Pontifical postscript

Friends have been busily giving the blog further examples of dumb/erroneous statements by conservatives which have been sadly (sorry that’s a joke which doesn’t remotely qualify as irony) exposed as nonsense.

The most frequent example cited was The Australian’s pontifical Paul Kelly who greeted Julia Gillard’s announcement of a Royal Commission into child abuse as “a serial exercise in populist policies and policy ignorance” saying the exercise was also “a moral crusade (aimed at) systematic dismantling of the Catholic Church.” “If only” would cry the victims of 2000 years of persecution and abuse cry from their graves, torture chambers and auto da fes.

The full impact of Kelly’s words, published on November 17 2012, demonstrates the profound disconnect between reality and his position. He wrote: “The dismal, populist and doomed quality of Australian governance has been on display this week with Julia Gillard announcing an in-principle royal commission into child sexual abuse, a panicked Tony Abbott falling into line and an ignorant media offering cheer upon cheer.

“Rarely has an Australian government embarked on such a sensitive and vast project in profound ignorance of what it was doing, with virtually no serious policy and driven entirely by politics.

“This is the way Australia now works. The quest is for popular approval, moral legitimacy and gesture politics.”

Six years later, with apologies from both the PM and the Leader of the Opposition and heart warming applause and cheers for Julia Gillard, perhaps Kelly will issue a mea culpa but then that’s neither News Corp’s style or policy.

At the same time, on the subject of child abuse Kelly’s colleague, Greg Sheridan, pontificated that this was “all an ugly phenomenon of using this tragedy to prosecute an agenda to chase the churches out of the public square.”

Other candidates in this context cited for their immediate support of the Catholic Church in general, and George Pell in particular were unsurprisingly, Andrew Bolt and Gerard Henderson.

And thinking of Bolt the blog also remembered that he gets agitated about an awful lot which allegedly is designed to destroy western civilisation as he knows it. Indeed, while the blog was Melbourne Festival Chair Bolt huffed and puffed in print about the fact that all the Festival Artistic Directors were gay and unrepresentative of society. The blog had no idea whether this was right or not (probably was on reflection) but vaguely remembers asking Bolt whether the fact that all the Festival Chairs could have been straight would have made them unrepresentative.

One of the prompts for that Bolt attack was a show, programmed by the great Robyn Archer, called I am Blood (Je Suis Sang) a medieval fairy tale by Troubleyn/Jan Fabre. It had originally been performed in the Papal Palace’s Court of Honour during the Avignon Festival. The other prompt was the then Victorian Liberal Party Shadow Arts Minister who claimed to Bolt that the show was obscene and anti-religious. This outrage was in between said Shadow Minister hitting on one of the Festival’s senior staff and later getting drunk and smashing his car up.

The blog was not surprised by the Bolt and talk show reactions to the play although it did comment to the Festival Board at the time that the play did make medieval life look rather better than it was – just as William Golding’s Lord of the Flies made young boys look better than they are.