Monday, September 13, 2021

‘Woke Left is destroying Labor’: Political legend unloads on his own party

An ALP stalwart has sensationally claimed Labor’s Left are obsessed with climate change, identity politics and cancel culture.

It’s a hot and sticky Sunday afternoon in Dimbulah in the early 1950s and a young Keith De Lacy leaves his family’s tobacco field with his father, Ernie, a former cane cutter and the local president of the Communist Party.

Keith had a far-from-privileged upbringing, as the second eldest of four children for Irene and Ernie, who did it tough during the Great Depression but who instil in their children an appreciation of education, a collectivist mindset and appreciation of hard work.

Now 81, Keith De Lacy lives in an apartment overlooking the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. It’s a stone’s throw from state parliament, where he spent his best working years as one of Queensland’s most-respected treasurers during the Goss government, from 1989 to 1996.

His father and those hardworking, solid “red raggers’’ of his childhood are ultimately the reason he joined the Labor Party in 1970.

De Lacy’s faith in Labor was born out of those early days when workers gravitated to the party to protect themselves from opportunistic employers.

But now, he laments, it is a far cry from today’s Labor Party, which he says has lost its moral and ethical compass.

The Labor Party, De Lacy believes, faces an existential crisis that could ultimately lead to its political extinction.

De Lacy has outlined his crisis of faith in the party in a wide-ranging new memoir, A Philosophical Journey, in which he eviscerates the Labor Left’s obsession with climate change, identity politics and cancel culture, and its love affair with the Me Too and Black Lives Matter movements.

He pulls no punches.

He says the Rudd government accelerated the electoral carnage as the Labor Party threw its lot in with the elites, when Labor’s reason for existing over many decades was to fight them.

The so-called progressives, De Lacy says, “have nothing more than a patronising, sneering contempt for working class people and their culture’’.

He accuses the “woke’’ brigade within the Left faction of Labor of alienating average Australians. “Certainly in terms of philosophy, the woke Left of the Labor Party is destroying itself through overreach … simply by overdoing it,’’ De Lacy says.

He writes of a “massive cultural evolution’’ over the past few decades, underscored by a mindset highly critical of the society in which we live, which “sees only the bad and ignores the good’’.

“It is supported by a range of ideological carcinomas, some newly minted, and others given a new lease of life in a grand postmodern reinvention,’’ he says.

“They are killing themselves. Most Australians are not in the front line of politics, yet they have a reasonable and sensible view of the world.

“Yet the Left are telling them that ‘you are a racist’ and your sons and grandsons are sexual monsters.

“They just won’t cop that, and nor should they. My point is that our society is suffering from a disease called ‘overreach’.”

In his book, De Lacy refers to film producer Harvey Weinstein, who was outed as a sexual predator and “millions of women with an agenda jumped on board, and sexual harassment became the cry’’.

“The Me Too movement exploded out of the blocks. But it burst into overreach within the blink of an eye,’’ he writes.

“Many men were tried in the media and the court of public opinion with no presumption of innocence. “Inevitably it became a political tool.’’

De Lacy says the Me Too movement is in danger of losing the support of the mainstream.

“There are many women out there who have sons and husbands and vex how these loved ones are going to negotiate the rocky shoals of the Me Too tsunami, the new rules of engagement,’’ he says. “Men are being turned off, especially the notion that all men are rapists.

“Many male executives are now reluctant to relate one-on-one with females to offer comfort and support, whether working, travelling or mentoring.

“The worst outcome is that it turns it into a woman versus man contest (and) serial predators use it as a cover.’’

De Lacy says the Black Lives Matter movement suffers from the same disease, stoking the fires of racism to overcome racism.

“Hysterical activists are the greatest dead weight an otherwise noble cause can have,’’ he says. De Lacy says protesters turned off Mr and Mrs Average, and the proof was in the 19-year term of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen as premier.

“Sir Joh, a superficially mediocre leader, served more than seven terms, ably assisted by well-meaning opponents who became intoxicated by a cause, to their own detriment,’’ he writes.

“I hate to say it, but the reconciliation overtures of Indigenous Australians are in my view now in danger of being killed by the self-defeating exuberance of the Black Lives Matter protests who unfairly stain the motives of all Australians, to the extent that the potential referendum looks to be a dead duck, killed by friendly fire.

