Rowan Dean Slams JCU Over Peter Ridd Censure on The Young IPA Podcast

Written by: and
13 February 2018
Rowan Dean Slams JCU Over Peter Ridd Censure on The Young IPA Podcast - Featured image

Rowan Dean, author of the two new books The Best of The Spectator Australia and Corkscrewed, joined The Young IPA Podcast to talk about the role of The Spectator Australia in the modern media landscape, what it was like living in London during the Thatcher era and the censure of Professor Peter Ridd by James Cook University.


On The Best of The Spectator Australia and the magazine’s role in the media today

“One of the things that amazed me…was how prescient much of the writing was. Particularly on the big theme of the last few years…the whole Turnbull coup and Abbott being rolled. Conservatives getting in and then conservatives turning on themselves, or the Liberal Party turning on itself. The split of conservatives from the bed-wetters as we like to affectionately call them. It comes through how prescient many of the writers were about how this would play out and the ramifications that would come from this split. Often I was quite surprised and amazed reading articles and going ‘My God, this was written months beforehand and this writer was right on to what was happening.’”

“The key thing I tell all writers for the magazine is three words: Provocative, insightful and engaging. And that sounds kind of obvious, but you’d be surprised how much writing doesn’t meet that criteria. The articles in the book are provocative, they’re designed to make you think. They are insightful, as I’ve said many of the insights are now become common part of the political discourse. And the key thing with The Spectator has always been the humour/personal style of writing where unlike most other magazines you really feel the different styles of the authors. And I really love that about The Spectator

On the importance of being provocative

“It’s the most fundamental point of any political commentary or cultural commentary. If you’re just going to regurgitate – and this is the problem with the ABC and much of Fairfax – the same established, politically correct, socially acceptable ideas it gets boring. And the purpose for reading is to make you want to put your eyeballs on that page and not go away from that page.”

On living in Thatcher’s London

“I wasn’t very interested in politics at all, and I got swept up very much in the Thatcher revolution. And it astonished me coming back to Australia on holidays in those first few years how Australia was heading down this path of ‘we don’t like individual enterprise.’ They hated Thatcher here.”

“In the 60s, you had a kind of revolution where working class kids smashed through the establishment and became artists or popstars or theatre stars. That was replicated in the 80s by business. Suddenly any kid from the wrong side of the sticks could suddenly become a successful businessperson. Thatcher took that revolutionary 60s spirit and applied it to business. She said to go and be an individual, start your own business, we’ll get rid of the regulation, we’ll make it easy for you to go out and do your own thing. And the atmosphere in London took off.”

On Professor Peter Ridd’s censure

“It’s disgraceful, it’s scary. It flies in the face of everything Western Civilisation has stood for.”

“All of our universities have been tainted with this disease where they think politically correct consensus is the answer to everything.”


To listen to the rest of the interview, download and subscribe to The Young IPA Podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud and the IPA website.

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