February 8

Out of touch editors

Editorials in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald once
commanded attention and respect. Today, more often than not, they
are ignored. Or, if they are actually read, it is to not at all
unusual to hear the remark that they are completely out of touch
with reality.

The only group that would find appeal with much that is written
is our left wing intelligentsia, the elites, who are so unhappy
with Australia’s heritage.

The editorial in The Sunday Age of 5 February, 2006, “Scandal
looms large, but not in the ballot box” was typical:
: http://www.theage.com.au/news/editorial/scandal-looms-large-
: but-not-in-the-ballot-box/2006/02/04/1138958942152.html

The editorial laments the fact that it is likely that without evidence proving government involvement, the Prime Minister will not be condemned for the Australian Wheat Board’s alleged role in circumventing the Iraqi “oil for food programme”.

One would have thought that without evidence, a person, including a prime minister, should not be condemned.

But desperate to find some reason to bring Mr Howard down, the editor says that it “may not be to our national credit that the taint persisting from scandals of this kind rarely determines the choices Australians make at the ballot box, but nonetheless it is so.”

I would have thought that this was evidence of the wisdom of the Australian people. They make judgements about politicians on matters other than the taint which comes from beat-ups by a hostile left wing campaigning media .

The editor has to admit with some irritation that, as the 10th anniversary of his Government approaches on 2 March 2006, Mr Howard's “political astuteness and connection with voters cannot be in doubt.”

The editor says that the “same cannot be said of the two men in the present Parliament who hope to succeed him”. Many would agree.

But then the editor declares his agenda, which demonstrates how out of touch he is with the vast majority of Australians. A Costello government or a Beazley government, he predicts, would be “more likely to revisit the great unresolved symbolic questions of Australian politics, such as the republic and indigenous reconciliation.”

Those great unresolved symbolic questions? The electorate has made it very clear what it thinks of both, and that other Age obsession, Flag change.

And of course he says” The Sunday Age”- for that read the personal opinion of one transitory editor-“looks forward to the day when a national leader can invoke these symbols to unite rather than divide Australians.”

Then reality returns. “ But if either man is to do so, he must first forge the connection with voters that the Prime Minister has, and they do not.”

This is the contradiction. If Mr. Costello and Mr.Beazley have garnered even a small proportion of Mr Howard’s “astuteness and connection with voters”, they would know that republicanism and reconciliation are not issues which interest them- in the slightest.

In fact, it is dawning on Australians that when a politician indicates an obsession with either of these issues, that politician is out of touch and should not be trusted with high office.

The republican press suspects this. That is why, for example, during the 2004 election they played down Mr Latham’s exuberant endorsement of the republican movement’s plan to make Australians keep on voting on the republic until they got it right.

Mr Latham was so passionate about this, he said he would cram their programme into one term, which horrified them because they knew Australians would react unfavourably to a government doing nothing else than force feeding them with republicanism.

To suggest that by reviving these dead issues a prime minister could unite the nation, The Sunday Age’s editor merely indicates how out of touch he is with the average Australian.

Link to The Sunday Age editorial


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