“What’s the difference between a wet and moderate?” David Barnett once asked me. “Moderates win pre-selections,” I replied. The Australian offers a perfect example of how the wets failed today.

Crikey readers will know I have my disagreements with Amanda Vanstone, but she has always offered a perceptive assessment of why the wets lost the battle of ideas in the Liberal Party.

When she arrived in Canberra, senior wets – in particular a certain former NSW Senator – behaved like keepers of the sacred flame of liberalism. They made their disdain for young devotees very clear. It would take much before they were deemed worthy to become initiates, they indicated.

They never did. The old wets were dumped by the party and their would-be acolytes either gave up and joined the Right or became today’s moderates. All of which makes it particularly galling that the wettest of the wets, Ian Macphee, has popped up in yesterday’s Australiangiving a lecture on the Liberal Party.

Read the full item on the site here.