Imagine if he’d accepted honorary membership of a group that once imposed martial law during civil rights marches. Imagine if he was a member of a group implicated in a 1920 strikebreaking assault that left 16 coal miners dead. This actually happened.
But not to Abbott. As News Corp’s Laurie Oakes wrote on Saturday: “It is not widely known, but Malcolm Turnbull is a lieutenant-colonel in the Alabama State Militia.”
Consider for a moment the media’s reaction if Abbott had accepted such an honour and made such a feeble excuse. In Turnbull’s case, however, it’s just a colourful anecdote.