Geoffrey Blainey, immigration and conservatism then and now

Scott Morrison’s comments on Muslims recall the glory days of 1980s conservatism when many conservatives (and some nervous lefties) believed that they had found a xenophobic master key to public opinion. John Howard’s musing on ‘Asian’ immigration were the high or low point. Labor government and Bob Hawke in particular wrapped themselves in the banner […]

Niall Ferguson

Niall  Ferguson according to the Guardian is to work ‘is to work with the Conservatives to overhaul history in schools.’ It is not exactly clear what is proposed here however, but that hasn’t stopped a Facebook page opposing him and a vehement ongoing debate about his views on imperialism. The only work of Ferguson’s I have […]

The false friends of ‘liberty’

Who would be a better prison warden: a simple moral person or a very intelligent member of the Institute of Public Affairs? A media report describes a recent meeting of conservative notables at a ‘Foundations of Western Civilisation’ event, organised by the Institute of Public Affairs, at which they rallied against the evils of ‘relativism’. […]

Scholarship and pseudo-scholarship

Some recent discussion about the distinction between ‘opinion’ and ‘analysis’ at Larvatus Prodeo. As a historian I see this debate differently, it is an echo of past debates about ‘objectivity’ in history (in the American case beautifully covered in Peter Novick’s That Noble Dream). I see a distinction between scholarship and pseudeo-scholarship. The former can […]

Ghosts of John Elliott and Katherine West

Malcolm Turnbull’s basic problem is that like John Howard Mark I he is out of step with his own party. Howard won the Liberal leadership in 1985 due to missteps by Andrew Peacock rather than any strong base of support. Turnbull, once Peter Costello was gone, was the only credible candidate once Brendan Nelson fell […]