“The Australian philosophy is to live and let live, which can manifest itself as, I have nothing against it, but if you try to shove it down my neck, you can go jump.’’

In his book, De Lacy talks of Karl Marx, the true father of identity politics, who did not believe in individualism, but that people were members of a class.

“The Labor Party was therefore a logical manifestation of group identity, representing the working class,’’ he says.

He says the Labor Party formed to pursue workers’ rights democratically, yet “it seems okay these days for trade unions to break what they term unjust laws, or for groups to ignore democratic verdicts and glue themselves to a public road”.

De Lacy says women enjoy a vital and expanding role within society, however, he says you wouldn’t know this if you listened to so-called progressives and feminists, who promote the identity politics of discrimination.

“We seem more determined than ever to put people into identity prisons based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class,’’ he says.

“People in identity grouping become prisoners, sentenced to a life of grievance, blame shifting, non-performance, unhappiness, emotional anger and even hatred.

“Once you can absolve yourself of personal responsibility, once it is always someone else’s fault, or the fault of history, there is a loss of agency – no way out. There is only misery.’’

De Lacy talks of the term “white privilege” or as some refer to it as “stale, pale and male’’.

“This constant refrain of ‘white male privilege’ can be a bit tiresome, especially the obligatory guilt associated with it.

“Many of the people who I see occupying the higher stations in life these days come from working class backgrounds.

“Most people who get to the top do it through hard work and application.

“And attitude. Not because of intrinsic privilege. Most people (not all) who end up on Struggle Street do so because of their own personal shortcomings, not because privileged oppressors got in the way.’’

De Lacy points to Chelsea Clinton, who landed a job at NBC as a special correspondent paying $900,000 a year, while her mother, Hillary, flies around America condemning white privilege.

“There is a crisis of values out there,’’ he says.

“We are paying the price, as are many vulnerable women and children.

“Boy-girl relationships are destined for a major rewrite going into the future.’’


Regions To Bear Brunt Of Feel-Good Emissions Target

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that Australia would “not achieve net zero [emissions] in the cafes, dinner parties and wine bars of our inner cities”,

Rather, “it will be won in places like the Pilbara, the Hunter, Gladstone, Portland, Whyalla, Bell Bay, the Riverina. In the factories of our regional towns and outer suburbs,” Morrison said at the Business Council of Australia event.

But for the people who live and work in these regions, a net zero target is far from a “win”.

A net zero emissions target is a policy designed by inner-city elites, and it only serves their narrow interests.

These elites insist that Australia needs to drastically reduce its carbon emissions, even though we only account for about 1.1 per cent of global emissions. To put that in perspective, every 16 days China emits the same amount of carbon emissions that Australia does in an entire year.

“Reducing Australia’s emissions to zero will have no discernible impact on global emissions. But it certainly makes the inner-city elites feel like they’re being responsible global citizens.”

For Australians in the outer suburbs and regions however, the cost couldn’t be greater.

Research by the Institute of Public Affairs published earlier this year estimated that a net zero emissions target would place up to 653,000 jobs at risk. And, no surprises, these at-risk jobs are overwhelmingly concentrated in regional areas. Some regional electorates could see as many as one in four jobs placed at direct risk, and this doesn’t account for the flow-on effects of mass job destruction.

The experience of the loss of Australia’s car manufacturing industry demonstrates the point. A survey by the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union found that two years after Holden’s Elizabeth plant closed 24 per cent of laid-off workers remained unemployed, and two-thirds of those who found a job were in part-time, casual, or contract employment. Only 5 per cent of the workers had a new job that had the same or better working conditions.

We know from the experience to date that Australia has reduced its emissions at a great cost to those living in the regions. As National members of parliament Barnaby Joyce and Matt Canavan wrote in a newspaper article in February, “the emissions from people living in cities have gone up during the past 30 years, but their moral guilt has been eased by sending the bill to the bush”.

The mechanism for this was a clause in the Kyoto agreement that allowed Australia to claim a carbon credit if we cleared less land each year than the 688,000ha cleared in 1990. As Joyce and Canavan explained, this “led to state governments imposing ever tightening restrictions on land clearing.

