Friday, May 15, 2009

Budget Reply Fail - Malcolm on the outer

There was something a bit sad about watching Turnbull's reply. The dignity of a man who knows so many eyes are on his back, keeping his shoulders squared and an earnest smile on his face. The speech unfolded, nothing happened, no great counterpunch emerged, the return deficit figure was avoided, and he descended into hyperbole about mountains of debt and some tangled, inarticulate metaphor about reaching back down to the top of the mountain.

Back down to the top? I think I know what he meant, but Barry Jones' spaghetti plate comes to mind.

In the particular, his suggestions weren't really that bad. But didn't he watch the incredible dumbing down of debate that worked for Howard, before thinking discussion of the finer details of bankruptcy laws would be a political hit?

Aside from Brutus, analogies might include Hewson, too honest, nice, technical and liberal for the bonnet-thumpers who delivered victory for Howard.

Barwick? Brilliance in a technical, conservative profession where clean-cut men in dark suits use bombast and pomposity to get their way does not automatically translate into political success.

Keating? Big personas with polish and gravitas don't cut it with Aussies the way sneering, lisping suburban solicitors or beer-gagging, shagging, crying blokes do.

I don't know. His challenge now is not to stay leader, it's to find something useful to do with his brain and clout, ideally one that actually embodies liberalism.

3 comments:

Ann oDyne said...

Hewson 'nice' ?

nice for a pollie maybe, but not a nice husband when he decided he had outgrown the mother of his children, the woman who married him when he was nobody; and not nice when he posed with those children and with ice blonde Ca-Ro-Line the merchant banker, and the caption read 'Hewson family'.
and Ca Ro Line moved on when he remained a nobody, despite his apparent nice-ness.

sorry.

F.G. Marshall-Stacks said...

get on the topic oDyne - this is a Turnbull post.
Malcolm already has the blonde career-woman, so he is smarter than Hewson.
I don't mind him at all actually.
He went up against Kerry Packer, and Margaret Thatcher's MI5.
If I was in his electorate ... I might vote Liberal for the first time.

JesstaG said...

I attended the Reply lunch the following day (long story but suffice to say I didn't realise it was a Lib Party fundraiser) and was appalled at what I heard.

As his speech (admittedly to a heavily partisan crowd) was reaching its emotional crescendo he locked on to his theme of cultural warfare in the private health insurance debate to declare: 'the Labor Party hates choice, the Labor Party hates freedom'. I had to double-take to convince myself that dubya hadn't snuck into the room to take the podium while I was distracted biting my lip.

FG I am in Malcolm's electorate and Armagnac I agree that he is a very bright and largely decent person - I thought he was the best thing to come out of the Liberal Party since Fraser rediscovered his conscience. To see him devouring himself in the name of the supposed 'broad church' of that party is rather disappointing.