "Disneyland versus Blaineyland" according to Kremmer; "replacing unionists and feminists with farmers and miners".

This oaf doesn't even know that Blainey's history has written a bigger part for Aborigines than any alternative version. Manning Clark, by contrast, ignored them.

By relying on the ignorant bigotry of Kremmer, and the confused disappointment of Casey, the Henny Herald is writing itself out of this debate.

Later: I understand that Casey was offered another senior job, but since there are no national museums waiting for a new director it wasn't a museum job. So she told them to stuff it.

Sunday, December 07, 2003
NO HOPE FOR A KIM JONG IL HALF HOUR on Auntie's ethnic sibling, the Special Broadcasting Service.

After the first meeting of the SBS Board under its new Chair, Christopher Pearson, SBS has announced that it will end its franchise on the Vietnamese Government's "news" service.

SBS management has previously defended the service by a bizarre form of intellectual and political equivalence. It re-broadcasts BBC, Deutsche Welle, etc, so why shouldn't it give voice to the communist autocrats in Hanoi?

All governments are the same in the world of multicultural purity.

The local Vietnamese community has been apoplectic with rage for months about the SBS escapade. That's no surprise. Guess where most of them came from.

President of the organisation of Vietnamese Australians, Trung Duan, deserves an award for restraint:

"The fact that they had to wait for the board to direct them tells me there's a lack of common sense in top management of SBS TV."

It seems to come with public funding.


The Morgan poll shows support for the ALP at 52 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis, compared to 48 per cent for the Coalition.

The survey was taken after Simon Crean had announced he would step down as leader of the Opposition but before Mark Latham was elected to the position.