Mood: accident prone
Topic: aust govt
There was a cruel picture of a goofy looking 30 something lawyer Turnbull in the broadsheet press earlier this week in Sydney. Might have been The Australian, indeed yes here:Spycatcher was mentally ill | The Australian
From left Malcolm Turnbull, and author Wright in folksy hat seated on a city bench with Gough Whitlam no less, former ALP Prime Minister.
There was a real politik subtext of the report about Peter Wright being regarded now 14 years after his death, 24 years after his book, by MI5 et al today as "a crank". Especially the claim Roger Hollis as director of MI5 was a KGB spy.
Turnbull famously won a free speech case for the Wright publication here in Australia, though it has to be said Wright strongly hints he omitted alot of material anyway being 'a man who knew too many secrets' on the last page of the book. Wright was never in the director promotion stream because he came to the secret service through his science and technical not intelligence/spy training.
The subtext of the article is Turnbull promoted a fraud, a mental case, a crank and so should be marked down in the current leadership "chaos" because he has risen based in part on that cache' of misconceived libertarian free speech record. The addition of Gough Whitlam just twists the knife given the ex PM is regarded as an economic failure though social welfare champion.
The damage was all in the picture rather than the text content, and in the placement in the broadsheet of choice of the conservative intellectual Coalition voter. Nasty.
The book doesn't read like a crank author but then that could be editor intervention too. But putting that aside back in 2003-4 when Turnbull was accessible to the public while seeking parliamentary office, and this writer chatted to him on Bondi Rd (outside Kemeny's supermarket after a feed at 3 Steps and near where my IT consultant lived), and exchanged emails once, he wrote to this blogger saying words like
'it is accepted wisdom that Wright was wrong about Roger Hollis'
How very interesting we thought at the time. We may even have blogged on it on Sydney Indymedia sometime since.
We don't have the email - cleaned out several cycles ago but it's pretty much a direct quote.
So the news article earlier this week sells Turnbull a little short. He was willing to email a mosquito in the political firmament 5 years ago and concede his client Peter Wright's book - remember it's a rule of law society with right to a lawyer of choice - was probably wrong. Does this itself show lack of judgement?
On the other hand what is that old saying about disagreeing but defending to the death the right to free speech?
A cheap shot at Turnbull, no doubt effective given the timing, and as usual anything can happen in politics which is a cruel business to be sure. What did Turnbull himself say recently - 'the Liberal party are unsentimental about the leadership'.