Burning down the house
When the famous “gay smear” dossier appeared, the first question that sprang to mind was, “Is that all there is?”
“Could worms sink much lower?” was the second.
It’s not just that the material is flimsy, but the allegations beggar belief if they are supposed to describe the actions of a closeted gay man.
In recent years a number of US conservatives have suffered high-profile outings, but their stories fitted within the acceptable script of what’s believable in such cases – beat use, clandestine affairs, or the use of prostitutes. But to ask us to believe that a closeted high-ranking Liberal would kiss another man in front of others at a party function, let alone casually stroll around gay saunas without fear of identification, is too much to ask.
If there is a story here it’s in the manner of the dossier’s appearance, not its contents.
Is it mere coincidence that political blogger Andrew Landeryou received the dossier on the same day that the Liberals were being tarred for a suggestion that Kevin Rudd was unfit for office because of a heart condition? While Landeryou is not currently an ALP member, he is the son of a former Labor MP and his website reflects the views of the party’s anti-Green right. Had he published the dossier right away it would have been a dream come true for conservative columnists looking for an equally reprehensible smear with a Labor link as proof of an Opposition dirt unit.
Landeryou held back from publishing, but when the Telegraph’s Glenn Milne broke the story it was blamed on Labor anyway, despite it being relayed to him through a non-ALP source. Coincidentally this is the same journalist who broke the story that brought John Brogden down. Brogden blamed the Uglies for the leaks – have the Uglies played Milne again?
After taking flak for perceived dirty tricks, did someone in the Liberal right try to kill two birds with one stone by floating something they thought would be blamed on Labor and also damage a factional rival – only to have it backfire?
If this is the work of the Liberals’ hard right faction, they have truly given up on winning elections in preference to winning control of the party. And when the current crop of ministers and MPs retire, they will be all that’s left. The blame can be laid squarely on Howard. He invited these Hansonites and Bible thumpers in when he decided to play wedge politics. He gave them a home in the political mainstream. He created the monster and now it’s burning down his house.