It is now two and a half years since Australia’s most prominent conservative journalist, Andrew Bolt, was attacked in the street by masked Antifa thugs. Despite the entire incident being captured by two separate cameras, the assailants who squirted chemicals in the elderly columnist’s eyes (before coming off second best in the ensuing brawl) remain unidentified.
Andrew Bolt was in Lygon Street in early 2017 at the launch of The Art of the Impossible, a book on Donald Trump and the 2016 US presidential election campaign by RMIT associate professor Steve Kates. He later aired the footage of the attack on his Sky News program.
This lack of identification is despite the fact that the cameraman who clearly came along with the attackers (despite his denials) was identified shortly afterwards as Nathan Coote. Mr Coote told the Age newspaper that he had nothing to do with the “protesters” and had just magically happened to be there at the time. This is despite Mr Coote’s Instagram showing him photographing black-masked anarchists and attending numerous rallies organised by the extreme left.
In October 2015, Coote was present during the protest against the 2nd Anniversary of Operation Sovereign Borders, organised by Chris Breen. Breen is a long-term member and organiser for the Trotskyist group Solidarity. Coote posted his photos on his Instagram account, helpfully tagging them #F*ckMalcolmTurnbull (no asterisk). Also in 2015, Coote travelled to Bendigo to attend the Socialist Alternative-organised counter-protest against the mosque opponents rallying in the town. He also attended the anti-Reclaim Australia rally organised by the “No Room for Racism” organisation, itself a front group for the now-disgraced socialist Stephen Jolly.
The day after the Andrew Bolt attack, Coote posted a picture of a black-masked man and tagged a known anarchist – the same anarchist Coote tagged in many of his “anti-racism” protest pictures.
I don’t think any reasonable person can believe Coote’s protestations of innocence.
I believe that Nathan Coote went along with some friends to film what they all assumed would be the public humiliation of a man for the crime of disagreeing with them politically. Yet there has been no follow-up. No witch hunt. No prosecution. No arrest. It’s unclear if Mr Coote was even interviewed by police, despite telling his extremely dodgy story to a major newspaper.
If noted left-wing journalist David Marr had been attacked in the street by masked thugs two years ago and the police had not even made the slightest attempt to find his attackers, I’m pretty certain the uproar, outrage and gnashing of teeth from the establishment would be deafening.
But we all know it wouldn’t have gotten that far. The Victoria Police hierarchy would have pulled out all the stops to find such mythical assailants, knowing full well that the entire journalistic, public service and academic establishment would cry blue murder if they didn’t.
Those same journalists would probably have laughed after Bolt was attacked. After all, he’s not one of them. He’s not one of the special people with the correct opinions. Those outside the cathedral of the left don’t really seem human to those inside; and far-left violence against almost anyone in Victoria rarely, if ever, gets punished.
A few months after the Bolt assault, in October 2015, right-wing activist Blair Cottrell was a part of a peaceful political protest involving a mock beheading as part of an ongoing campaign against the proposed Bendigo mosque. The state of Victoria has spent millions of dollars prosecuting the case and, during the appeals process this week, assigned more than half a dozen lawyers to defend the conviction. Millions of dollars of effort to defend a $2,000 fine. Whatever you think of Mr Cottrell or his politics, it’s clear that thugs attacking people in the street should be more of a law enforcement priority than peaceful political speech. But it isn’t.
It’s not a matter of resources. It’s a matter of politics. Some people get away with attacking prominent journalists in the street. Others get charged for political speech. The people making the decisions know what they’re doing, and they know who they care about.
And it isn’t you.