If you needed reminding young Libs were out of touch
The bizarre behaviour of Young Liberal National Party Nick Sowden in calling Barack Obama a monkey underscores one point pretty well: how out of touch a lot of people in the Young Liberals are.
For all the outrage around Sowden’s comments on Twitter last night, the broader point beyond a university student doing something stupid, is what it says about this disproportionately powerful group.
Sowden gave a radio interview today in which he defended his behaviour, drawing on the famous Sandilands defence: I was taken out of context.
I’m not entirely sure what context calling a black man a monkey is should be taken in, obviously the natural reaction of many has been to place it in the crap racist joke one.
You can listen to the interview with Sowden here, in which he makes such spectacular arguments as “I don’t think Obama is a monkey, you can’t be a monkey and be the President of the United States”, and “you see all kinds of things on the internet”.
Sowden’s got a record of some inflammatory behaviour, as an openly gay bloke he’d get a kick out making homophobic remarks during student elections campaigns.
None of this behaviour is particularly original for uni students or uni politics, but the thing about Sowden’s action is that it reinforces every stereotype about the kind of people that get involved in the Liberal Party.
As someone who always found student politicians of both sides very painful, one thing I always had to hand to young Labor types was their understanding of the importance of party discipline.
How out of touch must a promising young politician be when he Tweets a blatantly racist comment about the US President during a live TV interview and expects it to have no repercussions?
Despite the fact that the Young LNP have expelled Sowden this afternoon, people are going to wonder what planet this guy and his Young Lib mates are living on when they find this funny, especially given the obvious privilege he enjoys through being lucky enough and smart enough to attend Medical School.
The behaviour is symptomatic of the overindulged and WASPY boat shoe culture that literally runs riot in the Young Liberals.
Given the problems Liberals are having in attracting talent, members and, most importantly, voters, the party might do well to have a look at their best and brightest as a window on to what’s gone wrong.
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