Just a few days ago I sat with several of my left-of-centre brethren, discussing the state of play in Federal Politics. The general view was that Abbott is a good thing because he will not get elected. This optimism overestimates the polity as well as underestimating the man, who is clearly cunning, wiley, vicious, and not-stupid (I can't write that in the positive, I just can't).
And contrary to the painting of him as an ambition in search of policy, while this may be true at the level of fine detail he has clearly (as confirmed by Four Corners' unnerving portrait of the punching psychopath last night) held an immovable, focused hatred of most things socially progressive for decades.
And, while we're at it, Turnbull, who could just as easily have ended up in a different party, and who was not afraid of spineless expediency when it suited, was not the conviction-driven Judy to Abbott's poll-driven Punch. It is clear, based on the policy positions that have been adopted by the Liberal Party since the previous Malcolm left, that Abbott is the one in the party that complements his ideology.
All of which is an aside from my point(s). Despite disbelief on my side of politics, and probably true centrist liberals as well, the key bits of the polity, the people whose votes matter, are not as sensitive to small-minded meanness as we might like. They've shown that a cunning, flagrantly political animal with a mean streak and one foot firmly planted in the '50s can in fact embody all of the traits required for a successful and protracted streak in office.
I hope he's their Latham, as many predict. I just think my comrades should never, ever perform either of the acts of over-and-under estimation I've discussed here. Not in This Country. Not ever.
A new New Deal? - I’ll be talking to the Fabian Society in Melbourne on Wednesday night, looking at the failure of neoliberalism and options for a new “New Deal”.
7 hours ago