23 September 2010

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.


  1. You need another little tick box for "Fuck, I hope your right".

  2. Everything Abbott said about the deal yesterday was correct, which only shows what a fool he was to make the deal in the first place.

    Pairing of any kind has always been an informal arrangement. It's a private matter of "I'll cover your arse if you cover mine." You don't need expert constitutional advice to learn that.

    The speaker doesn't vote. Deal with it.

  3. Abbott so reminds me of a bloke in the pub at 11.30pm, with a skinful, who wants to beat everybody up, but is not quite so why.

    A few people were cheering him earlier in the evening when got into a stoush. But now even his supporters are embarrassed as he keeps swinging away at thin air.

    "Come on...come on....I'll take you...what are ya scared?"

    Pitiful really.

  4. "The Speaker deal is not the issue that will define Abbott as a piker - it's just Canberra insider stuff."

    What I am noticing is that when Windsor or Oakeshott calls Tony out on this crap, it actually cuts through and has resonance.

    They have the magic ability not to talk crap and spin. The ALP needs to learn a lesson from these guys.

    I am beginning to feel like Abbott will provide an Opposition to Gillard But Windsor and Oakeshott will provide an opposition to Abbott.

    And meanwhile Turnbull gets to swan around having fun.

  5. Bill, Mr D - agreed. Abbott is not cutting through any more.

    Tim - it's the same mistake the Libs have made in five states: one alternative to a minority Labor government is a Liberal government, but another option is also a majority Labor government. I am stunned that nobody at all in the Coalition has realised that.

  6. derrida derider24/9/10 3:15 pm

    It looks as though Abbot has achieved the worst possible outcome here - he's effectively locked in a 2 seat majority for the government while highlighting a split within his own ranks.

    It was murderous folly to walk away from the deal while he had people unhappy with him and his behaviour in his own party - the governmet had little trouble finding a defector.

  7. Abbott praises everyone before the attack. He smiles, offers backing, appears onside gets everyone off balance then does what he likes. Turnbull was fighting some one else when abbott attacked. The hope is that the half of the libs who voted against him do have some decency and stop the prick.

  8. dd: and, he's vindicated the decisions of Windsor and Oakeshott not to trust him with government. For all their failings, those guys are better politicians than he is.