I have banned Eleanor of Aquitane for what can only be described as daft egocentric babblings that touch on no public policy and speak only of her true identity, ‘the real Eleanor’, a sure sign of madness, and Bob Ellis’s Salad Dressing for alleging repeatedly that I drink to excess and so implying that this in some way nullifies or undercuts my opinions. If I drank, as Gore Vidal did for two decades, two bottles of Johnny Walker a day, I should nonetheless be judged like him by my arguments not my cocktail cabinet nor what gender I spend my nights with.
As it happens, I do drink a good deal once a month, at the Primates, for all of a Tuesday afternoon, but hardly at all on the other twenty-nine or thirty days, going for whole weeks without alcohol very frequently and favouring green tea. I was falling-down drunk last in 1978 at the New Hellas with Phillipe Mora and not since. If anyone can remember me legless in later decades will they please say so and give details.
Bereft of sensible policy, the Right can only say, and say loudly, that their adversaries are of unsound mind; that they drink, take drugs, attempt ‘sex by surprise’, have become ‘arrogant’, ‘hubristic’, have ‘outbursts’, ‘dummy-spits’, ‘tantrums’, ‘lash out’ and so on, lest their readers look at their good policies and find sense in them.
I have repeatedly asked my respondents to name eight bad policies Labor should be thrown out for and they can’t. This can only mean their reasons for being anti-Labor are corrupt, suspect or unhinged. There can be no other explanation for it. They should have a cause in policy for hating Labor and they do not. Whatever the real reason — family tradition, avarice, envy, their response to a leader’s personality — it is illogical and shallow and will get short shrift in these columns.
The bannings are forever unless otherwise stipulated. And they will be enforced.