An Abbott hagiography. Wonder and awe.

1 Mar



You all know about The Australian’s paywall, right?

The first paragraph of the Greg Sheridan hagiography of Prime Minister Tony Abbott reads thus:

NO Australian prime minister has been quite so complex, or quite so spectacularly misunderstood, by supporters and detractors, and indeed the public, as Tony Abbott.

I implore you to read this if you haven’t already. It is an outstanding example of delusional thinking. It isn’t spin, which is calculated and deceitful linguistic manipulation employed in order to achieve a specific outcome. Sheridan is a true believer, an acolyte, a devotee, a worshipper at the altar of Abbott, and I read this piece with wonder and awe. Look:

Abbott is decisive…But decisiveness is a bit like papal infallibility. As Pope Pius IX is said to have remarked: when you are infallible, you have to be very careful of what you say. 

Abbott loves to write. He loves words in the service of ideas. He is a truly gifted headline writer: stop the boats; a great big new tax on everything;

He loves soldiers, I suspect, for two main reasons. They have a culture of getting things done. And they have engaged in heroic sacrifice beyond even that which he has done himself.

It is a rich personality, as varied and complex as that of any occupant of the Lodge in our history.

Right now, Australians find him a riddle wrapped inside an enigma. After all these years, they don’t know him yet.

As Ray Charles grieves, so does Tony Abbott:

You give your hand to me
And then you say, “Hello.”
And I can hardly speak,
My heart is beating so.
And anyone can tell
You think you know me well.
Well, you don’t know me.
(no you don’t know me)


 Sheridan does acknowledge some of Abbott’s faults, but to him they are only temporarily misdirected strengths and he will, if allowed to remain Prime Minister, grow out of them into full maturity.

I can truthfully say this is the first time I have ever heard the notion of the Prime Ministership as a training ground, a learning space reminiscent of Montessori or Steiner in which the incumbent is awarded the opportunity to fully realise his or her potential according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I honestly thought the position was something to do with the interests of the country and its citizens, rather than a path to personal fulfilment.

Abbott does not, according to Sheridan, hold grudges. Someone needs to tell that to Philip Ruddock before he stumbles off like a defanged Shakespearean Father of the House of Liberals, overthrown by a trusted son whose rampant ambitions would see the old man banished to the chilly outers to languish and rot, friendless and unmourned.

On reaching the end of the Sheridan piece I was reminded of a Seinfeld episode in which George observes of a mutual acquaintance, “There’s more to him than meets the eye.”

“No,” says Jerry, “there’s less.”





17 Responses to “An Abbott hagiography. Wonder and awe.”

  1. Hawkpeter March 1, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    Mike Carlton’s tweet on this says all I could say…..’Woo Hoo ! Little Greggie Sheridan’s into the Speedos again. Slurp. ‘

    Apologies for the vulgarness.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. paul walter March 1, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    People like Sheridan would only criticise Abbott for not being hard enough.

    Secondly, although I am happy that tones has an opportunity for self realisation, bless the little lad, I do hope it is not coming at the expense of perhaps millions of ordinary people- or is that the subceptional message to be massaged from this point?

    If it is the case we are really back to the era of the Sun-King and a pol-economics of repressive tolerance based on excess, situational goods and bads and delightful, fear inducing cruelty for the masses, as scapegoats are torn apart for onlookers predilection and better education at the virtual Meeja Coliseum.

    Simulacra rules.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson March 1, 2015 at 11:46 am #

      Oh dear, I read your first sentence straight after Hawkpeter’s transcription of Carlton’s tweet and well…


  3. doug quixote March 1, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    You can fool some of the people all of the time. Sheridan is clearly one of them.

    Try to ignore the fool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson March 1, 2015 at 11:47 am #

      I usually do, but that piece has stirred my imagination. I think I’ll write a short play. It will involve religious ecstasy and medieval garments.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. doug quixote March 1, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    It appears Abbott is Sheridan’s best friend:

    Little wonder then that he goes in to bat for Abbott.

    Ignore him completely, he is hopelessly compromised.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michaela Tschudi March 1, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

      Brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘mutual obligation’.

      Liked by 2 people

      • paul walter March 1, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

        Any port in a storm?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Michaela Tschudi March 1, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

          Oh gawd that is not an image I wish to keep in my head

          Liked by 1 person

  5. hudsongodfrey March 1, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

    The Australian’s paywall is a good thing. It keeps many ordinary Australian people comparatively bullshit free….

    The dumbest thing about Sheridan’s editorial is that it doesn’t so much cast the PM in a better light as question his hagiographer’s dubious judgement.

    That byline alone speaks volumes… “Many of the PM’s finest qualities are also potentially negative traits”….

    There you have it, Sheridan basically likes those things about the man that many of us openly despair of. Yet, in the final analysis his fawning exposition fails to convincingly enumerate the strengths he presumably thinks compliment his hapless subject’s many endearing vulnerabilities. Indeed to fall short of credibility in any such endorsement seems as if to damn with faint praise.

    At best you’re left raking over the ashes of what might have been, at worst chafing at the bit to for a palace coup. Either way, what Sheridan has unwittingly penned is not so much an apologia on his mate’s behalf as Abbott’s political obituary.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. olddavey March 1, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

    Aah, Greg Sheridan,
    Turd Polisher Extraordinaire………………….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Marilyn March 1, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

    Abbott is precisely who he has always been, a thug.


  8. flrpwll March 2, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

    On the contrary, I think we understand him all too well.

    Therein lies the problem.

    What a shame it took so many people until after the election to figure out our Tones.

    I just “can’t even”, with the crowd who still think he’s the bees knees. WTF is wrong with people? Are they stupid, or just arseholes?

    Liked by 1 person

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