Thursday, 8 October 2009
People talk to me about all sorts of things – I’m not going to lie and pretend something hasn’t happened. I get sounded out about lots of things from time to time and my absolute committed loyalty is to Malcolm and to the leadership. My colleagues speak to me about a lot of things but I’m just not going down the path of engaging in this because this in itself starts bushfires.
Joe Hockey on 3AW
Well goodness, who’d a thunk it? Despite Joe’s best intentions, his sudden burst of frankness has only ended up undermining Turnbull and putting himself in contention. So no doubt producing exactly the result he wanted.
Or did he? Peter Van Onselen summed up the confusion on Lateline last night. On one hand Hockey is an old hand who knew exactly what he was doing when he suggested Liberals were actively looking for an alternative. On the other hand Hockey isn’t supposed to really want the leadership, especially now.
The unwillingness of anyone to come forward at this moment while Labor is so far ahead seems all very tactical, but is pretty well unprecedented. It is based on the assumption that the Liberals have lost the next election no matter what, and it is hard to think of a time when they were ever that pessimistic. Besides, given that the media seem to think it is the uncertainty over the leadership that is the main reason why they are behind in the polls, you would think there would be someone in the party who could think they could turn it around.
Clearly, the Liberals know better. What we are seeing is a resumption of the implosion in the party leadership that started to come to the surface in Howard’s last year, when Howard’s leadership was faltering to the point where even he was unsure he wanted to go on, but unable to be filled by the Politically Astute Former Treasurer, now doing more farewells than Dame Nellie.
After Howard’s departure, that leadership vacuum was concealed by the obliviousness of Turnbull’s ambition, which mobilised the old guard to try and block him off with Nelson before they lost control and let him have his run. The vacuum at the centre of the leadership started to come back on the first attempt to get rid of Turnbull, via the ousting of Bishop from the Treasury portfolio, which led to sniping all round. Now if Turnbull, the only one in the Liberal Party who seems to have actually wanted to lead it over the last few years, ends up going, the vacuum is likely to come back with a vengeance.
Posted by The Piping Shrike on Thursday, 8 October 2009.Filed under State of the parties