Tim Blair


New Criterion



Saturday, June 26, 2004
BEFORE CATCHING UP WITH THE NEWS, I make confidently the following predictions about the past week in politics.

1. After a week to digest the result of the Euro-elections, in which the major parties' votes were halved and the UK Independence Party came from nowhere to major party status, the relevant 98% of the journalist class in Australia has recanted of its former prejudices.

They were seen marching out of their offices at the ABC, Henny Herald and the Age, among others, offering passers-by many-thonged whips dipped in acid with which to correct them.

"We were wrong about Pauline Hanson" they cried. "That racketty red-head was no racist (although a few of her more opportunistic supporters doubtless were) but the sole voice prepared to speak the truth that the polite and privileged never own up to: that the bipartisan policy of multiculturalism was breeding and subsidising separatisms , the fuelling of Aboriginal disadvantage with rampant welfare funding while disinvesting in public facilities used by those squeezed by globalisation was outrageous, that the unions were defending the privileges of their tiny minority of members while treading on those trying to make jobs, in other words that the political consensus was not in touch with the electorate, and that by so doing she woke the major parties from their captivity by interest groups and did all of us a great service."

"Our mentors and crib sources in the UK have been forced to admit as much about UKIP, and we feel the need to catch up."

2. Media Mark Latham recognised how stupid he had been on Iraq and the US alliance, and let us know by a nod and a wink that he would be passing the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement. He was still pretending to the anti-capitalist left that he was with them in spirit.

3. Even more improbable, Latham Labor gave up on his opposition to Medicare co-payments, not because he wanted to squander the proceeds on public sector stunts like free reading kits for parents but in order to protect Medicare from further running down.

These are the sort of bizarre dreams you have on a rural excursion as the bitumen flows under the bonnet.