if I stand in front of a street lamp will that make me really bright …?
The Australian election has come but it has not yet gone. Counting resumes today after the election scrutineers took the customary two days to gather all the ballots and postal votes ready for the final count. But the result in some seats won’t be known for weeks.
What we do know is that Turnbull fucked it. As one wag on Catallaxy Files put it:
“Abbott won 25 seats despite the media being full-on feral towards him, every day.
Turnbull lost 15 seats despite the media giving him a tongue bath, every day.”
Turnbull also lost those 15 seats because the self-styled “great communicator” managed to communicate nothing at all. His opponent in the election had the debating skills of a retarded wombat and the strategic policy to match. The only thing that Bill Shorten could come up with in 8 weeks of electioneering was the lie that Turnbull was going to privatize Medicare, the federal health fund. All Turnbull had to do was demolish this lie by going on the attack and demanding to know what actual policies Shorten had, (raise electricity prices to save the planet!) Instead he gave the lie credibility by attempting to explain his way around it.
But what’s worse was his arrogant refusal to run his campaign on the three great successes of the past government: reversing the carbon tax, reversing the mining tax, and stopping the refugee boats. That last achievement is particularly relevant in the face of what has been happening in Europe. But those were all Tony Abbott successes and Turnbull wanted above all else to deny his internal opponent any oxygen. And he wanted to keep the press on side, the same press who, as demonstrated by the above quote, don’t even matter when it comes to the punch on polling day.
So he had to come up with some new policies of his own and his brilliant idea, (sarc), was to announce a retrospective tax on superannuation, the Australian retirement platform. If anything was going to outrage the die-hard conservative base it was this. But to top that off he then intimated that those same die-hard conservatives did not really matter in the scheme of things. They were “delusional conservatives” or delcons as they came to be known.
Turns out that they do in fact matter, they don’t like retrospective retirement taxes that can’t be explained, they don’t like the sitting prime minister referring to the settlement of Australia as an “invasion”, and they particularly don’t like the same prime minister sitting down to a Ramadan dinner with Islamic hate preachers during the election.
But what Australians don’t appreciate even more than this is the betrayal of “mateship”. The knife in the back to Tony Abbott seven months ago was the mountain that Turnbull could never overcome and he in fact made no effort to. While Abbott was gracious and outwardly supportive of Turnbull being elected, the prime minister spurned him openly at every opportunity, each of these public moments a reminder to everyone that he was not as smart as he imagined himself to be.
When Abbott was knifed seven months ago the general consensus was that he was finished in politics. At the time I was reading Churchill’s first volume of his Second World War memoirs; the time period in which Churchill was banished to the outer reaches of power, and his political career seemingly over.
Events had different ideas and Churchill played them extremely well. Abbott is not finished. He has only to take advantage of current events to banish this prancing peacock to the outer reaches of history. Let Turnbull become the only Australian prime minister never to be elected.