Now Australia clears just 50,000ha of land a year. This is not enough to keep our farming land at a constant amount, let alone develop new areas. In fact, if we had not stripped the right from farmers to develop their own land, Australia’s emissions would have gone up, not down, in the past 30 years.”

The adoption of a net zero emissions target would do exactly the same thing: allow inner-city types to feel good about their so-called “action on climate change”, which does not extend beyond putting Australians living in the regions out of work.

When those working in relatively higher-emitting industries raise concerns about their job security, they are told that the new wave of “green jobs” will ensure that they can continue to work and provide for their family. But these promises ring hollow. IPA research has identified that for each renewable activity job created since 2010, five manufacturing jobs have been destroyed.

The NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap details how the Berejiklian government plans to force expensive and unreliable renewable energy onto households and businesses.

Under the roadmap, the government will establish five renewable energy zones over the next decade and “support an expected 6300 construction jobs and 2800 ongoing jobs mostly in regional NSW”.

In other words, the NSW government’s plan admits that only 900 jobs would be created each year, with the vast majority of these being temporary.

Where the 107,000 people employed in agriculture and mining across the state are supposed to work if their jobs are destroyed as a result of the emissions reduction effort is not made clear.

Perhaps that’s because to the inner-city elites, some jobs are more important than others.


Welcome to the two Australias

Joe Hildebrand

For the first time in more than a century the federation is crumbling. We are no longer a single country but once more a rabble of bitter and bickering states. We are back in the days of fighting over the correct width of railway tracks.

This sounds both outrageous and absurd — and it is. The problem is that it is also quite literally the state of the nation right now.

We have a situation in which the two geographically largest states, Queensland and WA, are openly rejecting the plan for national unity to which they themselves committed just weeks ago. Half of mainland Australia has effectively declared it no longer wants to be part of a single nation.

And now our foundational and most populous state of NSW has declared that it will open up its borders to the rest of the world while the hermit states declare they will not even open theirs to the rest of the country.

In short, we have a scenario in which foreign citizens will be able to fly from Singapore to Sydney but Australian citizens won’t be able to drive from Ballina to Brisbane.

Not since the Berlin airlift, in which international planes flew into the free west of the city while domestic trains were blockaded by the communist east, has there been such an utterly idiotic state of affairs.

Why? Because we are two Australias. Hell, maybe more.

We initially managed to stop the spread of Covid-19 through geographical good fortune. We were an island nation that shut its borders, something we have become adept at.

But soon after we became a loose coalition of states and territories that shut down both their own borders and themselves and did whatever else seemed politically expedient to their leaders.

For the more remote sparsely populated states this was arguably a reasonable option but for Australia’s only two truly international metropolises the story was catastrophically different.

Melbourne tried to eliminate the virus and failed. Again and again and again and again and again and again.

Indeed, such was the diehard devotion of the lockdown brigade that one self-proclaimed health expert declared to me — without any apparent trace of irony — that the only reason Lockdown 6 didn’t work was because Lockdown 5 wasn’t long and hard enough.

It is hard to follow such logic without inducing a migraine, suffice to say that apparently the only reason Covid is with us at all is because not enough people have been bricked up in their basement walls.

To his credit, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews this week conceded that his short and sharp/hard and fast lockdown strategy had no chance of constraining the Delta variant. Hard and fast it may have been but short and sharp it certainly was not.

This fact was of course already well known in NSW, where even our once-unbeatable contact tracing system was beaten by the Delta variant, and in New Zealand, which pursued an even harder and faster lockdown strategy than Victoria and was still overrun.

But unfortunately Andrews’ army of online apparatchiks didn’t seem to get the memo. Instead they started attacking Victorians themselves for not being obedient enough.

One particularly notorious account which purports to be close to the Andrews government even made this extraordinary statement on Twitter: “The underpinning theme in Victoria is noncompliance. People working against us by not following the rules, or promoting noncompliance. I called these people traitors and I have absolutely no regrets.”

This is the sort of line Joe Stalin himself might have sketched on the back of a beer coaster. Another commenter called the same people “sickening wretches”.

