Whenever anybody says, “I don’t mean to be rude,” I pretty much know what I’m in for. Likewise the phrase “with respect”, when introducing an argument in rebuttal. My own personal favourite is, “I’m not racist, but…” This particular phrase, employed almost exclusively by the toxically stupid, invariably heralds an opinion that is, at best, patronising to other races, and at worst, vilifying. I have now, courtesy of Marty Corboys, National Party candidate for the Federal seat of Indi, found another snappy little conversation starter. His words, quoted by Gabrielle Chan in the Guardian on May 16 were: “Without sounding sexist, some people are rapt to have a man to vote for.”
Marty has said a mouthful here, for not only has he denied any sexism on his part, he’s dismissed, with a figurative wave of the hand, the notion that anyone might even suspect him of it. He’s not only telling us what he thinks, he’s telling us what we think. Learning a lesson from Marty, I’ll refrain from speaking for anyone other than myself and say simply that I am troubled by the unconscious sexism and the patronising tone of his remarks and perhaps even more so, given that this man is seeking public office, by their boundless stupidity.
And while I’m on the subject of boundless stupidity in the seat of Indi, let’s consider its former Representative, Sophie Mirabella. Ms Mirabella recently captured a headline with her suggestion that her defeat in 2013 had cost the electorate a $10 million grant to the Wangaratta Hospital. With this remark Ms Mirabella implicated her own party in pork-barrelling and, continuing the porcine theme, made a ham-fisted attempt at blackmailing her electorate. It was a spectacular shot in the foot, always a hazardous manoeuvre, made all the more so by the fact that her foot was wedged firmly in her mouth at the time.
But despite this self-inflicted wound, Sophie hobbles on, trouper that she is. She remains undaunted by what she claims is a whispering campaign against her from people within her own party. Not content to imply that the Liberals are guilty of punishing the voters of Indi for voting her out, she is now suggesting disunity in the party. She should be grateful the internal campaign against her, if indeed it exists, is only a whisper. But she is one tough lady. Just ask her. Matthew Knott reporting in the Sydney Morning Herald on 17th May, quoted Mirabella as saying, “a strong woman in politics and a strong woman on the conservative side is not what those who oppose the conservative side of politics want to see, obviously.”
She is of course absolutely right. She would also be right had she substituted the word ‘man’ for ‘woman’ or ‘person’ for ‘man’ or, for that matter, ‘aardvark’ for all of the above, because the last thing an anti-conservative wants to see is a strong anything on the conservative side of politics. Although I, for one, would vote for an aardvark, weak, strong or just as it comes, ahead of either Sophie Mirabella or Marty Corboys. And I would say to the pair of them, “I don’t mean to be rude, and I say this with the utmost respect, but…” You can guess the rest.