He’s doing a good job under difficult circumstances and the last thing we want to do is develop a tradition of knifing our leaders.

Tony Abbott on Brendan Nelson 26 August 2008

We have a good leader, he’s going to lead us through to the next election and we’ve got to get behind him.

Tony Abbott on Malcolm Turnbull 29 June 2009

Oh no! Here we go again! First it starts off with the psychological profiling. If Albanese was playing with the minds of the Liberals when he compared Turnbull to Latham, he must have also been playing the media as well. Since the ute-gate debacle and especially since the poll collapse, we have had a rash of personal analyses on why Turnbull’s personality made the cock-up inevitable.

Unless Turnbull has had a knock on the head, presumably he’s got the same personality that was supposed to guarantee his success when he took over the leadership nine months ago. Then, according to one commentator, “A brilliant advocate with a personal presence, Turnbull has all the attributes to make a real success of the Liberal leadership and to make a dent in Kevin Rudd’s popular domination.” Now nine months later, apparently the problem is now that Turnbull has acted too much like an advocate and not enough like a politician.

Turnbull may be politically naïve but his personal attributes are pretty irrelevant. Of course Turnbull has now been finished by his handling of the ute-gate affair, but only because he never was looking like he would succeed in the first place. This has nothing to do with his personal attributes but the political position he found himself in. He was head of a party that is torn between doing what is popular and sticking to its values that have now become irrelevant. If Turnbull was going to keep control of his party then it meant having to take up positions that made him unliked either by the public or his party. No wonder he grabbed what seemed like an opportunity to break through the stalemate irrespective of how weak the politics of it were.

But behind all the personal profiling, it is possible to detect a shift in the discussion in the fall-out from the Turnbull implosion. Having seen the failure of what was supposed to be a popular politician, there is now a sense in the party and the media that the problem is more than just a need for a popular leader, but a new set of ‘values’.

It’s unlikely to make things better. One sign of this shift in thinking is the fact that the media, and apparently some in the Liberal party, are now seriously considering the one politician who polled worse than Turnbull in the last Newspoll, Tony Abbott. He is supposed to be coming out with a book in a couple of weeks, Battle Lines, which is meant to set out his values coming from somewhere between his own personal experiences and God, but with the electorate probably not getting much of a look in.

There is only one political/ideological/theological question the Liberals need to answer at the moment, what does business want? The answer is easy. Hand-outs please, and who has the money?

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Monday, 6 July 2009.

Filed under Tactics

Tags: , , ,


6 responses to “The last things they need are ideas – an update”

  1. thewetmale on 6th July 2009 1:28 pm

    “If Albanese was playing with the minds of the Liberals when he compared Turnbull to Latham, he must have also been playing the media as well.”

    Way Ahead of ya:-) http://www.pipingshrike.com/2009/06/rudd%e2%80%99s-more-like-latham-than-turnbull.html/comment-page-1#comment-823

  2. Ad astra on 6th July 2009 6:21 pm

    It really is an awful predicament for the Liberals. Today’s Essential Poll shows that the Coalition is steadily slipping behind, Turnbull is considered the best person to lead the Opposition by only 13%, (the same as in Septemner 2008 just before he took over from Nelson) behind Hockey at 17%, and the Liberal Party is rated well behind Labor on almost every parameter, including ‘Has good team of leaders’ Labor 60%, Liberal 29%. Read the whole sorry story: http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2009/07/06/essential-report-positive-economic-outlook-edition/#more-5245

  3. The Piping Shrike on 6th July 2009 8:17 pm

    TWM, knew I got the idea from somewhere!

    AA, It’s striking from the Essential Research how half think the economy will get better but still 56% are concerned about losing their jobs.

    Nice to see Tony Abbott has rocketed from 4% to, er, 7%. Game on!

  4. thewetmale on 6th July 2009 11:37 pm

    4% – 7%, and who said Glen Milne isn’t a king maker. John Hartigan was right, bloggers were wrong, this debate is officially over.

  5. nobby on 7th July 2009 5:17 pm

    how long before they drain the formaldehyde from the old master,give him a zap with the electrodes and hey presto,a rodent led recovery

  6. The Piping Shrike on 7th July 2009 6:39 pm

    It would be a boon for bloggers.

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