What is new about politicians calling their opponents liars?
From Glasgow to Ultimo there is a most convenient confluence of resentment, even hatred. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is feeling the heat at home and abroad.
Humans love to be loved. In politics, this is particularly useful during an election period. Being hated makes the work day harder and is known to disrupt normal sleep patterns.
In the heart of the parliamentary debate, MPs have accused each other for centuries of telling each other stories. This is nothing new. Shaping this or that statement according to the circumstances is a process well known to those in public office and often to those outside it.
We all extract unwanted information from the edifice of knowledge that we want others to know. Beautification is also a handy tool for making something look better (or worse) than it actually is. These tactics can be adopted when distraction is needed.
What is special, however, is when a European president has the impertinence to call the prime minister of another country a liar. The use of the term suggests that all is not well in the relationship.
French President Emanuel Macron, when asked if he thought Scott Morrison lied to him about the scuttled submarine deal, replied “I don’t think so, I know”.
In diplomatic terms, this is equivalent to being caught defecating in the street. The animosity between Macron and Morrison undoubtedly plays well with French voters – Macron, as well as Morrison, will face the electorate next year – and may well be a diversion from other nasty domestic political intrigues.
Now that weeks after the revelation that Australia wants to “go nuclear” with its submarines, abandoning the French contract, Morrison is still pushing back unwanted attention from familiar and unknown sources.
Macron’s envoy to Canberra, Jean-Pierre Thébault, took advantage of a timely appearance at the National Press Club on Wednesday to declare that France had been “deceived”, that the deception was “intentional” and that it all amounted to being “Stabbed in the back”, by the Australians. Not a happy camper, it seems.
The dangerous and unpredictable business of stabbing can be a two-way street – so let’s look at who is wielding knives in Morrison’s direction.
You guessed it. It is the now unmistakable coalition of Leigh Sales, Laura Tingle and Malcolm Turnbull working as a determined team.
As it turns out, these people are great enemies too – at least on a scale comparable to Emanuel, Jean-Pierre and the submarine builders in France.
We’ve come to expect ‘Leigh’s joy’ when the government, especially the Prime Minister, comes under pressure – but on Wednesday night she couldn’t take the smirk from her face when she chatted imbroglio with his sidekick Laura. Like two school children, Leigh and Laura discussed the issue with Leigh, saying at one point “Why didn’t the French Ambassador say what he really meant?” She’s hilarious, isn’t she.
Those who can still digest the foolish ABC news television trash have come to expect this anti-Australian, anti-democratic trash from the front lines. But aided, as they are, by dear Malcolm, additional power has been added to their quest to secure the demise of the Coalition.
As unprofessional as the well-paid help of the CBA may be, nothing comes close to Turnbull’s shameful, ruthless and relentless animosity and hatred towards the man who replaced him as Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.
The malice, the nastiness, the malignancy of Turnbull’s venom is something to see. This man’s hostility towards Morrison turns into a hatred of Australia. Don’t make mistakes. Turnbull has no qualms about trashing the Australia brand in an effort to downplay and trash its successor in The Lodge.
Who inside and outside of politics in this country – or anywhere else for that matter – honestly believes Turnbull is as pure as rolled snow. He is not and those who know him will confirm it.
Turnbull is the master of seeking to improve his own reputation while simultaneously destroying someone else’s.
It’s not Australian and is seen by everyone for what it is. Shameful.