Thursday, May 22, 2008

Nelson's Liberals Are The Spinal Tap Of Australian Politics

Shock : Real Questions On Real Issues From The Opposition

While opposition leader Brendan Nelson was trying to rally the weight of the Rudd government to save a rural post office yesterday, opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull set about finally dismantling some of the whirling flurry of Rudd rhetoric :

...what we got from the shadow treasurer was something quite novel: a cogent and intelligent critique of the Rudd Government's first budget, coupled with a vigorous defence of the Liberal tradition.

The Rudd Government's first budget isn't bulletproof, by any means - the only reason it might have seemed a bit that way over the past 10 days is that the Opposition has been firing dum-dums directly into its own feet.

But Mr Turnbull yesterday managed to articulate some of the uneasy questions raised by last week's budget, with none of the mawkish sentiment of a Nelson oration.

Questions like: How can a government on one hand claim that climate change is our greatest challenge, then on the other hand remain silent about the budgetary impact of an emissions trading scheme, while simultaneously penalising the solar energy industry?

How can a government carry on about our crumbling public hospital system, while simultaneously making money by tipping hundreds of thousands of new patients into it?

There must be dozens of other simple and powerful questions like these the Turnbull-led opposition (or Nelson led opposition if you insist on dwelling in fantasy) can trumpet to finally get some momentum back on their side. There's a fair bit of confusion for many people on what the first Rudd government budget means for them, and now the Liberals have an opportunity to ramp up the pressure.

Well, maybe. If they can stop stabbing each other in the back. When federal Parliament staff take an inventory of the dining rooms' cutlery, they will only have to take a look at Nelson's spine to find most of the missing sharper implements.

Nelson is probably more unpopular now in his own party than he is with larger Australia. And while Nelson may now be 70% cutlery steel, Turnbull is the focus of bizarre suspicion from within his own ranks. Incredibly, a conspiracy is gaining ground among die-hard Liberals (well, some Andrew Bolt readers anyway, which makes up a fair bit of the Liberals support base, those who aren't Liberal staffers anyway) that Turnbull is a Labor double agent, bent on destroying the big Ls from within. Brilliantly amusing.

Up until Turnbull's sweat-heavy but effective speech yesterday, which should mark a turnaround in political fortune, the Liberals had been far too busy showing why they are the Spinal Tap of federal politics. They were once big, but they've fallen on hard times, the reviews of their new product is mostly terrible (two words : Shit Sandwich) and constant touring (by Nelson) is making them only look more pathetic and out of vogue, regardless of the size of their Stonehenge monument or the number of dwarves they have dancing around it.

And no, I have no idea what that last reference least, not yet.