Picture this: London, July or August. The new Prime Minister, the Conservative Party leader David Cameron, is seated in a chair once occupied by New Labour's Gordon Brown. Maiden speeches should hardly be the biggest headache for Mr Cameron. But then a maverick ex-Tory MP who lost her Conservative Party endorsement rises to give her maiden speech. In a shrill voice she declares: “We are in danger of being swamped by bogans.”
And whoever she is, she might just have a point. Because Pauline Hanson, an MP who made a name for herself whingeing about the privileges of the underprivileged and whingeing about Aborigines and immigrants, has announced that she is heading for the land of the biggest whingers of them all. The whingeing bogan will soon be transformed into a whingeing Pom.
Hanson is eligible to hold a British passport because her grandfather migrated to Australia from England. She is proud of her mixed English-Irish heritage. However, if her past form is any indication, Hanson is certainly not too thrilled about having at least 9 per cent Arab/Middle Eastern heritage. Still, we cannot be sure if her ancestors were Christian Muslims or Muslim Christians.
And Hanson is clear about what she's looking for in mother England. “I've really had enough. I want peace in my life. I want contentment, and that's what I'm aiming for.” England is, of course, a place full of monocultural peace and contentment. You don't see uncontrolled immigration or nasty Muslim (as opposed to Christian Muslim) terrorists running riot there.
If you don't believe me, just ask Hanson's rough equivalent in the UK, the allegedly conservative blogger and columnist Melanie Phillips. In her 2006 book Londonistan: How Britain Is Creating A Terror State Within, Phillips selects chapter headings that show just how wonderful things are up there:
Chapter 1 - The Growth of Londonistan
Chapter 3 - The Security Debacle
Chapter 4 - Multicultural Paralysis
Chapter 8 - On Their Knees before Terror
Chapter 9 - The Appeasement of Clerical Fascism
Back in 2002, Phillips wrote these telling words:
“Britain is now receiving around 200,000 migrants a year from outside the EU, of whom around 100,000 are asylum seekers (of whom only 10,000 are currently removed), 60,000 are dependants of those already here and the rest (on a low estimate) are illegal immigrants. If this trend continues, there will be at a conservative estimate an extra two million people every decade - almost another Birmingham every five years.”
Which makes you wonder why Ms Hanson would want to consider opening a fish and chip shop in Londonistan.
Hanson may not remain in Australia in body, but her spirit will stay with us for decades to come. Our politics, media and public discourse have been infected by Hansonite thinking. I saw this myself in action in the November 2001 Federal Election. At the time, I was the endorsed Liberal candidate in the safe Labor seat of Reid. I was required to run all media and public comment past the Campaign HQ in East Sydney.
Someone introduced me to a man who lived in John Howard's seat of Bennelong and whose two nieces had drowned with 350 other asylum seekers in the SIEV-X incident. I wanted to say something about it in public and contacted Campaign HQ. The reply came - do not talk about the issue or face disendorsement.
“Listen, I know how much you hate Pauline Hanson. You've got to understand that we have a deliberate strategy here. We want to destroy Hanson by sounding like her and attracting her voter base away from her. It's part of a deliberate strategy, and it's temporary.”
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