I HAVE been thinking a lot about Margo Kingston, how she was “disappeared” and how much she and I have in common.
Surely you remember Margo and the pioneering work she did at the Sydney Morning Herald’s Web Diary, which set the standard for instant online commentatory? She was everywhere, covering every topic, from the Bali bombings to the latest advances in military technology. If you tuned in to Radio National there was a good chance of hearing her analyzing the issues of the day with Phillip Adams. To hear them chat and brandish the rapier banter was a joyful celebration or erudition and acumen, the brightest minds in Australia. Same with the Lateline, where Margo was a fixture, the ABC’s go-to person for any issue that required deep thought and independent analysis.
And where is Margo today? Gone. Vanished. Flushed away.
She was the voice of progressive reform, in thick with the cream of the media elite. She was one of them, one of us, one for the record.
Mark Scott was editor in chief and helping to make Fairfax what it is today, just as he is now transforming the ABC with features like the Drum. Margo commanded Scott’s entire respect. How could it be otherwise when he made her the public face of his company’s internet efforts? Her roots with colleagues were deep. There were the common views and deep empathy that united Margo with star columnist Paul McGeough, a bond she told us was cemented amid the revelry of budget night in Canberra and sparked and flamed through any number of mutual interviews.
And what happened? Well, as I have only just discovered, you can only maintain your place in the progressive pulpit while “friends” find you useful. Margo could withstand Tim Blair’s ridicule with an admirable stoicism, but her public profile could not withstand the treachery of her mates, who cast her aside when a feverish urgency once they recognised, or thought they recognised, that she had become a liability. So much for the love they proclaimed..
There was nothing wrong with Margo’s views and insights when she was being prominently featured in the meeja, as she liked to jokingly call it. But when the weight of Blairite abuse and Boltian disdain became an encumbrance, phhhhht, no more Margo. There were years in the limelight and, after that, irrelevance and exile in Byron Bay, where Valentines Day cards from Scott, Adams, McGeough and so many others never find their way into her letter box.
I thought the Left was a synonym of solidarity. Now I know better. The Left are bastards.