26 August 2010

Stand up, Joe

The KOWs want party costings to be slotted into the wider context of the economy, and there's Tony Abbott playing silly buggers over Treasury. If he wants to be in government, Abbott will have to deal with Treasury at some point. Relying on the costings of some accounting firm was dodgy tactics during the election campaign but is starting to look silly afterwards (and, frankly, like some sort of warmed-over Maoism: there is no truth, only your perspective against mine).

Accountancy firms are like Treasury for those of us who aren't in government. Those who want to be in government have to shape up to Treasury and put their proposals into the forecasting mix. You can be as frustrated as you like with the KOWs, you can even resent the fact that they have slipped the surly bonds of party discipline - but the game has changed, and the smarter operators in the Liberal Party know this.

Stand up, Joe Hockey. Stand up for the Liberal Party. Stand up for economic credibility. Take the Liberal Party's figures to the Treasury and put the Liberal Party back in the game, in a way they simply aren't now and won't be the way things are going. Stonewalling didn't work for Will Hodgman and it won't work for Tony Abbott: people will turn away from the stone wall and find something else that needs doing.

Stonewalling is a non-starter, and so is dumping on the KOWs. These are the only tactics open to the so-called leader of the Liberal Party. There is only hope in action. Stand up and lead the way forward: engage with Treasury and the KOWs, rope in that non-National National from the west, and you've got a government. Only you can do it, Joe.

Abbott will never be able to lead a government. Even if you had a majority of twenty seats he'd still be shilly-shallying and ambivalent - and you didn't get a twenty-seat majority, did you, and you won't get closer than this while Abbott is still in office. Punt him, Joe. You're the only chance for a Coalition government, one with you as Prime Minister.

You wrung your hands when Howard steered the Liberal Party into the rocks in 2007: don't make the same mistake again. If you meekly back Abbott this time he'll make you do credibility-destroying stunts over the next two years, twisted by his own bitterness. When you finally get your chance at leadership Abbott, Minchin and Abetz will have so trashed the Liberal brand that it will be two terms back (and you'll be dumped after five). You know it, don't make it harder than it need be already: rip the band-aid off in one go, put Labor on the back foot just as they did by dumping Rudd.

Take on Henry and defend your costings: show him that you've read his report and that you'll give his shopping list more credibility and respect than Rudd, Gillard and Swan have or can. Show the yokel MPs what joined-up Liberal government looks like. Show everyone, for that matter. You are a better man than Abbott, so be the better man; be the person the Liberal Party needs right now, not a truculent worm like the incumbent. If your first task as PM was to win a by-election in Warringah, this need not be such a bad thing.

Don't be a Costello. Don't follow two generations of moderates into the kind of irrelevance I'm often accused of. You could be Prime Minister by the end of August - otherwise Gillard will be.

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

- William Shakespeare Julius Caesar Act IV Scene II
... but you knew that already. Go Joe. You're the Liberals' only hope, and only if you move now.


  1. vote1maxine27/8/10 8:07 am


    If Joe is the Liberals only hope, then they are a truly spent political force barely kept afloat by sycophantic MSM.

  2. I,m sorry but Joe has not got the guts or courage he will just sit there like the spinless bastard he is

  3. derrida derider31/8/10 2:01 pm

    "Take on Henry and defend your costings"

    But after an opposition scare campaign Henry's recommendations will be as popular as rat poison, whoever the opposition is. Witness the fate of the mining tax.

    And the costings are absolutely indefensible - which is exactly why they don't want to give 'em to the Treasury. As an experienced policy coster myself I can see even by the limited information given about them that they are badly fudged.

    I don't envy the bureaucrats who have to tell their potential next PM that he's deliberately misled the electorate. If Abbott had won government in his own right he would have been in a position to make such telling private, but now it will be public.

    BTW John Ryan's right - Hockey hasn't got the ticker.

  4. As far as Henry goes: the classic response is to hold another inquiry with different personnel, slightly different terms and go with the findings of that.

    There are two options with Hockey, and I think my piece works with either.

    First, they do all add up and constitute a superior economic and budgetary policy for the country. Fine: get 'em costed and stop playing silly-buggers.

    Second, they don't add up. Shirtfront Abbott and show him to be a fraud, putting at risk the prize attribute of 'responsible economic manager'.

    I think Hockey does have ticker galore. Mind you, I laughed at people who said the same about Beazley.