Gosh, I'm feeling chirpy. -- Jill Singer, So long, John.
I don't know about you, but I haven't felt this good in eleven and a half years. Hang on, it's longer than that. The feeling of outrage goes back to some time in 1993, after Jeff Kennett's win on 3 October 1992 in Victoria, when we saw the beginning of outright mean-spiritedness in government. With Kennett, the modern era of hard-right exclusionary politics officially began. What Der Jeff started then, Little Johnny Howard continued in 1996 to the present. And now that era -- some fifteen long years -- is over.
Howard's loss of his Bennelong seat in the Illiberal rout is the icing on the cake. And not just any icing on any cake, but one of those four-inch frozen tidal wave icings you see on très cher cakes sold in patisseries on Toorak Road. Indescribably delicious.
That the Illiberal Party is in chaos is totally expected. This is not really a political party, but a sort of legal mafia of self-interested hucksters who gather together to benefit themselves at the expense of the detested lower classes. It's as if their parents neglected to instruct them on the difference between right and wrong. "Go forth and take!" they were told, "giving is what socialists and communists do."
Armed only with profit-motive ideology and bereft of principles or ethics, they are unable to cope with the loss of power. They are not interested in why they lost power, only that it is no longer their personal toy.
Except for Menzies, who retired as leader, all other Illiberal leaders who have actually lost elections have been duly repudiated and despised. The treatment of past leaders of the Australian Illiberal party is strikingly similar to the way the Soviet Union dealt with theirs.
John Howard will go the same way. He may have won four elections, but that will count for nothing now. His hubris has left the party in a possibly terminal shambles.
Peter Costello's refusal to man the helm of the shipwreck is seen by his party as treasonous, but by the rest of us as either a sane move -- why lead the party in chaos when they refused to install him as leader during the high times -- or a typical desertion when the going gets tough.
Expect Alexander Downer and Philip Ruddock to join him as deserters sooner or later.
It makes sense. They were only in politics to build relationships with the corporate sector, where they are now assured of plum jobs.
Meanwhile the jockeying for Captain of the Titanic is on, with Malcolm "The self-made millionaire who sounds like a Squattocrat" Turnbull and Tony "God's favourite hit-man" Abbott, both putting their hands up. It's too much to ask that the leadership be given to Brendan "Let me embarrass Australia in Parliament and on the beaches" Nelson. In the end, they could do worse than Julie "Off with their heads" Bishop.
Sadly, Petro Georgiou has the charisma of a rutabaga. Otherwise, he would make a fine leader of what used to be the Liberal Party. He suffered almost no swing against him, and for all the right reasons.
While delightfully accurate, the opening quote from Jill Singer was a tad short. Her commentary today is one of the best. Here is more of what she has to say:
Ding dong, the witch is dead. No more lies, cover-ups, stupid wars, trashing of our environment and brutalisation of refugees.
Gosh, I'm feeling chirpy. I realise such blatant jubilation is possibly ungracious but really, can you imagine the triumphalism if Howard had got back in?
We'd never have heard the end of it. He'd have been lauded as a little Menzies and been utterly unbearable on his morning walkies, doing that silly slapping high-five thing he adopted over recent times to make himself look hip.
When confronted with bad polls John Howard faced his worried Cabinet and asked with incredulity, is it me? Yes, John it was you -- your pride, puffed-up ego, dirty tricks, profligate bribery and streak of cruelty. When your colleagues wanted to oust you you refused, on Janette's advice, to step aside. How fitting, then, that after hiding behind your wife's skirt another sheila has given you a hiding in Bennelong.
It was the behaviour of Kevin's opponents that proved most remarkable. Bribes, threats, scare tactics -- it was vintage stuff. Lest we forget, there was John Howard's rattled, worm-strangling debate performance; Alexander Downer hissing and spitting like an alley cat whenever Rudd's name was mentioned; Tony Abbott's uncharacteristic loss of control when the going got tough. They were nothing compared with Jackie Kelly and Kevin Andrews, though. Kelly's defence of her husband's bogus flyers linking Labor to terrorism was pure idiocy. And Andrews' ripping down of an opponent's election posters at a polling booth was stunningly petulant.
And, for the very first time ever, we agree with Andrew Bolt's summation of things. Libs on a long, hard road.