It isn’t every day one is name checked by the head of our international spy agency. But that’s what happened this week when Paul Symon, the director-general of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, spoke at the Lowy Institute.
He was outlining his vision for the future of foreign espionage when he stopped mid-sentence and asked whether Stan Grant was in the room.
Now, I was meant to be there but got caught up in work at the ABC. Lucky. I may well have ducked my head and crept for the exit, pleading “It wasn’t me, I wasn’t there!”
Symon wanted to comment on something I had written, that democracy bends toward tyranny. He said he found the idea troubling, yet he could see how it was playing out in our world.
In challenging democracy, I was playing on the line uttered by Martin Luther King Jr — and repeated by Barack Obama — that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.
A nice sentiment but untrue. If it does, then African…