Machiavelli says that fortune is like a woman (“she favours the bold”). Well it seems that fortune is a bit of a backstabbing so-and-so if your name is Malcolm Turnbull. After smiling on him throughout his entire professional career, she has utterly abandoned him this week.
I mean she’s had it in for Malcolm for months. Supposing there was such a thing as a “Premature Eulogy Index”, measuring blogs and columns like this one, declaring that a political figure was “dead” and dissecting their history. Malcolm’s PEI has been steadily rising and has spiked exponentially this week.
I’m not really sure what to make of it. In the past I’ve basically said he needed a wise old head to temper his boldness. Now I’d add that he needed to adopt a useful differentiating point to distinguish him from Kevin Rudd in the public’s eye. For instance, he might have adopted a carbon tax approach instead of cap & trade. He’d have been clearly different without ceding ground on the overall narrative of taking action.
Or maybe it never mattered. About a year ago Possum of Pollytics fame trotted out a series of graphs to demonstrate that primary votes follow the approval rating of the Prime Minister. No matter how popular or unpopular the Opposition Leader is, he or she lives and dies on the primary vote, and the primary vote follows the PM. Kevin Rudd is just too popular. Case closed.
And speaking of our Dear Leader, he’s spoiled for choice. Does he call a snap election to capitalise on the turmoil11. Just in Case: Pity the poor camera crew who will be standing guard outside the gates of Government House for the rest of the week. [?]? Or does he wait until his CPRS legislation founders in the Senate and then go for the double dissolution brass ring? I imagine that even now the old warhorses and the young turks are busily thrashing it out.
In any case, Malcolm has done the political class a great service by giving them something novel to talk about.