Why Andrew Bolt turned on Pauline Hanson

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Like most contributors here at XYZ I’m a great fan of Andrew Bolt.

He has been a calm voice of reason in a sea of leftist media chaos since I was a young man.

I remember attending an O-week society day fifteen years ago and seeing pictures of Andrew being used as dartboards by the local Communists. I can think of no greater honour or recommendation.

For many of us, reading his columns helped to introduce us to the basic bones of a conservative worldview. For a long time he was the only way many normal Australians got any alternative to the leftist pap we get served up as news and entertainment.

Without him during the hysterical high watermark of Climate madness just under a decade ago, there would have been no prominent voices at all questioning the charlatans like Tim Flannery, flitting from ABC studio to ABC funded documentary spruiking his prophecies of an imminent doomsday.

We watched as the system railroaded him under the abomination that is 18C. We felt with him as he stood in the wind outside the court that sad day surrounded by grinning leftist journalists shoving microphones in his face, overjoyed that the heretic had been given a slap.

Without the political persecution he suffered and his persistence in campaigning on the issue, the momentum for change on free speech in this country might not exist at all.

For telling the calm and honest truth, for questioning the pieties of the establishment and for exploding the pretty lies that are the grease lubricating the slippery slope towards our nation’s destruction he has become a hate figure, reviled in university lecture halls and newsrooms alike.

He has become the Emmanuel Goldstein the left uses to bond with one another. In dinner parties across the nation his name is a trigger for smug guffaws and self satisfied derision. In Melbourne he runs the risk of being physically attacked every day of his life by the extremists of the far left. His reward for speaking what is true was having to move his family out of fear of death threats.

Bolt has been a hero of sorts for many of us, a daggy uncle who loves opera and tulips and wishes for a simpler time when the certainties of life were less uncertain.

Which is what makes this article so hard to write.

It’s time to face up to a harsh truth. Despite how deservedly beloved Mr. Bolt is for so many of us on the Australian right, he in many ways is the epitome of those conservatives who value politeness, civility and being nice over actually winning. To a certain type of mindset there is an almost unassailable conviction that if you win dirty you haven’t really won at all, that if you compromise your principles to save your nation then that nation isn’t really worth saving.

I remember Bolt having a right-wing patriot on his television program who had recently conducted a controversial protest, and berating the bemused man about how he was just as bad as the left. Furiously and passionately demanding he answer how Bolt was supposed to attack the left for being violent sociopaths when this unlettered boor had the temerity to be impolite himself?

Let’s not forget that Bolt as well almost the entirety of the Australian conservative media never really warmed to Donald Trump. He was too brash, too rude, and too plebeian in his mannerisms. He indulged the proles and broke the rules. While the conservative firmament downunder celebrated the Trump victory as their own, much like their equivalents stateside they conveniently forgot that they had been criticising his every move all the way.

But the rot has really set in regarding Bolt’s coverage of One Nation and Pauline Hanson.

I was personally quite surprised when Andrew began to give fair and even favourable coverage to the upstart populist party last year after their stunning election result. I think as the reality dawned that his friend Tony Abbott was being sidelined to the point of no return by the now dominant left of the Liberal Party, Andrew reached out for a new way to add pressure to Turnbull and the Labor party in light blue.

This favourable coverage began to change when it became clear that Cory Bernardi was finally going to launch his own vanity project after what seemed an eternity of waiting. Bolt suddenly became critical of many of the deficiencies in One Nation that he was once willing to overlook or excuse. Suddenly it was Cory getting the airtime, Cory getting the praise.

This all despite Bernardis’ utter strategic stupidity in not only waiting until One Nation had reached levels of support not seen for two decades wide across the country before setting up his party, but in setting up yet another right wing minor party in a political marketplace that already contains half a dozen.

Just to make it clear, this is an overall trend from most Australian right leaning journalists and is not particular to Bolt. Andrew is just so head and shoulders above the rest in credibility, audience and influence that his tongue bathing of Bernardi [a man who has broken the hearts of many of the populist right with his selfishness] has an outsized impact. Miranda Devine and Tim Blair have also managed a sharp about turn, and the reasoning is clear.

