Flat White

KBO, ScoMo. KBO

13 June 2019

5:00 AM

13 June 2019

5:00 AM

“He’s his own man now, not beholden to anyone or any faction.”

The words, spoken mournfully, came from a rusted-on Canberra Labor man, still dazed by the ‘unlosable’ election.

And it’s true. The Prime Minister Scott Morrison took on the combined forces of a well-resourced and funded Labor team (when Bill Shorten spoke of ‘financial behemoths’ he should have also included the CFMEU and Get UP) in what seemed like an impossible task.

Perhaps it was the ‘quiet Australians’ or the ‘religious minorities’ or the media that was so clearly, unashamedly partisan, that helped Scott Morrison win the day. But, and let us never forget this, he put himself out to win over the hard-to-reach, the ordinary Australians who nevertheless could work out that Labor policies would hurt, badly hurt, their lives.

ScoMo had one huge advantage over his opponent. Ordinary Australians distrusted him.

Shorten was, in one spectacularly telling comment, described by a young woman as ‘slimy’. The comment was swiftly deleted from the news report, but enough people had heard it, taken note, and silently agreed when casting their vote.

ScoMo had – hopefully will always have — what used to be described, condescendingly, as the ‘common touch’; hard to describe or pin down, but easy to spot in the men and women whose decisions shape our lives.

There was another parliamentarian whose bulldog spirit ordinary people related too and his wartime acronym, KBO, “keep buggering on” spread to the farthest reaches of embattled Allied countries.

My father, serving at the Trincomalee naval base in then-Ceylon, remembered it as a well-used saying during the bleak years, one that once provoked an argument between my parents with my mother convinced that ‘buggering’ was not a word to be used in front of impressionable children.

During the hard slog of the election campaign, Scott Morrison, too, kept buggering on, in the best Churchillian tradition, dogged, every day by a hostile media corps, plagued by defections of Liberals who should have stayed loyal. It paid off in the end and continues to do so.

So KBO, ScoMO. KBO.

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