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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Costello speaks « Previous | |Next »
September 11, 2008

So Costello affirms what we already know. He is just not interested in leadership of the ragtag Liberal Party. His position has not changed since the day after the 2007 election when he renounced any claim to the party's leadership and signalled that he was planning to leave politics. He says:

I've got a few things that I'm working on but my position as a backbencher is quite separate from any return to the leadership. I'll continue to serve my constituents and if I get to the point where I feel I'm no longer able to do that as well as I want, I'll make an announcement then. But at the moment I'm very happy serving my constituency. But I'm just a backbencher.

So much for The Australian's draft Costello campaign that was grounded on inside knowledge.

MoirLibsleadership.jpg Moir

That campaign was all built on thin air. This whole affair says a lot about the political commentary in the Australian media. Most of it is empty speculation that borders on gossip that pretends to have the inside information on what is really happening. I doubt if the media will reflect on their performance on this issue, since self-reflection is not part of their ethos. Even when the political commentary has been fantasy built around a conspiracy theory.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:10 AM | | Comments (9)


Costello never had the numbers to contest the leadership. Period. What was the conspiracy theory?

Annabel Crabbe has a good account of the Costello conspiracy theory:

Costello never intended to retire at all; that his announcement last November was a strategy, giving him cover and a chance to scribble out his memoirs while some other poor boob bumbled into the leadership and got peppered with duck-shot for a bit.

According to this theory, Costello's close buddies have been in on the scam all along, honour-bound to insist that as far as they knew, Costello was planning to leave as promised, and never breathing a word about the exciting secret plan.

Poor Liberals.

so much for the most valuable role of journalism in a democracy being to peek behind closed doors so as to keep a watchful eye on politics and power.

That watchful eye has been replaced by fantasy, speculation, and gossip about celebrities.

I wonder if Costello's political memoirs will address the way that he increased government spending while the economy was booming? Or will he gloss over this part of his economic management that resulted in inflation and rising unemployment caused by rising interest rates to squeeze inflation?

My guess is the latter. He will not acknowledge that tax cut cuts + big spend was bad fiscal policy during the boom time when the economy was at full capacity.

From a pop culture point of view, the Costello conspiracy media invention has been pretty remarkable. It successfully fuelled speculation, forced action and destabilised politics. It's had some very real consequences in the meanwhile, like neither leader being able to get their messages through.

What's the bet it's not over yet? There will still be people saying 'he only said he won't challenge, what if the job's offered?'

it is more likely that the Liberal leadership battle between Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull becomes centre stage now that the Liberals have accepted that Peter Costello is not a contender.

Still Costello staying in Parliament on the backbench until he is ready to go must make some senior Liberals rather uneasy. Tough. Costello doesn't owe them anything much.

Actually quite crude the way the MUPpets and Costello hijacked the democratic process for such ignoble purposes.
That child could have PM of our country.

Agreed Gary. Now that Abbott has finally got the message the Turnbull/Nelson thing will be on. Is, in fact.

It's true Costello doesn't owe them much, but there's a bit of a conflict in his talking about doing his duty and representing the people of Higgins, while stuffing about with what oppositions are ideally supposed to do in our system. Which is the greater duty, given that Higgins will go to another Liberal anyway?

Well, Costello is just a backbencher these days with the freedom to do his own thing. It's the Liberal front bench that has the problem in doing what oppositions are supposed to do.