Grow a pair
Bastardry is one thing, but self-defeating bastardry is something else. All of this stuff about pairing the Speaker is so much politico-journalistic wank, but this whole episode shows how determined Tony Abbott is to pike it.
Going back on the Speaker deal means that Tony Abbott loses the core of the image he's spent his career creating. Almost half the country's voters see Tony Abbott as a straight shooter, a man who calls it as it is, a man who is as good as his word - which is why they voted for him over Labor. It's one thing to hip-and-shoulder Rob Oakeshott, but to repudiate a done deal unilaterally makes you look like just another dodgy politician, someone who says one thing and does another.
You can bet that any pairing arrangement would evaporate at 3am on a cold Thursday morning in Canberra - Abbott would force a division over some minor bill, half Labor's people wouldn't turn up but all the Coalition would, there'd be an ambush and all of a sudden we're off to the polls again. It is best that this deal falls apart sooner rather than later (well, better for everyone but Abbott - he just looks like a man who's blown it early rather than his self-image of a menacing and wily strategist with an ace up his sleeve. He reminds me of Brave Sir Robin:
When Kevin Rudd went back on climate change he gave away the core of his image in much the same way. True, plenty of politicians have achieved bugger-all about climate change, and for all his activity Rudd was just another one. For Rudd however, going back on climate change was the end of him.
The Speaker deal is not the issue that will define Abbott as a piker - it's just Canberra insider stuff. It is, however, the precursor to another issue in which Abbott will box clever and send the Liberal vote into freefall. I don't know what it is either, but there'll be no saving Abbott when it comes.
Harry Jenkins has been a pissant mediocrity as Speaker, another fool deaf in his left ear. He's only there because his father was Speaker, and he was a non-entity too - Bob Halvorsen without the substance. For Abbott to praise Jenkins Jr and have him continue in office is yet another example that he doesn't get the new political environment of the 43rd Parliament and can't make it work to his advantage. He'll never be Prime Minister.