Sep 122007

It seems this morning’s Liberal partyroom meeting was a non-event as some pundits predicted it might be.

JWH made his statement yesterday during the doorstop with the Canadian PM, and all opposition seems to have wilted at the very thought of taking on the septuagenarian politician. Murdering one’s grandfather it might have felt like, but perhaps it’s an opportunity the Liberal Party will rue missing. Even Wilson Tuckey, that arch nutcake from WA, was retiscent to say just what he’d be mooting at this morning’s meeting
Listening to John Hewson on Radio National this morning extolling the virtues of the PM as the one and only person capable of leading the party into, and perhaps even still winning, the coming election, was clearly an unpaid advertisement on behalf of the NSW Liberal party machine. I found the situation incongruous as Hewson, a self-declared Howard detractor, simply couldn’t say enough in the short time allowed by the Breakfast Show host, Fran Kelly. I’ll not be at all surprised to see and hear Hewson in other places today doing precisely the same, over & over. It’s clearly become an imperative for the party to pour as much oil on these politically troubled waters as possible.
While 99% of the Coalition cabinet are now openly effusive in their support of JWH, even louder is the deafening silence from Peter Costello. Would he step into the breach if one were created? I think not. Why climb aboard a bomb just as it’s about to be released for the fall? Much better to be the one to pick up the pieces after the explosion.
Given that public opinion holds even half-way true, Labor looks destined to form the next government for this country. Whether they do a good job of it, we’ll find out as the future unravels. What interests me is the fate of the coalition parties post-election. Assuming a loss, landslide or not, Howard will be gone. Will Vaile still be around and will the Nationals manage to maintain current numbers without fading even more around the edges? Will the Liberal Party rest easy with Costello at the helm? Difficult to know right now, but in reality, who else do they have? Downer? Abbott? Brough? Nelson? Turnbull? Are any of them capable of riding the tiger without being eaten by it? Judging by the distinct lack of ticker displayed over the past week, it seems unlikely. Turnbull’s the new kid, Downer’s too damn old/arrogant/past history, Abbott’s a rabbit in the headlights, Brough is barely blooded on the front bench, let alone a leader, and Nelson has clearly displayed his political ineptitude over the Iraq-oil admission.
Costello is really all they have and he’s not a Howardian liberal by any stretch. Can he, or will he continue on with Howardian policies? I don’t think so somehow. No matter how you slice it, the post election period will be a very interesting period from a political point of view. Now, if only we can get there.

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