Hanson is a populist; she attracts the downtrodden and forgotten as well as the weird and wonderful and spends most of her time talking to people in the street when not conversing with them online. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a politician with the common touch that she has, a Senator who actually listens to what her voters think and then brings those topics to public attention [even when sometimes she shouldn’t, as with Vaccination].

Cory Bernardi may not be a blue blood patrician but by comparison to Hanson he fits the bill. While Pauline takes pains to appear to care, Cory wants to cut. While Cory talks to Gina Rinehart and finds nothing wrong with fracking, Hanson talks to farmers and finds they disagree. Gina may be right and the farmers may be wrong, but I know who has more votes.

Cory speaks the language of Classical Liberalism and Libertarianism, two ideologies that garner great admiration among conservative journalists like Andrew Bolt but have continually failed to make headway amongst the greater Australian public.

One Nation is taking voters from both Labor and Liberal, Cory is highly unlikely to do the same.

Conservative journalists generally in Australia have mostly fallen out of love with Pauline. She speaks too rough and simply isn’t polished enough. It seems she was just a rebound fling from Tony Abbott until the real prize came along. Bernardi, a man who knows how to lose politely in the same old way conservatives in this country have always done, is much more to their taste.

Andrew Bolt and all the others now singing hosannas will cheer Cory over a cliff, help split the patriotic vote and perhaps even hamstring the birth of a right wing version of the Greens, simply because Hanson is not the sort of person they would feel comfortable inviting to a dinner party.

It’s a shame, but it speaks to their intelligence.

It must take truly brilliant people to be this short sighted.Photo by variationblogr

  • Warty2

    I agree with all you have said regarding Andrew Bolt’s disdain for an allegedly oafish Trump and a similar disdain for an apparently ill-educated Pauline, reflected too in the articles of a Paul Kelly or a Greg Sheridan. She is all that you say: courageous, resilient, responsive and one of the masses, something a Donald can’t even boast of.
    Yet your hit on Cory leaves me almost speechless, particularly seeing he has taken up so many of the causes even Tony abandoned. His party may present competition in an increasingly crowded market, but remember, your Pauline has immense respect for him, to the point that I believe she sees him as a comrade in arms in a Senate devoid of friends.
    I think he deserves further explanation from you as to why his is a ‘vanity project’ rather than a carefully planned response to a desperate need.
    Warty.

    • Al L

      His is a “vanity project” as he will not get elected in his own right and therefore risks splitting the right wing vote. He should have either stayed in the LNP, where he would have had influence as “being on the inside, pissing out”, or he should have joined One Nation or Australian Liberty Alliance.

    • Tracy Paul

      I think if Pauline and Cory could join forces you would have a balanced mix, realism and professionalism. ALA had something to offer although perhaps inexperienced. The key to getting any real change is “united we stand divided we fall”. They need to find enough common ground in saving Australia and lay differences aside for another day.

  • Ray Johnston

    There really is much to criticise about Bernardi and so you should. I remember watching his first news conference outside the day he announced his departure from Libs ( but keeping his 6yr seat and denied he’d thought of leaving well in advance). But rather what struck me was his passivity and caring for his image as a ‘nice’ person. Oh please don’t call me far-right wing, oh please don’t think me racist, oh please why can’t we just talk and be respectful and friendly to everybody. Just like the LibDemocrats, his party will be doomed to 1-3% vote and he’ll retire on his Super in 6yrs time after failing to win a SA senate spot.

  • I used to like Bolt: it was his tip that directed me here to XYZ.
    But I have drifted away from him, as his narrative keeps changing, usually he takes the conveniently easy path.

    He hedges his bets and wont commit. He pretends to be a firebrand, but clearly is not.
    Bernardi is a milksop:enough said.
    Hanson sticks to her guns and PC be damned. Kudos to her for speaking what Australians really think.

