Features Australia

Three and a half years is a long time in politics

Conservatism is looking pretty good

1 February 2020

9:00 AM

1 February 2020

9:00 AM

Cast your mind back a little fewer than four years ago, say to March or April of 2016. And then consider how conservatism was faring across the main countries of the Anglosphere. It wasn’t particularly good, was it? In the United States President Obama was nearing the end of his two-term, eight-year tenure and most everyone (a few notables excepted) predicted a Hillary Clinton win and another Democrat in the White House for years to come.

In Britain David Cameron had, a few weeks earlier at the end of February, announced the date of an ‘in/out’ Brexit referendum four months hence on the 23rd of June. He’d been dragged kicking and screaming into holding it after putting the pledge in the Tory party’s election manifesto and unexpectedly (for most others and especially for him) winning a majority and then getting nothing at all out of the European Union by way of concessions. But Cameron and his cabinet had no doubts that the Remain side would win.

Meanwhile up in the Great White North of Canada, the über-photogenic ex-ski instructor and trust-fund son of a former left-wing Canadian prime minister had won a big majority government only half a year earlier against the long-standing conservative PM Stephen Harper. This was the left-wing darling Justin Trudeau, pre-blackface revelations, and he was then at the height of his worldwide celebrity. Sure, he was just as vacuous then as now, but his good looks, massive government spending, endless virtue-signalling and love of Bollywood dancing had yet to catch up with him. He was adored and the prospects of the Canadian Conservatives any time soon making any inroads into his solid majority government hovered between slim and vanishing.

And what of Australia? Well, here in Oz we had a ‘conservative in name only’ Prime Minister, one Malcolm Turnbull, fresh off his ABC-aided defenestration of Tony Abbott the year before and still a few months away from his powerful humbling in the July 2016 election. More than a few commentators, all the usual suspects in fact, were predicting Turnbull could go on to be one of Australia’s greatest prime ministers. And all of these progressive lefties, so including half of the Liberal partyroom, were in love with the fact that the supposedly conservative-leaning Liberal party was now led by its most left-leaning leader ever.

In sum, then, things were less than rosy across the Anglosphere for conservatives. Things were really bad in the US and Canada, and despite nominally conservative governments in Britain and Australia things were pretty bad there too, though worse in Australia than the UK.

Now fast forward nearly four years to today. Wow, what a difference! The Left is in retreat everywhere, even within conservative political parties. Now this is least true of my native Canada.

Late last year, Justin Trudeau and his left-wing Canadian Liberal party managed to squeeze out a minority government in the general election. But his party did not win a single seat in two of Canada’s ten provinces and only a bare handful in two others. His power base was collapsed to French-speaking Quebec and the huge population centre of Toronto, by far Canada’s largest city and these days its most left-leaning jurisdiction. Still, this was a bad result for Boy Trudeau and he knew it. His air of being the progressivists’ poster boy has completely disappeared.

If Canada counts as a moral victory for us conservatives, it has been an out-and-out undiluted triumph for us in Britain and the US.

In the former, the past three and a half years have seen a stunning Brexit referendum win, the resignation of Prime Minister Cameron, the accidental prime ministership of the incompetent and pusillanimous Theresa May, the holding hostage of the people by elected parliamentarians who ran on a set of promises they ditched thinking they knew better, the use of open lawfare and the top judges to stymie Brexit and the democratic will, and then – seemingly almost by fluke – the stupidity of the Lib Dems in giving Boris his election late last year with his crushing and massive win when it happened. If, like me, you are a committed Brexiteer and proponent of the nation state over the anti-democratic mandating of supranational bodies like the European Union, often making use of the even more anti-democratic so-called ‘international law’, then this was a great result for you. Enjoy a big few drinks at the end of this month when, in name so far not yet in substance, the Brits leave the EU.

And what of the world’s biggest superpower? Who can forget Donald Trump’s magnificent election win in November of 2016? Or the faces of virtually every supposedly neutral mainstream media commentator? And what has he done since then? He’s cut taxes. He’s massively deregulated the energy sector and other sectors, as in eight to 15 regs repealed for every new one added – take that ScoMo! He’s appointed scores and scores of judges who aren’t activists, who adopt plausible approaches to interpreting the law that do not make them, in fact, de facto legislators. He stands by nominees in the face of egregiously co-ordinated hit jobs on them (think Justice Kavanaugh.) His foreign policy is miles better than Obama’s. He full on fights the culture wars.

Yes, of course he has downsides. He’s vulgar. He’s crass. He’s not overly articulate in the way university lecturers are. For me, who cares? The ledger is clear. He’s delivering the most conservative agenda of any president since Reagan, in fact he’s surpassing Reagan. And as I predicted above, not least because the Democrats have shown themselves to be the worst losers ever, he’ll win again in 2020.

As for Australia, things are okay for conservatives here, but only okay. Thus far, Prime Minister Morrison really hasn’t done anything much to get a conservative’s pulse racing. He looks like an amalgam that has too much Turnbull in it. His best accomplishment thus far is keeping Shorten out. But that’s about it. Look at Boris (who is taking on the BBC) or Trump (who is fighting on twenty fronts at once) and Morrison looks rather insipid. There’s time, ScoMo. There’s time. But not indefinite amounts of it. Get cracking.

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