Macklin / The ‘mugs’ prove the pundits terribly wrong

“The fact that Clinton was a woman didn’t matter… The glass ceiling is no more. And if you doubt it, cast an eye to Germany and the UK,” writes Seven Days columnist ROBERT MACKLIN

trump-liberty-dpi-1OKAY, the pundits and columnists (me included) got that US election very wrong indeed. Only a bunch of mugs, we thought, would vote for a racist, misogynist narcissist to become president of America.

Robert Macklin

Robert Macklin.

So, publicly we wrote him off. But in the back of our brains there remained a frisson of doubt – if he was so totally unelectable, how come Hillary was only leading by five or six points in the polls? What was going on in Middle America that we weren’t hearing about in the “New York Times” and our other favourite reads?

Well, now we know. They believed their government was broken and President Hillary Clinton, the ultimate insider, would just be more of the same. The fact that she was a woman didn’t matter one jot or tittle. Truth is, the glass ceiling is no more. And if you doubt it, cast an eye to Germany and the UK.

HERE at home, our pollies were reassuring. In a 15-minute phone call, PM Malcolm Turnbull bonded with Donald. “He’s a deal maker,” he said “and he will, I have no doubt, view the world in a very practical and pragmatic way”. So, relax everyone, we’ll get through this one together.

Even Paul Keating was upbeat. At last, Australia could develop an independent foreign policy, he said. In fact, Paul told Leigh Sales on the ABC’s “7.30”, he’d heard Trump say he wanted “to get along with China”. Really? We missed that one.

MEANTIME, our own big news was buried beneath the landslide. The same-sex marriage plebiscite was booted into touch and apparently no one much cared.

Then the government introduced its draconian Bill to prevent boat people from ever setting foot in Australia, even as tourists 20 years later. Turnbull and his Immigration Minister Peter Dutton sought to wedge Labor on it. But they were too clever by half. You see, they’d done a deal with Obama’s America (and others) to take the refugees from Nauru and Manus, but they didn’t want to announce that without the legislation lest it be used by people smugglers to market their trade. But instead of taking the Opposition into their confidence, they preferred to play childish political games. Sad really.

GRATIFIED to see Dreamworld did the right thing and announced the demolition of the ride that killed four people, three of whom were farewelled in Canberra last week. It wasn’t just the decent thing to do, it was also good business… not that we’ll be visiting anytime soon; much cheaper (and healthier) thrills available elsewhere – whale watching while walking our coastal beaches, for example.
AUSTRALIA must fight back in the second Test at Bellerive to keep the series alive. But how many viewers will survive the latest Channel Nine commentators? New boys Michael Clarke and Kevin Pietersen are a disaster. Clarke sounds like Kevin Rudd before his voice broke; while Pietersen, the South African turned Pom, blatantly barracks for the Proteas!
WASN’T that Tim Ross home architecture program on the ABC a ripper. Wonderful to see how we developed such a distinctive Australian style in the ’60s and ’70s. Today it’s all McMansions in the new suburbs and even the coast. Time for a bright young architect to lead the great Australian revival.

 robert@robertmacklin.com

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