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Canberra watch: 'shit happens' « Previous | |Next »
July 21, 2007

It's hard not to avoid the judgment that Howard's time has come. Twilight is falling, if not fallen. The public is waiting for Howard to move on, and whilst they do, the Coalition is starting to unravel. Or is 'starting to bleed' from the political wounds more appropriate?

As Tony Abbott says "shit happens". It is happening this time, for sure. The "shit happening" signifies a political end game for Howard's version of conservatism. Newspoll indicates that the Howard Government has suffered a dramatic slump in support among young Australians (up to age 34).The Coalition has just 30 per cent of these votes, a drop of 10 percentage points. And Work Choices is continuing to bite against Howard.


As Keating once said the dogs bark and the caravan moves on. Though Howard has pushed the one nation xenophobe button hard, the caravan moves on. The Coalition dogs bark about "working families in Australia have never been better off" and the caravan moves on. So we have Tony Abbott positing the existence of "parallel universes", whilst others postulate voter disinterest. The caravan has moved on.

Well, there must be a bit of anger and frustration amongst Howard colleagues at the latest self-inflicted wound from Costello's remarks. The smiles of unity and confidence--'we are getting on with governing the nation'--are political masks. Behind the masks the emotional crazies must be forming in the unconscious of some of the Liberals, given the reality of the persistently bad polls.

They are being mugged by reality in the twilight zone. That is the time the dogs come come out to hunt is it not? So who is hunting who?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:52 AM | | Comments (26)


so i'll write his political obit:

"after a brilliantly successful career culminating in 11 years at the top, johnny retired to a comfortable pension and a gold travel pass. best of all, he had the satisfaction of knowing that his successor would follow his lead in the war against terror, the gst, and most of his ir reforms."

"animal farm" ended with: "-they looked the same."

people read orwell, but they don't realize he was talking about them.

Tone saying shit happens on television was one of the real milestones of this campaign. Him being asked about it and repeating it was another.

Not sure whether to read it as an admission of defeat or an appeal to the youth vote.

I agree. Abbott's "shit happens" is a significant political moment in the political theatre.

As to what the event signifies, well, for me it's a peep into the crazies behind the grinning political mask. The senior Liberal Ministers must be obsessed with the Rudd/Gillard ascendancy.They realize that Howard's dominance is written on yesterdays papers.

All the leadership talk this close to an election is an another slip of the smiling mask. As Margaret Thatcher once remarked treachery walks the long corridors of power wearing a smiling mask.

The treacherous ones are no drunken angels. They are on the other side.

well your's is a kinder obituary than Spooner's scrap heap one. Still, commenting this way about the Howard Government is an expression of the shock of the new.

I think it signifies that Abbott's throwing his hat into the ring as a potential leader too.

Abbott and that's marvelous stuff.

So Tony Abbott is doing more than being the appointed Coalition point man in troubled times? He is actually making a play to replace Howard? Or to be deputy instead of Nelson or Downer?

If this is plausible- (ie., a leadership spill is in the early stages of emergence),then that's another nail working loose from the ship's planks. More manning of the pumps is then required. Who is going to man the pumps. Hockey? Turnbull??

SS Coalition has been sailing in troubled waters for the last week or so.

I think Abbott has designs on himself being there so who knows. He is a hard worker and the fact that Health is not big on the agenda speaks well for him.
I have been conducting a poll with women today.
The Question: You are in a room with Costello, Nelson, Turnbull , Downer, Abbott and Hockey. You must sleep with one of them to leave. Which one do you choose?
Tony Abbott is miles in front.

what were the reasons for Tony Abbott being miles in front in the Liberal Party sex stakes? More physically attractive? More of a person than a political machine or operator? A softer portfolio? Tells the truth--'this is how it is --- more?

It would be wonderful if Tony Abbott replaced Howard as leader. It would guarantee the Libs a loooong spell in opposition.

Once Howard goes - and if he wins another election I don't expect it to be any time soon - the Libs will be in for an extended period of instability. Too many of them have spent 11 years marking time, all that pent-up ambition will surface and none of the contenders to take over has the capacity to manage the situation.

Remember this is the mob who thought the next-best bets after Howard were Downer and Bronwyn Bishop, back in the opposition days ... and a lot of those MPs are still around.

on your realistic scenario the Liberal party will shift to the Right --deeply religious conservative--- and so disconnected to the centre. It will be run out of NSW by the Dave Clarke crowd supported by the Nick Minchin wing in SA. Both factions are working to drive the moderates out as fast as they can go.

There endth Menzies ' conception of the Liberal Party as a broad Church.

