It’s a great flick if you’re into war-spy thriller stories. A true story, just as Peter Costello’s story is a true story. Certainly not the partisan fairy tale spun by George Brandis.
The similarities are remarkably similar though. The anonymous corpse is played by Costello. The part played by Clifton Webb in the movie could be easily portrayed by Malcolm Turnbull (up to a point, let’s not get too carried away). Lt Commander Montague (Webb) lived in trepidation that his ruse of the corpse of bogus British Major William Martin, a Royal Marine courier, would be uncovered as a hoax by the Germans, destroying the allied plan to distract the Germans away from an allied landing on Sicily. Well, Turnbull has been worried that the corpse of Costello would breathe again, but yesterday, the Australian public were relieved to find that Costello’s own ruse had been successful. It’s a very convoluted tale.
As is so often common in politics, the eulogies flowed yesterday in the House, and again today in print. Tony Abbott is disappointed, if not secretly heart-broken. He may well be the only remaining realist left in Conservative ranks. There’s no possible way Turnbull will ever lead them out of their self-imposed wilderness. Howard, in his inimitable style, was underwhelming in his statement, deigning to say what a wonderful Treasurer – read sucker – Costello had been, and taking the opportunity as he’d always done to pontificate about the brilliant job he’d done and that every Liberal Party member still capable of interjections should remember their part in not performing a Brutus on him with pride.
It’s fairly plain, and not to mention amusing, that Brandis doesn’t think a whole lot of Howard, but then we all knew that. Wasn’t he the mutterer of the ‘lying rodent’ quip? He claims he’s not a close Costello confidante either, and why would anyone want George Brandis as a pillow whisperer? Yet he waxes lyrical about Smirkey Pete’s possibilities, which thankfully the Australian public will never now have to imagine.
In short, Brandis’s opinion piece is much less than an opinion, simply a piece of partisan political pap, using the opportunity of Costello’s death throes to spit over his corpse toward the government benches, as only Brandis can do. I’m left wondering why there is such a dearth of colleagues all coming out with their own faint praise, if indeed Costello was the best PM this country never had.