Way back in the mists of time I thought Ben Elton was a total legend. But now I realize he is and always was basically a smug, loudmouth, leftie bore. That was pretty obvious from his appearance on Q and A last night.
Like so many of his ilk, Elton is not interested in the politics of ideas. He's interested in the politics of emotions. So he flicked the switch to saccharine sanctimony right from the get go, employing that hackneyed and emotive tactic of Abbott bashing.
This approach is favoured by right on movers and shakers on that show because it's really easy to do, you don't have to do cite any real facts or evidence, and you're bound to get a lot of support from the PC numpties in the audience (many of whom claimed to be LNP voters so as to help their ABC claim lack of bias, no doubt!).
Check out his opening salvo:
BEN ELTON: And the critical thing to understand is that we have a Prime Minister who stands before the world and says he wants to talk about economic growth but he is not prepared to talk about climate change. The two are not mutually exclusive. This man has children. He knows - he knows about Newton's third law of mechanics. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The combined energy of the sun is locked in a battery in the air. We suck billions of years of energy out in one fell swoop and set fire to it, that is going to have consequences. And in front of the world, our Prime Minister sought over and over again to dodge those issues.
Gawd. What a simplistic analysis.
He was basically saying, "Hell we're destroying the planet with our fuel consumption. There's just no argument about that ... And Abbott is all for this relentless plundering of resources. What a bad, bad man. The fact that he has kids as well makes him even more heartless!"
Sheesh. Like something out of a bloody pantomime ...
Interesting that just as he clumsily tried to demonize the PM he shamelessly sucked up to fellow panellist Malcolm Turnbull. Aware that he's a warmist, he was desperate to curry favour with him:
BEN ELTON: Now, I know you feel very strongly about these issues but you're forced to hide some of that because of the party that you represent.
MALCOLM TURNBULL: I've been very bad at hiding things.
BEN ELTON: I know, and I think you’ve done a good job and I’d wish you’d had a tilt at the leadership. But the fact is, this is a crisis. Tony has children. Why - he’s not stupid.
Everything is tactical with socialists, isn't it? They don't just want to have their say in a free and frank exchange of views. They're forever trying to recruit you into something, or elbow you out of it. And they love that whole stick and carrot approach. So they are at turns amazingly nasty, and very warm and friendly.
But being so caught up with their own emotions they never twig that those whom they recruit eventually start to figure out that all the affection and support they offer is conditional. These one time acolytes start thinking for themselves at last and -- not dependant upon the validation of group membership -- see things rationally at last. That's when they start to grow up. And the leftie flattery doesn't work anymore.
That's how Turnbull reacted to Elton, which clearly stung the comic. Not only did he reject Elton's charm offensive. He called him out on his sliming of Abbott.
MALCOLM TURNBULL: So there is a lot but there is a lot of capital committed. I just want to say this, though, in defence of Tony Abbott, just be careful that you don't make the mistake of creating a caricature and assume - which may amuse you - and assuming that that is the real person.
BEN ELTON: No, not not remotely. It certainly doesn’t amused me Malcolm. He has created his own caricature.
MALCOLM TURNBULL: No, but - no but, Ben, Ben, Ben, the one...
BEN ELTON: I'm trying to understand how a Rhodes Scholar can deny climate science.
MALCOLM TURNBULL: Ben, the one thing - Ben, the one thing you've done tonight is prove that Mark Twain was wrong when he said only fiction has to be credible, because, as a novelist, everything you've said about Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party is a caricature. It is a fantasy and it is incorrect.
BEN ELTON: No, not the the Liberal Party. I like your bit of the Liberal Party.
MALCOLM TURNBULL: Oh, right.
TANYA PLIBERSEK: Tony Abbot..
BEN ELTON: Look, come on, Malcolm. Tony Abbott stands up and says to the world, I want to tell you how tough it was to cut education cuts and get people to pay for their doctor's fees. This in front of the world.
TONY JONES: I’m sorry, I’m going to interrupt you there because, sorry...
MALCOLM TURNBULL: This is just a Tony Abbott sort of hate fest, is it? I mean it’s ridiculous.
BEN ELTON: Yeah.
MALCOLM TURNBULL: Anyway. Well, okay, yeah. Okay. Well, I reckon you - I reckon you, look, he should - you should have your own show on YouTube. You know, get a YouTube channel.
Great smackdown ... Actually it would be great if Elton actually did that and just left the mainstream meeja completely. It would then be obvious how unremarkable he actually is. He'd be there fighting for views with all the other loony leftie doomsayers ranting to camera. He really wouldn't stand out at all.
Turnbull is more of a leftie on some issues than the vast majority of his LNP peers, but he's still conservative enough to see sense and refuse to indulge shameless pinko sanctimony. So that was heartening to see.