Well, I must admit of all the people asked all had to think hard about it. There was no easy choice. It would seem that all are void of sexuality in womens eyes and Abbott was simply the lesser of all evils.
The discussion followed of Rudd's "Sex Power" and he won hands down over Abbott, Howard and Costello.
Rudd also was the choice of Gay men and thats a very important stat I would think.
And still Rudd is nowhere near the dizzy heights of Sex Power that Keating had.
Now if they were all wearing Akubra's the numbers may of been different.

the consensus amongst the Canberra Press Gallery is that the electorate has stopped listening to Howard. That means lots of fangs being used to tear people down to get to the top job.

The night of the long knives approaches. I can smell the blood on the tracks. My nostrils are quivering.

I'm not sure a sexy poll is the right kind of poll to do. What is needed is one about who is the most tough, cunning and obdurate assassin.

What is the fashion in knives in assassin's knives these days? Do you know?

You would have to ask Nan about that. She appears to have her Rambo gear on.

It's pretty clear why Howard does not invite Costello to the Lodge for dinner. Too many knives lying around.

I love blood on the tracks in political theatre. It expresses the tragic. There hasn't been very much good tragedy of late. We need to get back to the classical Greeks.

A good assassination is cathartic. It cleanses politics. The Howard Government is in need of a good cleansing.

A very Aristotelian post, Nan.
Are you thinking of something along the lines of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra?
Never truly "saw" Janet Howard 'til last night's news and venom-laden snub to Costello's missus.
Do any of you remember a Brit series with Ian Richardson; "House of Cards", a black comedy populated by spin doctors, perverts and idiots, where a appalling Macbeth-like wolf-couple engineer a coup to Ten Downing Street itself?
Thinking on, Howard was said to be fond of the 19th century writer Trollope.
After watching the sly BBC series about the cynical wheeler-dealer Melmotte, played by David Suchet of Hercule Poirot fame, have not the slightest doubt of Howard's role model in life

Yes it was a fabulous snub though wasnt it.
What! Whos that behind me! Woops missed one.

Nan, yes I agree but I think Rudd would look better in a Toga.

the House of Cards series captures the grab for powe. As the BBC blurb says:

he defines menace and cold cunning with his portrayal of the statesman who will stop at nothing and no-one in order to achieve the office of Prime Minister, but Richardson's brilliance lies in his ability to make Urquhart simultaneously loathsome and likeable. The audience may be repelled by his ruthlessness, but his wit, coolness, preening intelligence and conspiratorial asides to camera combine to make this minister a strangely charismatic monster.

Howard's charisma is the ordinary. It masks the ruthlessness in his retaining power.

who does Rudd model himself on?

For Mark Latham the model would be that of Brutus.


yes this version It captures the interplay of sex and power that pulsates and throbs though Canberra and gets your adrenalin flowing sand the nostrils quivering.


Am actually in awe of Les at the mo. this is the third genuinely acute observation he has made in about twenty four hours. Pass us the spinach , mate!
I thought much the same thing. Something Epicurean from about the time of Nero, eg Ovid or something the like?
Nan, behave yourself!
Gary, the Brits do this sort of stuff beautifully, but the well has dryed up lately.

When you can walk on this rice paper and not leave a mark. Then it will be time for you to leave this Blog, Grasshopper

Something has been jangling about in a remote recess of my mind for days now and have finally nailed it.
It's the business about "parallel universes". Abbott appears to posit a breathtaking new cosmological theory to shame even Pythagoras himself, as to width, depth and breadth of conjecture and imagination.
"Rerum Novarum" Indeed!
Do the
Monsignors know yet?
Off to the Office of the Inquistion Star Chamber!
How possibly could BOTH universes be served of the "fixed stars", and that the "heav'nly bodies" including the sun that orbit this flat earth ( as God Almighty Himself decreed't! ).
Too much of the Cardinal's red wine and esoteric talk, or just something he's taken to smoking.
BTW, on the subject of "smoking", I'll have some of Ken Lovell's gear, too.
Don't we remember? No one gave dreary ideological zealot Howard a snowflake's hope in hell either, until he got there.
The term "nutwig" goes with the job description, from what I've seen over the years.

Hmmm interesting! So what you are saying is that if we can pick up TV channels from the other dimensions we wont have to pay for them?
Or are you saying that Costello suggests that as these TV channels do then exist in our dimension when they arrive at our televisions that they can then be taxed?

well it must be parallel universes as the Howard ministers keep on going on about the great properous times we are all experiencing, when ordinary people are talking about rising cost of living, housing stress, and being unable to make ends meet.