    When Götterdämmerung is imminent, Bernardi and Bolt would be standing haughtily on the Mount, holding their favourite tome and spouting some nonsense rhetoric, whilst the World beneath them went up in flames as the pillaging, raping barbarians arrived.
    Neither are rousing men of action,unfortunately, though they are at least trying to lead the charge.

    • Addelad

      Bernardi is a true conservative with traditional Christian values. He would have been “salt of the earth” 3 and more generations ago. That he can be described as a “milksop” says more about today’s warped values than it does about Cory, in my not-so humble opinion.

      • Al L

        his overt “religousity” puts me off a bit…Conservatism should not be restricted to blue bloods of the religiously pious, it should include the blue collar conservatives, who have jumped from Howard to Pauline.

        • Addelad

          Yep – ditto my response to DB above – the pious annoy me also, but I respect them if they are fair dinkum about stuff. I think CB is.

        • Karen Dwyer

          Interesting that you don’t think that blue collar workers can be pious. Or are you using the term as a pejorative?

      • Bernardi needs to be a politician to suit the times.
        I really don’t believe he has the grit, or if he has, it is not clearly evident.
        Look at the mess that is Australia: we have arrived at this sorry point, carried here by a self serving, motley procession of “true conservatives with Christian values”.

        They all profess to be family oriented,blah,blah,protect borders,blah,jobs n growth,blah blah, innovation…..blah.
        They are simply not up to the present task.
        Nothing of note ever gets done. No major decisions on our Nation’s future. No turning points.
        Zero real leadership,whichever Party is in power.

        Bernardi, deserving though he may be, will not get swept into power and be residing at The Lodge anytime soon. Sorry. Blind Freddy can see that.

        Currently, we are about to have yet another PM installed via internecine backstabbing. Unbelievable.
        One step forward, three steps back. Rinse and repeat.

        We need a decisive, charismatic Trump style leader, but all I hear are the crickets…

        • Addelad

          NO argument – I was merely saying that he is a genuine person – not the answer to all our prayers, if you’ll pardon the expression.

        • Karen Dwyer

          Perhaps one of the large, unspoken problems is that talking about “Christian values” is not actually the same thing as having a relationship with Christ.

          Thus the Liberal party members who talk the talk but have no substance or backbone. Values when they are convenient will be referred to, but there is no staying power and they are quickly dropped if the polls or MSM indicate unpopularity.

          I think Mr Bernardi has both. Why would he make an alliance with Mrs Hanson?

  • Salome

    Bolt gave minimal time to the ALA, which would have been a much more reasonable voice for the good things PHON stands for, with more sensible policies generally. Bolt gave time to Cory, but not so much now. Bolt is Liberal Party to his bootstraps, and is more concerned with reviving the coalition than with finding a party that actually stands for what he stands for. At bottom, he’s tribal.

  • Tom

    Please remember that Andrew is not his own man, bought and paid for by Rupert Murdoch / Sky News. Yes, he could have been more adamant that Pauline did not criticize vaccinations, which have bad re-actions (Google vaccination reactions -some 22 noted by NPS.org.au) , but she suggested that people should test for them first, as a precaution.
    Yes, she should have been more educated, that the pharma companies do not provide any tests, and why should they? Contrary to Google, pharma’s say these vaccines are perfectly safe, therefore mandatory! Felt sorry for Pauline when the whole weight of all the establishment came crushing down on her. Even Andrew had a go at her! It says much for her character that she had the heart and guts to apologize.
    I support both Pauline and Cory, and am a member of both parties. Yet Cory is the only one going quietly about building a solid foundation for a sustainable Political Party into the Future. Have not heard a wink from Pauline.

  • Tom

    I have only just come across this blog, and pleased to note that it is not controlled by mediators like Andrew’s blog. His boss, Rupert Murdoch, controls much of Australia’s media, and has a special interest in Australian politics – likes to be the puppet master. So, you cannot say anything against Rupert or his cronies – it just gets deleted by the mediators.