Wizard – we hope – of Oz

Monday 7th September 2020

I had no idea that Sir Ian McKellen was an expert on matters of trade. I’d always assumed that as far as his particular trade is concerned he had an agent to take care of it.

Be that as it may, another media person who has unlikely claims to understand international export and import markets, the producer behind Dr Who is also expressing reservations about the appointment of an Aussie ex-PM to be a UK trade envoy. They are both signatories of an ‘Open Letter to Government’ in protest that a person from the Antipodes is being allowed into the UK’s halls of influence. He’s apparently been very rude. To lots of people.

Tony Abbott is in these media persons’ view unfit to represent these sceptred isles as the UK attempts post-Brexit trade deals. Mr A is probably a bit of a non-leftie hooligan. In what looks like an abrasive career so far, he’s ruffled quite a feathers. He’s described as a ‘socially conservative Catholic’ and was, oops, a Rhodes scholar. Not a man who would necessarily get the luvvies’ vote.

But is he unfit for the job ?

Well he, according to his supporters, did more to help Australia’s exporters than any other leader, bashing out deals with Japan, China and South Korea. As it happens, nations we’d rather like to reach out to a little more.

Has Mr Abbott got sharp elbows ? Probably. A bit of a political bruiser ? If he’s on our side, I sincerely hope so.

Trade negotiations, are, according to a friend of mine who has sat round a table or two in his time, like torture and then a slow death. It takes a toughie to get things done. As for Mr Abbott’s roots, I can tell you from my limited part in carving Sky’s success against some of the most incestuous vested interests in our glorious UK media industry, if you want something done, get an Aussie. No worries.


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