Introducing the Mallard AU | Jeremy Amin, Emma McCaul & Jake Scott
The Mallard started in Great Britain in September 2016. Originally, it was a place for conservative students to share their thoughts and contribute to the public debate at a time when it seemed they couldn’t. Despite a landslide victory for the Conservative Party, and a successful ‘Leave EU’ campaign, on university campuses it felt like a difficult time to be a conservative. A hostile attitude was sensed from other students and, for many reasons, a closed-off attitude from the Party itself.
What initially drew writers to the Mallard was a combined ethos of a) providing a platform of respectable opinion, and b) providing feedback and constructive criticism. We worked with writers to improve the standard of their work, and it worked: writers have gone on to be published in The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, UnHerd, Spiked, and so many more publications.
The Mallard, as time has gone on, has evolved – as all good conservative institutions do. We now publish articles from across the political spectrum, of all standards, and all ages – and therein lies the public attitude of the Mallard. We do not present a concrete political programme or ideology, as we are not an activist group, but instead aim to foster and improve a sense of public debate and shared discussion. Marxist or Monarchist, if you write and argue well, we at the Mallard want and welcome you.
The State of our Times
The current state of affairs of mainstream and alternative media is largely one of brute money making and half truths. Popular discourse is increasingly becoming polarised, filled with caricatures, polemical rhetoric, and rampant attempts at political point scoring. The academy is, unfortunately, becoming more and more irrelevant as academics become less connected to the ‘real world’. The spirit of academia as a brave investigation into the nature of the world is gradually being replaced with restrictive ‘ruling paradigms,’ to borrow from Thomas Kuhn. Peer review, the mechanism of filtering out the insane and detached ideas from the reliable and the fruitful, is also a paradigm reinforcing mechanism. The people and ideas at the margins must work far too hard to be heard and taken seriously. Social media, and technology in general, only magnify these tendencies in good and bad directions. We are in need of technologically literate, shackle free pioneership and teamwork.
The Mallard’s aim going forward is to take on this task and do its part in clearing out the crusty and the murky and the non-constructive relics that are no longer good or useful.
The Future of the Mallard
In 2021, the most alarming political trend is the upsurge in impassioned declarations of being ‘politically homeless.’ Distributed equally amongst traditional voters on the right and left is the discussion of political abandonment, with mainstream media ignoring both sides in equal measure. Americans frequently state that, “…they didn’t leave the Democratic party, rather it left them.” Ditto for British conservatives. A challenge to you the reader; try and find an Australian voter who is actually satisfied with their voting options and does not, in the end, vote for what they deem to be the best of a bad bunch. This is what it means to be politically homeless. Essentially, you are 26% satisfied with one party, 40% happy with another party, but a more than 50% threshold of satisfaction with one party is never reached.
Yet, the politically homeless remain disregarded by an increasingly elitist mainstream media – intent on pushing divisive political stereotypes. At best, anyone that does not fit the narrative is tolerated by a mainstream media that seeks to divide and conquer. And divide it does; friendships have been known to end over whether or not one supported Trump, or having different opinions on climate change. Silencing voices that do not further the mainstream media narrative contributes to a combative society. Indeed, our offline interactions are increasingly resembling the most cringe-worthy of internet arguments.
Who benefits from this? As both individuals and as a society, none of us are solely left or right wing, nor should we be. We need the principles from both sides collectively and individually to reach our full potential. This can’t happen when ideas, particularly centrist leaning ones, are never given their air time.
A key goal of the Mallard is not just to encourage new writers, but a new way of engagement between the left and right that is based on the belief that we the people are stronger when we agree to disagree civilly. We believe our shared values unite us, and that sharing ideas of how best to bring those values to fruition only strengthens us. We further our own intellects and personal growth when we read what we disagree with, and when it is expressed and received in the spirit of mutual respect. If no man is an island, nor should any one person find themselves solely or excessively inhabiting a left or right leaning space, where doing so leads to only consuming commentary from a source that is ‘theirs.’
We limit ourselves, our children and our collective future when we censor opinion. Not listening to a right wing opinion because you’re a liberal (or vice versa) only benefits a two party system and the corporate interests behind it. We need to vote on issues based on what is in the best interest of ourselves, our families and our communities; this is impossible without the left and right engaging in meaningful, respectful debate that all of the public can hear and read. We are here to serve ourselves, not enter a voluntary serfdom serving corporate interests or those who solely strive for the accumulation of unchecked power. Sovereignty begins and ends in us, the people, and it is entirely dependent on the people freely and civilly exchanging ideas.
The Mallard provides a unique opportunity for first time writers to appear alongside the likes of Peter Hitchens, publishing fresh talent from all age groups and walks of life. The mainstream media does not contain enough diversity of thought or diversity of background, it is not just the opinions of journalism majors from liberal universities that the public should be expected to consume. We at the Mallard encourage pieces from writers from all industries and educational backgrounds.
It matters not whether a submission comes from a stay at home mother, a tradie or the Prime Minister. It matters not whether you are a first time writer who has previous experience in publishing. All that matters is that you have a voice, and you are prepared to articulate it well and in a gracious manner.
We are the Mallard.