Sunday, December 7, 2014

Tony Abbott's Secret Weapon

Hm... rumblings of discontent at Murdoch's mouthpiece, The Australian:

"Tony Abbott's transition from opposition leader to Prime Minister has failed (Cruising in opposition, adrift in government)," declared political editor Dennis Shanahan in yesterday's emission.

But only to be overruled by foreign editor, Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan:

"The conservative critique of the Abbott government is becoming excessive and a little unhinged... The Prime Minister has made some mistakes, so has his government. That's in the nature of politics. Indeed it's in the nature of the human race, to which so many politicians belong." (Keep calm & don't carry on)

Greg & Tone, of course, are besties from way back. For example:

"No doubt the silliest thing we did at the [Australian Union of Students] conference [at Monash University in 1977] was to attend a Palestinian film night. Because AUS was spending our money, we wanted to assert, non-violently, our right to be there. So we heckled the film a bit. Although we were outnumbered 10 to 1... the film was stopped and we were told we had to leave. We were making the point that we shouldn't have to leave because the evening was being funded by our compulsorily collected student union dues. One woman from the far Left came up behind Abbott, took off her wooden clog and whacked him hard over the back of the head. I'll never forget Abbott's response. He turned round, paused and said: 'Madam, if you were not a lady, I'd be tempted to strike you back. Then we left." (See my 13/9/12 post Greg & Tony Do Monash 1.)

Now you'll notice here a feature of Tone's life that seems to have escaped most commentators (but not of course his bestie!): women seem to bring out the best in him.

In the above case, for example, a good whack over the head - by a woman -  worked wonders; no more heckling, no more lip, no biff, just iron self-control and an orderly retreat. But there's more:

"There is one episode in Abbott's life I witnessed but don't often recount because my own role was so utterly unheroic. In 1977, Abbott and I were lying on the sand at a surf beach some distance out of Melbourne. The surf was way too rough for either of us to go in. Suddenly a woman came up to us screaming. Her son had been pulled out by a rip and was in bad trouble. I was a weak swimmer and had I dived in someone would very soon have had to rescue me. Abbott was a strong swimmer and pretty much without hesitation jumped in, swam out to the kid, took hold of him, dragged him down the coastline a bit to get past the rip, and brought him safely to shore. He was not a bit interested in the mother's thanks, rather a bit disgusted the kid had gone out in such treacherous surf." (A contest between constructed man and unreconstructed man, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 17/8/13)

Another woman! But for her we'd have had no idea what an absolute bloody hero the man is.

It must surely have been the above feminine (angelic?) interventions that inspired Greg to come up with the only possible solution to Tone's current predicament: 

"Finally, while no one appreciates good foreign policy more than I do, Abbott has had too much of his time eaten up by foreign issues. He needs to be out and about among the electorate, preferably with his wife, Margie, who, through her poise, dignity and manifest niceness, softens and humanises Abbott, and reminds people that Abbott himself is an exceptionally good bloke who is very easy to relate to." (Keep calm...)

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