What was it that the shade of Achilles said when Odysseus met him in Hell (or Hades if you prefer) on the latter’s long journey home to Ithaca? It was something along the lines of much preferring to be a day labourer in the world than a prince in Hell.
Well, I am an office worker rather than a day labourer, and perhaps as a middle manager of such people, in a bit of a better situation than what Achilles aspired to resume. But I am 53, slightly older than the recently demised Shane Warne and Senator Kitching, and about the same age as Robert Holmes A Court, descendent of hereditary barons, and mostly self made robber baron, was when he suddenly died in 1991.
Much as I do not have a dog in the fight for the current federal election, the idea of various supposedly independent candidates being funded by some very rich posh person with deep pockets does intrigue me.
The ability for people with any significant wealth, particularly unearned and inherited, to potentially shift election results, is of concern to myself and other responsible citizens.
Simon Holmes A Court, one of the younger children of 1980s corporate raider Robert Holmes A Court, and descendent of the 2nd Baron Heytesbury (after whom his father named his main investment vehicle) is a person whom we do need to examine a little closely.
His patronage of the Climate 200 group, which is funding supposed independents to compete with Liberal Party moderates in safe Liberal seats, is a matter of concern.
We do not examine the motives of our own oligarchs and timocrats anywhere near as well as we do those of tyrants we criticise. Yet Simon HaC is a timocrat with great privilege in the form of his deep pockets of inherited and unearned wealth, which he is now using to try and turn the outcomes of elections in key seats.
He is worse than the Oligarch Clive Palmer, who is, like me, born in Footscray and who has (unlike me) earned his own fortune rather than inherited his wealth which he now wants to use to influence the outcome of our democracy.
Some 30 years ago, when the late Brian Buckley wrote the authorised biography of his friend and former employer Sir Phillip Lynch (a book sadly titled ‘Lynched’ which reflected poorly on both the author and the subject, alas, although I was too naive to quite understand why until years later), some of the ending paragraphs were devoted to Lynch’s interactions with the hubris driven Robert Holmes A Court.
At page 224 of that book, it does talk about the family’s history of supporting socialist causes and a Soviet-front peace group. Lynch (he is from what I have heard of him, sufficiently an arrogant a-hole that he does not deserve the deference I usually would show to a Knight of the Realm – ie I would call him Sir Phillip) apparently observed that he felt that Robert Holmes A Court did not feel ‘comfortable with our side of politics’.
The family continued at the time of that book’s publication in the early 1990s to financially support independent anti-defence senator Jo Valentine, leading that author to suggest that the Holmes A Court family and their holding company had a contempt for ‘democratic capitalism’.
That is what we plebs all love to see, poor little rich boys (and girls) like Simon and Allegra who have lots of money and privilege and power, who want to manipulate our democracy in favour of their own little agendas, whilst they at the same time maintain and protect their own wealth and power.