Post #11 – Malcolm Turnbull Is A Wet Pussy

I’m going to start this post with a joke:

Malcolm Turnbull walks up to the bar on the second floor of Parliament House in Canberra. The barman greets Turnbull as he approaches the bar and asks him what drink he would like. Malcolm thinks on this a moment and says he wants to be ‘a little risqué’ and requests a shot. The barman nods in appreciation and requests to know what shot the federal Communications Minister would like. ‘A wet pussy‘, Malcolm purrs.

‘A wise choice sir’, the barman opines, ‘a shot with a name that truly encapsulates your very being, sir’.

I hope you all like my attempt at wit and humour. To those that don’t yet appreciate my whimsical sense of amusement, I’m sure you all at least got a hefty dose of the giggles watching the Liberal Party seemingly fall apart on live national television this morning. What I’ve most enjoyed about the whole saga is how much the Liberal Party seemingly think there are no comparisons to be drawn between what is currently happening to them and what happened to the previous Labor government. But the comparisons are seemingly endless, with factions being the most obvious factor in the highly entertaining #libspill saga. This is no difference to the left-right divisions within the Labor Party that destroyed the careers of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard – (and continues to hang around Bill Shorten like a bad smell) and the divisions within the Liberal Party; both are corrosive.

In the Liberal Party they have something different though (considering they are so far to the ‘right’ these days it would be a little fanciful referring to a ‘left’ faction) and the division is known as the ‘wet’s’ and the ‘dry’s’. Like so many things in Western political conservatism these days, these are terms that hark back to the era of Thatcherism. Anybody within the Tories ranks that didn’t buy into Thatcher’s economic and social policies wholeheartedly was referred to as ‘wet’. A bit like a soggy Sao biscuit – limp, lacking and ready to crumble. The ‘wets’ struck back with accusations of them being ‘dry’ – stale, hard and impractically difficult to ingest. The biscuit analogies continue to this very day. Just like the left and right in Labor, the wets’ and the drys’ are diametrically opposed – they just won’t publicly admit it. However, what you saw today was this eternal (and internal) struggle bubbling to the top of the Liberal Party – a rare glimpse inside the inner machinations of a modern day political machine at war with itself.

No major modern political party in a liberal Western democracy provides an ideologically consistent front, and the Liberals are no exception. The two men (Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott) who would have presumably battled it out (had the spill gone ahead) were from either ends of this crumbly spectrum. Turnbull is your typical ‘wet’ – Abbott your typical ‘dry’. For the last 30 years the ‘drys’ have dominated, with free-market Hayek and Friedman-esque dribbling doublespeak dominating the centre right-wing parties of America, the UK and Australia. The ‘wets’ have been at the bottom of the biscuit tin for some time now, but have seen a mini-resurgence after the global financial crisis in 2008. Greg Jericho from the ABC recently wrote this fantastic article noting that the ‘wets’ find themselves in the awkward position of simultaneously pushing free-market ideology whilst quietly implementing Keynesian economic policies. You could easily argue that it provides a bastardised version of Keynes’ recipe for growth and stability, which has invariably led to many ‘wets’ in the Liberal party being left to break apart in the milk of economic inconsistency. One notable ‘wet’ is our Treasurer Joe Hockey, whom I personally got the gratification of telling off last week in a chance encounter (but I’ll leave that winning story for another day). I need not tell you the strife a muddled worldview gets you in – you need only look at the hate and vitriol directed towards Hockey these days: a man who was once a shoe-in for next PM is now our least popular Treasurer – ever.

So where does the leadership spill (that never actually eventuated) sit within the analogy of various levels of biscuity goodness? To further explain my joke (for those who need it explained to) Abbott is a crumbling cracker because he is seen as too ideologically conservative. Abbott’s greatest error when being elected Prime Minister was mistaking his election win as a justification of his illogical right-wing shit. It wasn’t, the masses were just sick of the infighting witnessed in Labor between their two factions. Furthermore, there is logical reason that Turnbull and Bishop have been suggested in the media as possible contenders for the throne – they’re both ‘wets’ who will seemingly leave the most extreme elements of Abbott’s deeply unpopular policies in the dust-bin. This is because they are both from the same baking tray of small ‘L’ liberalism and the ‘middle’ of the buttered biscuit tray. Seventeen cringe-worthy months of the loony right running the party (with the likes of Cory Bernadi, Eric Abertz et. al) has worn the electorate out and the Liberal Party is starting to realise this, as was demonstrated today.

However, being the pussies that they are, both Turnbull and Bishop refused to directly challenge the Prime Minister. They proclaimed their ‘full confidence’ in him and refused to ‘challenge’ the Prime Minister, knowing full well that if a spill were to occur a power vacuum is therefore created and any titles attached to positions of importance (e.g. the Prime Minister, the Minister for Communications or the Deputy Leader) would be null and void – thus meaning they could challenge without previously nominating to challenge. These two soggy-Sao spineless pussies hedged their bets both ways and basked in their apparent innocence from the comforts of the front bench within a mere hour after the motion for a spill was defeated. I have previously spoken of the questionable rise to power of Julie Bishop, but Turnbull seems to now be joining those ranks as he butters his way closer to power: he is the true optimization of a wet pussy.

It’s frequently said that if you have to explain your joke, it mustn’t have been very funny in the first place – but at least we can all agree on one joke today: the Liberal Party and their wet pussies.

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