Great Men Gonna Grate

LOVED or hated, nobody has ever doubted Paul Keating could take care of himself in any political brawl. That’s why even for a longstanding critic of his excesses – of language, historical claims and self-estimation – it’s surprising to feel a little sorry for him. Like his attack on the AUKUS deal, his meltdown about British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s linkage of possible Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific to a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine was not entirely wrong. I’m not squeamish about beating up China – even gratuitously – but exploiting headlines to warn of World War III at the Lowy Institute is extravagant, if not quite “demented.” If it isn’t verifiably true, it shouldn’t be said. If it is, there isn’t much that t-shirt-banning Australia can do about it.

At the heart of the Keating decline is spite and pride. Any wisdom he has to offer is indecipherable beneath layers of brutality – of the kind the press indulged for 40 years. Sycophancy has been very bad for him. This doesn’t mean the former Prime Minister is losing touch with reality in the sense that his contemporary Joe Biden is. His delusions are not of a clinical but of a moral variety. Like a Bankstown pensioner in the 1970s who discovered the dim sim, he has a patronising old Laborite’s view of Asians pursuant to which ‘engagement’ with them is the epitome of magnanimity. But most Australians under 60 don’t see Asians this way.

Mr Keating famously hates the British, the Liberals (who had to drag ALP neanderthals away their historical loathing of Asians) and anyone who moves the focus of foreign policy away from his own 1980s enthrallment with ‘our region.’ He still thinks proximity is destiny when in fact hemispheric reach has become at least as important as it was in the nineteenth century. The world has changed (again) but Mr Keating won’t change with it. His view of himself as a Great Man of History is more important. It’s a sad but predictable autumn for an ‘icon’ spoiled rotten.

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8 Responses to Great Men Gonna Grate

  1. Shy Ted says:

    Ask anybody with a mortgage or two in the early 90s if he was a great man. Add to that no affinity with his voting base.

  2. Tom says:

    At the heart of the Keating decline is spite and pride.

    Correct, CL.

    Keating’s political assassination of Bob Hawke — the patron who brought Keating political power — had nothing to do with policy. It was simply about the size of Keating’s ego.

    Similarly, Keating’s life after politics has little to do with policy. It is about keeping Keating in a style to which he’s accustomed. If he had to sell out Australia and spend his declining years spruiking for the Chinese Communist Party, then so be it.

    To buy Paul Keating — like those it has bought in official Washington — it was enough for the CCP to keep him in the style to which he is accustomed.

    Like Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull, Keating’s ego can be seen from the moon. Australian politics has produced nothing else for half a century.

  3. a reader says:

    Every time I click away from the home page Windows Defender tries to stop me from viewing the page and I have to “Accept” a risk. I think the website looks fine but you may want to check the back end just in case. Could be of course some feral trying to report you for thought crimes

  4. Chris M says:

    I have to “Accept” a risk.

    It is a high risk site for leftoids and you’ll just have to accept the risk haha.

    Not getting this with my non-approved browser…

  5. C.L. says:

    I wouldn’t really know anything about the back end, Reader.
    There is a security system for the site that comes with the package and it shows no threats.
    Could you clarify what you mean?
    When you click away from this site, you get the warning?
    Or you get the warning coming from some other page to this site?

  6. C.L. says:

    It is about keeping Keating in a style to which he’s accustomed.

    Tom, I would never previously have thought such a thing was possible but now I’m not so sure.

    Amazing, isn’t it, how Western politicians retire into lives of aristocratic luxury these days?

  7. jupes says:

    Could you clarify what you mean?
    When you click away from this site, you get the warning?
    Or you get the warning coming from some other page to this site?

    It happens when the reader is using Microsoft Edge. Your site appears okay, however when you open a page, this page appears:

    This site has been reported as unsafe
    Hosted by
    Microsoft recommends you don’t continue to this site. It has been reported to Microsoft for containing misleading content that could lead you to lose personal info, financial data, and even money.

    Go back
    More information
    Scam sites that contain misleading content will often trick people into trusting them by pretending to be sites from well-known companies. If you visit a scam site and do what it suggests, you might be putting your sensitive information—like passwords, credit card numbers, contact info, or other financial data—at risk. Learn more

    Scam sites often run pop-up loops and play loud audio to convince you that contacting them is a good idea. If you interact with a scammer, whether online or by phone, you run the risk of disclosing sensitive financial data and personal info, which could result in loss of money. Your best option is to close the webpage or hang up the phone. If in doubt, go back.
    Report that this is not a scam site
    Continue to the unsafe site (not recommended)

    Microsoft Defender SmartScreen

    I reported the site safe, but the page still appears. It doesn’t occur on Google Chrome.

  8. JC says:

    It’s incredible how the media class give this guy so much airtime.

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