Such a frustration that womanhood alone cut no mustard with the voters, even the female ones! Couldn’t those suburban simpletons comprehend that Tony Abbott was Mr Misogynist? Evidently so, because the fools refused to recognise the danger of the man. His wife, his daughters? Just props, the priestesses sneered in their temples of received opinion, and how ruthlessly cynical of that brutal man to use them that way. If there were dissenting voices, well, they most certainly were not heard in ABC and Fairfax powder rooms. The media gals were astonished at such public indifference, possibly because their own professional ascents had been driven to one degree or another by gender-norming tokenism. Think that’s catty, to use a word of recent weeks? Well, ask yourself if a certain Michael Grattan would still be the political editor of a major media group after the long run of bum punditry his notional sister continues to accumulate?
Climate change, that presented an even greater challenge to adaptation. If the cheer squad understood correctly, Gillard was obliged to knife Rudd because his Emission Trading Scheme had become an electoral liability. Golly, she even stood on Princes Bridge with the Yarra for a backdrop and swore, swore blind, that there would be no carbon levies while she was manning, er, personing the Dispatch Box. This confused the peddlers of opinions. They had picked up the tune that it was Kevin’s fecklessness in not pushing hard enough for a Copenhagen agenda that made him unworthy. Now Gillard was saying she would not push at all. So, once again, editorials were re-written and, just when everything seemed settled, Gillard announced her carbon tax. Yet another change of position was required.
Again they managed it, but this time only just. When a boatload of illegal immigrants foundered on the rocks of Christmas Island, embarrassing questions were hushed with the admonition that it was an indecency to speak “too soon” of the factors re-animating the people-smuggling trade. It was just one of those things that happen, apparently, and that was explanation enough to be served up but not chewed over by the dutiful chorus. But the climate change thing, that hush-them-up, argument-is-over mantra couldn't be suppressed with mere cries of "Shame! Shame!" The more they tried, the more they sneered and smeared, the more the opposition grew. It was very baffling, quite unprecedented, and very, very disconcerting.
If only reporters and columnists could vote, it goes without saying that Gillard would still be a sure bet for re-election. But the franchise is somewhat more broad than that, which means, as the opinion polls are saying, a catastrophic drubbing for Labor come the next poll. The hacks and hackettes can all see it, a spectre so grim their panic and desperation are palpable. The carbon tax is loathed by the overwhelming majority of voters? Quick, they say, let’s blame that ignorance on anonymous e-mailers and their rude notes to settled climate scientists! And those boats? Quick, more instant “analysis” hailing the genius of the East Timor solution … or perhaps the Malaysian solution … or maybe this week it is the Manaus solution.
It isn’t working. Sooner or later, doom awaits Gillard and government and with it, her urgers’ last shreds of credence.
It is a train wreck in progress, and the fun of watching has only just begun.