The problem is that if you look at the areas where the virus is spreading most widely and where the noncompliance is occurring these people are overwhelmingly in struggling communities, migrant communities, lower socio-economic communities and — needless to say — Labor electorates.

If you ever needed any more proof that the new puritanical left actively hates poor people you need look no further than that tweet.

Once more these hard-line fanatics are creating two Australias: The pure and the impure, the clean and unclean. It is verging on the language of genocide.

Compare this to the approach of NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns, whose response to the same type of communities in south west and western Sydney was to ensure all local Labor MPs were reaching out to their constituents and ensure they were getting vaccinated.

Meanwhile, when it comes to breaking the rules at a macro level that’s apparently no problem.

Queensland and WA are now openly rejecting the very rules that they themselves agreed to, holding millions of lives and livelihoods to ransom while conducting completely unfounded scare campaigns about the impact of Covid-19 on children.

Once more the extremism and violence of the language is both shameful and chilling. And these are supposed to be the touchy-feely tolerant ones.

So welcome to the two Australias – one hard-line and humourless, the other happy and human. I know which one I’d rather be living in.


Don’t despair of the COVID obsessives, they are an antidote to apathy

Unlike accused criminals, hospital patients get to remain anonymous when they do something so dumb it lands them in trouble. Mercifully, there was no name or sex attached to the COVID-positive “Patient X” admitted to Westmead Hospital after overdosing on the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin.

Westmead toxicologist Associate Professor Naren Gunja concluded, “Thankfully they didn’t develop severe toxicity [from ivermectin], but it didn’t help their COVID either.” The “treatment” brought to mind another cure for parasites: the proverbial man who successfully eliminated his bed bugs by burning down his house.

But we can reconstruct Patient X’s logic. Ivermectin is a drug promoted by medical experts from Donald Trump to Craig Kelly MP, who claim it has anti-COVID-19 properties. Normally, it is used to fight worms, lice and rosacea. It’s quite possible that it was Kelly’s leadership that persuaded Patient X to give it a whirl. I received a text from Kelly last week, being one of the lucky thousands of Australians whose phone number was hoovered up by his supposedly random distribution system. Thanks for the spam, Mr Kelly. I don’t have rosacea (not now), worms (not since I was a teenager), and nits (ditto, when I had hair) – but if I get COVID-19, I’ll keep your musings in mind.

The thing about Patient X overdosing was this: in the remote possibility that ivermectin might work against COVID-19, you have to overdose on it to give it a chance. According to a 2020 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, ivermectin can only act against a virus (in vitro) at eight times the approved dose. The US State of Mississippi has reported that 70 per cent of calls to its poisons centre came from people who bought ivermectin at livestock supply centres. Fourteen other studies involving more than 1600 patients, in a review cited by the Australian Department of Health, have yet to produce evidence of ivermectin’s anti-COVID properties. Maybe the subjects just didn’t take enough to bring on the vomiting and diarrhoea and, as with certain hallucinogenic fungi, it’s only after the puking finishes that things start happening.

But what would doctors know? We live amid the ultra-democratisation of knowledge, when Dr Google has hijacked our brains and made everyone a freaking expert.

The taps are fully open on instant expertise. Medical know-how is infectious in the community. There’s a public health expert who’s been chalking footpaths near my house saying things like “COVID 97 per cent survival” and “suicide rate up 53 per cent”. Out on my allotted exercise time, not even the birdsong can keep up with the overheard snippets of expertise: authoritative declarations about vaccination percentages and infection numbers, ICU admissions, post-lockdown jobs data and Delta mortality rates. Some families are so surfeited with their own expertise that they have banned COVID-related conversation after 6pm. You just need a break from all that knowledge.

Podcaster and comedian Joe Rogan tests positive for COVID-19
In these highly strung, data-obsessed days, few can resist the power of a scientific-sounding number. Who is not fixated on that double-dose rate hitting 70 per cent, the daily infection rate announcement to which we tune in every morning, the cultish allure of hard stats? These kinds of numbers used to be divided into two categories: lies and damned lies. The Soviets raised a love of numbers to a fetish: statistics on manufacturing production were one side of the coin on which the dark side was measured by quotas sent to the gulag. Even in benign places like Australia in the 1980s, few can forget Paul Keating’s lustful gurglings of “a beautiful set of numbers” as he sought to educate the public on macroeconomics. Sufficiently educated, the public then hit him over the head with a number of its own, a 17 per cent interest rate. Today, citizens cite data as a cushion against anxiety.

