GORDON SANITAIRE by Gordon Urquhart (X)

The Archive

I used to joke that in my personal archive there was material sufficient to have brought down several governments. This isn’t quite true though: 1) it’s not a joke; and 2) several is a loaded word – two or three governments would be more accurate.

But that’s all in the past now. Nobody seems interested in the services of your humble correspondent as a lobbyist (as the role is laughingly called) any more, and besides I no longer have contacts in the Federal Police – a succession of commissioners were personal friends – and the late night M5 dash to the House, from my house, seems a less attractive proposition when you might get caught speeding. I never did take up residence in Canberra, couldn’t stand the place, and I probably shouldn’t boast about my driving records to and from Sydney, but it will suffice, I hope, for me to say that I used to do the run very fast indeed.

Information of a vibrant tabloid nature is of minimal interest when the administration it pertains to is no longer in office. There can be security implications, of course, but agents from our security agencies – and when I say agents I mean senior officials – have reviewed all of the relevant material – and when I say relevant material I mean photographs, tape recordings, and documents rescued from disposal. I went to school with a pair of the chaps who had a rummage through the papers one afternoon in my basement. Careful scrutiny – and when I say scrutiny I mean taking a really good look over a glass or two of Lagavulin single malt – has revealed that I do not pose a security risk. In fact no Frencham Old Boy has ever been a threat to this country’s security.

These papers span my whole career, not just my time as a political consultant and practised luncher (I’m thinking of the 1980s). It would be true to say there is even some dirt on a few business figures encountered on my waltzes in and out of boardrooms over the years, but naturally one wouldn’t dream of using anything in one’s possession for personal ends, and blackmail is such a dirty word. Besides one sees these people – hated rivals, colleagues, acquaintances, old friends – in one’s club, and club rules do stipulate civility.

For the life of me I cannot recall what I was looking for when I was most recently going through the archive, but I found a diary I started writing at the age of six and abruptly stopped writing just after my ninth birthday. I had been given a text book on defamation law and so thought it best to stop writing down my own thoughts and instead collect evidence about other people. I suppose that was the beginning of my career.

I was seven when I wrote this:

Mumsy and the Senator [my father] are always having such fascinating people at the house for their parties. Guests all love cook’s neenish tarts so. Politicians and journalists especially love them. They take whatever is offered, hungrily, and they’re always the last to leave at the end. It seems awfully easy to make a journalist or a politician like you.

I couldn’t agree with seven year-old Gordon more.

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Published in: on April 2, 2012 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

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