Brendan Nelson may have been an idiot, but as opposition leader he was a mostly harmless idiot. And he was our idiot. The peoples' idiot. He put on his show, and we enjoyed it, most of the time. Brendan Nelson was fun as opposition leader.
Malcolm Turnbull is no fun.
No fun at all.
And he killed Brendan. The bastard. Paul Sheehan follows the blood stains :
...a picture of political bastardry, animosity and aggression. I now understand why Dr Brendan Nelson took what at the time appeared to be a dangerous and illogical decision to open up his leadership position to a vote less than 10 months after becoming his party's leader. He couldn't take the pressure any more. And the pressure was unrelenting.
Turnbull carved a big X on Brendan's forehead, the very first day of Brendan's reign :
Turnbull walked up to Nelson and gave him a negative review of his first performance as leader. Soon after, unable to contain himself, Turnbull walked into Nelson's office and dressed him down in front of his wife and staff. Nelson was stunned. So were his staff.
Now that's downright nasty, and no accident. Turnbull wanted to shatter Brendan, he wanted to fuck with his mind.
The denigration soon spread. Turnbull told a member of Nelson's staff that his boss was "hopeless". He told journalists the same thing. It became common knowledge in the press gallery that Turnbull's attitude toward Nelson was dismissive and corrosive, a corrosion which built up the pressure and ate into Nelson's credibility in the press gallery as his opinion polling numbers floundered.
Turnbull holds very good, very grand parties to which he invites his friendly media. And they love him for it.
The state of chaos that was the Liberal Party for most of this year has subsided, somewhat, with the completion of Turnbull's all but unprecedented four year rise to the top of conservative politics in Australia. Well, liberal-Green-Conservative politics. Turnbull's invention.
What the fuck do they stand for now, anyway? Turnbull wants to bail out the banks, and the front bench wears its newfound greenism unconvincingly, uncomfortably. They champion The Greens years long demands for increases to the pension, and more investment in new, alternative energy. Nobody in the Liberal Party wails about how awesome the Iraq War has turned out for everyone involved, including all those dead Iraqis, like Alexander Downer did. Now the free market is viciously mauling the poor yet again, with far more bloodshed to come, everyone wants to be a socialist.
As of now the Liberal Party is not a political movement or a political philosophy but, apart from a band of idealists, a collective of opportunists masquerading as a cause. The deeper you go, the less you find.
Forever the optimist.