Saturday, October 10, 2009

Laurie Oakes : Hark, Hear The Turnbull Death Rattle

Brendan "Pensioners Eat Cheap Soup! Soup!" Nelson must have to steer clear of most newspapers and TV news these days, lest he risk choking to death on karma laughter.

Laurie Oakes explains why :
Now that Joe Hockey has indicated he would not leave the party in the lurch should Turnbull's leadership become untenable, you can hear the death rattle. No matter what he does, the muttering among Liberal MPs becomes increasingly ominous and the erosion of his authority gathers pace.

The public sees an Opposition racked by internal brawling and a leader lurching from crisis to crisis, so the polls get worse and Turnbull's position deteriorates further. The accepted wisdom is that the Coalition has brought all this on itself through a lack of discipline and Turnbull's ineptitude.

But credit where it is due. Turnbull and the Opposition would not have got into such a disastrous position without a great deal of help from Kevin Rudd.

Rudd has played clever and ruthless politics. Wedge politics. And he learned how to do it from an expert.

John Howard made an art form of using issues such as asylum seekers to divide the Labor Party. Climate change is for Rudd what Tampa and "children overboard" were for Howard. He has used the emissions trading scheme legislation as a wedge to open up a deep ideological fault line in the Coalition.

The only valid reason for Rudd's insistence that the ETS Bill must be passed before the United Nations Copenhagen climate change conference in December is a political one - to wedge his opponents. And the strategy has been spectacularly successful.
Rudd long ago refined the Divide & Inflame techniques used so effectively by John Howard. The prime minister now does pretty much the same thing to Turnbull, month in, month out, that he did to Howard for the entire year leading up to the 2007 elections.

Rudd promised to fuck with the minds of the Liberal Party when he became the Labor opposition leader. Becoming prime minister only meant he got to have more fun breaking their spirit, and sowing confusion and paranoia amongst their ranks. So much so, the Liberal diehards are pulling away, distancing themselves, and have taken to claiming they are "Conservatives" instead of Liberals.