Malcolm Shaking Off the Past – What Might the Punters Think?

You’re all going to read a lot of stuff about the maybe, on / off Liberal Spill this weekend into next week. There’s going to a whole lot more very serious stuff by insiders, where there will be soundings, insider stories, senior ministers, junior blah blahs quoted.  There will also be the creative outsiders, like Buzzfeed, who will be entertaining with their crazy crazy gifs and sourcing.

Not me, not now. I’m asking the question, though, what might the punters think of a new Government where Malcolm Turnbull gets back in the big chair?  For guidance, I am seeking the soundings of Taylor Swift.

But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music
In my mind
Saying, “It’s gonna be alright.”
Throughout 2014, like Taylor Swift, Malcolm wasn’t getting the airplay on Serious radio – he was getting a bit of the hilarity of having to explain the stupidity of the downgraded NBN. Occasionally, though, we got a glimpse of Malcolm cruising along to his own beat, saying things were alright. He was playing the game, keeping himself nice and quiet, but still getting in gentle barbs every so often.
‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
This has maybe been Malcolm’s refrain since being punted by the right wing climate denialist cabal led by chief anti-environment player Nick Minchin.  One would hope so, anyway, considering the number of foolish denialists there are in the Liberal Government. Not the party, the government.   The haters will come again out of their shadows, with the Nationals coming out and threatening that the Coalition agreement might be no more. Which won’t happen because who are the Nationals without the Liberals?  The Nationals stopped thinking for themselves federally since the days of Black Jack McEwen, when this happened:
Following Holt’s death, McEwen was appointed caretaker prime minister on 19 December 1967. McMahon was a leading aspirant for the Liberal Party leadership and therefore the prime ministership, but McEwen told him bluntly: ‘Bill, I won’t serve under you . . . because I don’t trust you’. McMahon withdrew, and (Sir) John Gorton succeeded McEwen as prime minister on 10 January 1968.
Can’t imagine Truss doing anything like that, especially as their power is continuing to wane, especially in the light of the limp rolling over on the issue of CSG, which is an issue far bigger in the regional areas than you’ll read about in Canberra focused stories, as we can see from this possibly dismissive tweet from Latika Bourke about Turnbull being asked about CSG in Wyong this week:
Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 12.56.40 am
And so Malcolm has gone on, blissfully while…
Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
While Abbott has broken promises as quickly as Warwick Capper talks – both men unaware of the impact of their scattergun awkwardness – Turnbull is in such an irrelevant portfolio that he has worn little of damage wrought by the flying policy monkeys created by the dreadful budget.
I never miss a beat
I’m lightning on my feet
And that’s what they don’t see, mmm-mmm
That’s what they don’t see, mmm-mmm
I’m dancing on my own (dancing on my own)
I make the moves up as I go (moves up as I go)
And that’s what they don’t know, mmm-mmm
That’s what they don’t know, mmm-mmm
We gained a great deal about Malcolm Turnbull from Annabel Crabb’s excellent Quarterly Essay on him (worth another re-read this weekend) – not least of which is that he’s lightning on his feet and that he tends to do things his way.  As the stuff about Abbott’s Prince Philip escapades was hitting the fan, we saw this picture emerge of Turnbull, from the swish Tesla electric car factory in California
The comparison was stark and obvious – the man of the past, Abbott, giving a royal another meaningless gong, while the man of the future, Malcolm, was seen with the car of the future. Almost no media outlet seemed to pick up the clear messaging.  It brought to mind this cartoon drawn by Ted Scorfield for the Bulletin during the 1949 Federal Election campaign, comparing Chifley to Menzies:
It summed up the different pitches for the two men in that campaign, especially highlighting the role of women with the vote.  Handsome Mr. Menzies is a direct contrast to the less than appealing Chifley.  This car theme isn’t untouched in the modern era. Dave Pope in the Canberra Times did this apt cartoon some time ago.  Old car, but this time Abbott is being a child, issuing cluess discussions.
open for business ...............That brought to mind for me an image I cobbled together that could be used to symbolise Turnbull’s self-imagined rise to leadership.
 Turnbull Transition
But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop grooving
It’s like I got this music
In my mind
Saying, “It’s gonna be alright…
What does Malcolm have to offer if he does indeed win?  Let’s turn back to some Swiftian analysis and consider how people might react to Turnbull as PM.
And to the fella over there with the hella good hair
Won’t you come on over, baby? We can shake, shake, shake
All the while, Malcolm could be suggesting, but never actually saying
Hey, hey, hey
Just think while you’ve been getting down and out about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world,
You could’ve been getting down to this sick beat.
There’s the possibility that Turnbull as PM could have a number of minuses for the Liberals. He could run the risk of losing the aspirational voter in the outer suburbs who might not like his urbanity and championing of what they would call “fashionable” social issues and climate change action.  It could be argued conversely, though, that these voters could already be turning against the awkwardness of Abbott and the failure of his government to deliver on much of anything. In addition, if we look as the way Mark Bouris and John Symond have managed to find a place in the hearts of aspirational outer suburban people, we can see that wealthy inner city people can be respected for professionalism and success.  Abbott had little success before coming into politics (and not a great deal since entering) while Turnbull’s CV is well known.  The Mr. Smooth “I drive a Tesla” act we can already see from Turnbull, and it may well work, even as there will be those angry about an Abbott defeat.
There is also the issue of those voters who swing to Labor or the Greens due to a variety of Abbott’s authoritarian policies and attitudes – having Turnbull as leader may pose a concern for those in the centre, hence why we already seeing the ALP target Turnbull, who is a harder target than Abbott.  These people, though, shouldn’t be fooled by Turnbull, thinking that support for marriage equality and climate change will necessarily make him in a progressive Liberal leader. It would hard to see him, for example, oppose a new form of Work Choices.
But we shall see and the next few days unfold for Shakin Malc…
‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate (haters gonna hate)
I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Malcolm-leatherWhile for Tony, it’s hard to see him being capable of anything more than what Dave Pope has him doing – spinning the old tunes.


While Tony is repetitious, I don’t think he can adapt to the refrain of Swift.

I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off

Shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off (you’ve got to),
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off

One thought on “Malcolm Shaking Off the Past – What Might the Punters Think?

  1. John Samuel says:

    I’m not sure I entirely agree that Turnbull can change things for the LNP unless he gets a free hand with policy.

    If he doesn’t then to quote The Who: “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” (Won’t get fooled again IIRC)

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