1161 Morrison oh Morrison

I feel strongly about Scott Morrison ... but I could not possible articulate my dislike for him as well as James Lee on The Sydney Review of Books:


The Parable of the Amen Snorter

and the Rotten Fish

It is common knowledge that Morrison is despised by many of his colleagues. Recent testimonials from his own side of politics have described him as a ‘liar’, a ‘fraud’, a ‘bully’, a ‘complete psycho’, an ‘autocrat’, a ‘deeply ingrained chauvinist’, an ‘absolute arsehole’ and a ‘horrible, horrible person’, who is ‘volatile, sly and untrustworthy’ and has ‘no moral compass’.


That a man once described by Peter Hartcher (SMH, 'The Ugly Game of Race Baiting') as ‘the greatest grub in federal Parliament’ should have ascended to the position of prime minister is symptomatic of a deep rot at the heart of Australia’s political culture, but more to the point it is a comprehensive indictment of the government he leads, the party to which he belongs, and the rancid ideology that sustains them.


Of course, trying to parse Morrison’s public statements is something of a fool’s errand. He has never shown any interest in what words actually mean, or even the conventional ordering of their syllables. He has a fair claim to the title of the most inarticulate Australian political leader since Joh Bjelke-Petersen — and that is up against some stiff competition. Transcripts of his press conferences present a stupefying wasteland of ungrammatical babble. He struggles to get through a sentence without garbling at least one word. He is the only member of the most recent parliament whose mush-mouthed outpourings reliably overtop the tremulous illiteracies of One Nation senator Pauline Hanson, the authentic frontier gibberish of Queensland independent Bob Katter, and the slurred ramblings of his notoriously flatulent deputy Barnaby Joyce. For Morrison, words are just distracting noises that come out of a hole in his head. They are not connected to any logic or fact or principle. They are not constrained by anything he has said or done in the past, nor do they commit him to any future course of action. To expect otherwise is to make a categorical error. Morrison’s political career provides no grounds for believing that he will ever give a straight answer to any question, offer a cogent and consistent argument, explain himself in any way, or do anything he says he will do. He has never baulked at any hypocrisy, small or large. He speaks in order to make the very act of questioning him an exercise in futility, addressing no concrete reality beyond the immediate imperative to generate static. It is a form of anti-oratory: the rhetorical equivalent of avoiding an awkward conversation by starting up a leaf blower.


Morrison’s incoherence can thus be interpreted as tactical evasiveness, and as such be taken as evidence of his political cunning. One of the key insights of Sean Kelly’s recent book The Game: A Portrait of Scott Morrison — which devotes several pages to an attentive reading of Morrison’s maiden speech — is that the Prime Minister’s chief and perhaps only political skill is his ability to manoeuvre and avoid responsibility. He is a superficial politician adapted to the superficiality of contemporary politics; his overriding concern is always the ‘game’ of politics as an end in itself.