FRANCE’S MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ leads something of a double career. A novelist of Prix Goncourt–winning distinction, Houellebecq is also his country’s best-selling author abroad and, on many accounts, currently its best. He is also reliably a prophet of current events: his third novel, Platform, featured an Islamist attack on a Thai sex resort and was published just days before 9/11; a later novel, Submission, which imagined France’s election of a Muslim party president, appeared the day of the Charlie Hebdo attacks and seemed a novelistic auger of the gruesome wave of terrorism that roiled France during the next few years. Whatever, Houellebecq’s 1994 debut novel, turned out to be equally prescient, though it took more than two decades for its prophecies to take shape. A commentary on male sexual frustration, Whatever, as the author of a New York Times essay argued in 2018, is a psychological account of involuntary celibacy and the violence that erotic isolation breeds.
After years of inaccurate and negative treatment of Tony Abbotts political career and image, both by the media and in assorted writings, a positive corrective is long overdue.
Many Australians accept as fact the crude
caricatures and inaccuracies regarding Abbott: that he is a
“wrecker”, a religious fanatic, a bully, anti-women, a far-right
Gerard Wilson’s latest book, Tony Abbott
and the Times of Revolution, will be welcomed by those who, despite all the
media misinformation, continue to admire the former prime minister and parliamentarian
as a thoroughly decent individual as well as a fearless, forthright champion of
mainstream conservative values and the positive role of Western civilisation.
Wilson’s book comprises four sections: Abbotts school years and the 1960s cultural revolution; student radicalism at Sydney University 1973-75, the prelude to Abbott’s arrival on campus; Abbott’s pushback against the far-left monopoly of student politics, 1976-80; and the media and Abbott.
John Henry Weston interviewed Brazilian Bernardo Küster who is a very popular Brazilian Catholic commentator. In the interview, Kuster corrects important (false) claims the Amazon Synod makes about the Amazon indigenous people and clarifies others. More importantly, he delves into the organizations (Church, business and NGOs) behind the scenes who are funding the synod for their own purposes. In the end, Kuster makes the case that the Amazon indigenous people are merely a pretext for higher ideological and mercenary purposes – something I have suspected all along but without firm grounding, until now.
Decades before Tony Abbott, as our 28th prime minister, was challenging the zeitgeist by scrapping the carbon tax, stopping the boats and knighting Prince Philip, he’d been annoying the hell out of the campus left as a student leader, as this fascinating book revels in telling. In Tony Abbott and the Times of Revolution, Gerard Wilson sets out to do three things: to claim Abbott as Australia’s leading “Burkean conservative”; to analyse the university counter-culture that had developed by the mid-1970s; and to show the consistency of Abbott’s thinking over the past forty years.
What shines through in this rather wordy book is Abbott’s determination to make a difference, his political courage, and the constancy of his convictions. As well, there’s the relentlessness of the left’s campaign to get him, even as a campus politician, and the ambivalence towards him of careerists on his own side of the political landscape.
Just a note to say that I am taking steps to upgrade the security of my website. I have already downloaded a program to screen the traffic. There is also updating to be done to the set-up files. Hopefully all security measures will be completed within the week.
Two more essays from Duncan McLaren’s Evelyn Waugh website. The information about Waugh’s and Graham’s relationship I have not read anywhere summarised in this way. As fascinating as ever. What a sad end for Alastair Graham.
Just repeating that I have received a review for TONY ABBOTT AND THE TIMES OF REVOLUTION:
‘IF YOU WONDER how we got to where we are on the shifting sands of political correctness (and who doesn’t) this book is for you. Gerard Charles Wilson, author of Prison Hulk to Redemption (2015) is the kind of biographer who is a more interesting than his hero Tony Abbott (see James Boswell, Laird of Auchinleck and Sam Johnson, Doctor of Bolt Court, off Fleet Street)…
‘Wilson’s work may not necessarily commend itself to left-wing Honi Soitistes, but it should be on the library shelves of all Catholic universities and senior schools for its corrective attitude to the student politics of the last century and this one.’