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Canberra Today 3°/9° | Saturday, April 13, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Was Orwell right? We’ll know by December

Scott Morrison’s new boss, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Gage Skidmore

“What worries me is the decision of our own former PM Scott Morrison to join the Trump motorcade with his new boss, Michael Pompeo, a weird believer in the ‘Rapture’,” writes The gadfly columnist ROBERT MACKLIN

This, it seems, is the pivotal year. The moral war has been launched. By December 25 we will have learned whether George Orwell’s book 1984 was an accurate prediction of the future or just a scary tale of what might have been.

Robert Macklin.

2024 has already been billed as the Year of the Democracies since there are so many nations going to the polls. But some are dark gestures – vile shadows of the process – Russia, for instance, where Vladimir Putin murdered or jailed his opponents yet still conducts a farcical poll and boasts of the result. 

In China, Xi Jinping continues his act as pretend emperor and the little dictators trail along.

The good guys are such as us, most of the Scandinavians and Europeans, the Kiwis and the Canadians. The top dog in that happy pack for many years has been the US and this year its election is of enormous consequence. That is really where the future of humankind will be decided, and we won’t know the answer until a certain Tuesday in November.

We got off to a pretty good start in Indonesia with the peaceful election of the 72-year-old former general Prabowo Subianto, supported by his predecessor, the popular Djoko Widodo. 

And after Joe Biden’s State of the Union address he made a very good case for four more years. America’s electoral college will make the final decision, but my money is on Joe. Trump is a clown and enough American voters will see him as such.

However, what does worry me is the decision of our own former PM Scott Morrison to join the Trump motorcade with his new boss, Michael Pompeo, a weird believer in the “Rapture” – a kind of Judgement Day where the “elect” run the whole kit and caboodle. 

You will recall Morrison’s attendance at a Trump rally during a Washington visit as PM and his boast that “I believe in miracles; I have always believed in miracles”.

So have the rest of us… until a better explanation came along. I believed in the tooth fairy until I saw my mother swapping my little brother’s baby tooth for a coin. I believed in Santa Claus until I only pretended to be asleep as mum and dad put the pillowslip on the end of the bed. I believed in the Jesus fable till I decided to write a biography of him (Pan Macmillan, 1990).

The reality is too complex for a Gadfly column but it’s at the heart of the real battle in the US – belief versus scientific fact. 

Science gave us civilisation but there’s still a long way to go in our adventure of discovery.

Quantum mechanics, dark energy, black holes – all seem like miracles until we find out how they all work together. What a joy awaits.

Not so with Scomo.

An ambitious man, he’s joined the Rapture gang to be one of the elect.

Perhaps those five secret ministries in his own government will do the trick. Either way, the fabulists can have him.

I just wish he wasn’t Australian. 


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Robert Macklin

Robert Macklin

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