Whilst The Australian‘s Greg Sheridan was enjoying dinner with Tony Abbott in Lygon St the other night, secure in the knowledge that the government wasn’t busy making judgments about their private lives and declaring them some kind of second-rate arrangement, a terrible thing occurred.
Some young gay people and their friends – the very people that Greg, Tony and other senior politicians were in fact determined for no readily-identifiable reason to insist that the government treat as second-class citizens – appeared in their restaurant and called Tony a bigot! In his own private time! Imposing their political views on Tony’s private life! It makes you as angry as when you first learned that French peasants had rudely interrupted Marie Antoinette with their entirely justified grievances as she sat down to some delicious cake – which she’d even been kind enough to offer them first.
The equality activists claimed they had been tipped off by another diner in the restaurant (the traitorous swine), and when they arrived passers-by joined in the protest. Worse, “restaurant staff members made a makeshift petition supporting gay marriage and presented it to the Opposition Leader”.
No, wait – that can’t have happened. If it had, that would make Greg Sheridan’s piece today amusingly myopic fantasy:
DINING in the heart of Greens MP Adam Bandt’s seat, Tony Abbott might not have expected the support he got from Lygon Street customers last Sunday night.
If Labor and the Greens are losing in Melbourne’s Carlton, the government really may be in for an electoral Armageddon. That strikes me as the only long-term political point to take out of an unpleasant little kerfuffle in Melbourne last Sunday night, when I had dinner with the Opposition Leader…
Labor and the Greens losing in Melbourne’s Carlton! And all because some young equality activists interrupted Tony’s dinner and “banged on the windows” so hard that “one of the staff worried the windows would be broken”. (You can see the footage of the activists touching the windows here, showing just how accurate Greg’s version is.)
Naturally, the outraged citizens of Carlton rose up in defence of their new favourite politician.
One dear, white-haired old lady put herself at some risk by trying to get the demonstrators to leave. But they planned to stay…
A number of diners at the tables on the pavement told the demonstrators to get lost. Not only were the demonstrators spoiling their dinner, these folks thought it unfair that Abbott could not even go to a restaurant without sectarian left-wing haters harassing him.
There you are. “Sectarian left-wing haters” versus everyone else involved supporting Tony. Nothing in Greg’s piece about any diners criticising Abbott. Nothing about the gay activists finding out Tony was there precisely because another diner thought it appropriate for him to hear from ordinary voters he can usually filter out. SO IT DID NOT HAPPEN. There was no support amongst ordinary Carlton residents for Tony being reminded that denying people equality actually affects their private lives, too. The gay activists must have located Tony using gaydar, or some equivalent magical system for locating far-right politicians.
In fact, it so didn’t happen, the support for Tony so overwhelming, that Sheridan suggests “Labor and Greens are losing in Melbourne’s Carlton”.
Greg is a seasoned journalist, so if he declares that “a white-haired old lady” and “a number of diners” tried to save Tony’s dinner (and possibly dessert – maybe he enjoys some cake too?) and that that means that “Labor and Greens are losing in Melbourne’s Carlton” contrary to all published polls and recent electoral results, then, well, that is indeed “the only long-term political point” to take out of the incident.
That’s why Greg and Tony were carried from the restaurant in triumph and cheered up and down Lygon St by adoring Liberal-voting Carlton residents. Young men honked their horns approvingly and young lady university students blushed. Three cheers for Tony and Greg, the crowd shouted. We will never vote lefty again!
Imagine how much Greg’s going to gloat in 2013 when the Liberals get up in Melbourne. Keep an eye on him on the night.
It just shows they were right all along. Why can’t gay people sit quietly in the corner and leave the rest of us in peace while we discriminate against them in the law for no rational reason whatsoever? I know we would if it were us.