It’s easy to deride the epidemic of self-made expertise. But, as I drink from my half-full glass of home remedies, I like to think that what we are living with is a lot better than the alternative: a population which is indifferent, incurious, uninterested, asleep. I grew up in such a population. The so-called Generation X, raised in an atmosphere of post-Vietnam cynicism, pummelled by unemployment and rolling recessions, tended not to look to politics and public policy for solutions.

Amid this general withdrawal, politics became a magnet for the mediocre. And now we reap the harvest of our apathy: the flower of Generation X in Canberra, the major political parties led by a charlatan and an incompetent. If you are Generation X or thereabouts, you must be embarrassed what your long-ago apathy has coughed up.

By contrast, the cohort growing up now are being forced to make decisions about their world. If today’s crisis is breeding tomorrow’s leaders, then the sheer quantity of argument around COVID-19 can only motivate future action. People tuning in to their state premier’s 10am or 11am briefing is a fundamental change of habit, an increase in community engagement and, let’s hope, a kind of rehearsal for the bigger challenges that await, challenges in which the scientific overlaps with the moral.

Whether it’s through instant Wiki-expertise or a more substantial inquiry, COVID has prompted Australians to engage with public policy in a way few have lived long enough to have experienced. They are engaged with the search for political solutions to this crisis as they have never been engaged before. The attention on our health systems, the curiosity about the interlocking mechanisms between jurisdictions (whoever thought federalism would be the galvanising passion of our time?), and the sheer volume of argument is not only unprecedented but, viewed through my half-full glass, reason for optimism.

Ivermectin, COVID-19, and making sense of scientific evidence
Even the pandemic of Google-brain gives cause for hope. I’m encouraged by people chalking the pavements and protesting against police heavy-handedness even if I suspect they are less than fully hinged. The lingering threat to democracy, beyond this pandemic, isn’t people who want to convince you of their nonsense. It’s people who don’t care, people who submit passively, people who don’t ask questions. We shouldn’t worry as much about those spreading misinformation as those who accept it unthinkingly.

This crisis has stirred up enough argumentative energy to light up the globe. A return to apathy will return it to darkness. The only number that is really dangerous to our future is zero: a public with zero interest, zero thinking, zero to say.

And thanks for the medical advice, Mr Kelly. I’ll grab some ivermectin when my sister-in-law’s horse gets worms.





Paul said...

The biggest problem with Ivermectin is not the drug itself, but in the handling of it by people with no guidance or understanding. There is an Australian tendency too to think that if a 1:10 mixture supposedly works, then how much better must it be neat. You're not a wuss are you?

We often gave it to the aboriginals with intractable scabies. Correctly dosed, I never saw any adverse effects, and they were the shittiest, most unhealthy Abos of all. The Indians dropped out of the headlines once they returned to using Ivermectin as a COVID management tool, same with the Indonesians, and now the Japanese Medical organisations are starting to recommend it in Japan, which is pretty first-world. The Sydney outbreak actually offered a golden opportunity to trial it and put the argument to rest properly. That they didn't while purporting to be in despair leaves me very sceptical of the motivations of many of our betters. They had a lot of people with early, barely symptomatic disease, which is the perfect time to start it. We are at the early stages of vaccine failure, as was predicted two years ago, well really 20 years ago when a SARS vaccine never came out of that outbreak despite much research. As the "breakthrough" cases rise the risk/benefit ratio slides, and these vaccines have a statistically significant side-effect profile so the benefit they give has to be very good to justify their use.

Paul said...

I'm am not by any means anti-vax in principle, but these ones more than any other in the past have issues attached to them that no-one seems to want to acknowledge. Maybe its a faith issue, but the greatest philosophical risk I see here is that the rollout of these vaccines after a testing period shorter than a normal pregnancy suggests that economics and politics is the priority over health. They are be definition untested if the effect on human fertility has not been assessed completely prior to release.