“Former Liberal leader John
Brogden wilfully and maliciously made certain that the Liberal Party
lost yesterday’s by-election for Pittwater, the northern beaches seat
he held for nine years,” Alex Mitchell wrote in yesterday’s Sun-Herald.

Bollocks, mate. Complete and utter bollocks.

Hard right nutters and soft, self-indulgent wets stuffed the leadership
transition – then went on to destroy the Liberals’ by-election chances.

cast a ballot against the nasty, psychopathic behaviour of the Liberals
who orchestrated a media frenzy against Brogden and drove him to
self-harm in just a couple of days.

The same mob then tried to get Brogden to give a written endorsement of Nicolaou. How low can you go? Ever lower, it seems.

When they didn’t get their way, they dragged up an old photo of Brogden with Nicolaou and used that in the campaign.

was already drifting around early in the campaign – that teenage
Torquemada Alex Hawke and his mates were saving “if all else fails
blame Brogden” as their fallback position.

John Brogden is not to blame for the Pittwater loss. The choice of an outsider was.

Nile candidate, Councillor Patricia Giles, would have directed her
preferences to the Liberals if they had gone with a local like Rob

When Brogden announced he was leaving, one the Liberals’
most experienced local MPs, Member for Davidson Andrew Humpherson, the
mastermind behind J-Bro’s first campaign, warned about a blow in.

party treated him with contempt. Yes, he mishandled his troubles – and
falling on the office stapler didn’t win him any sympathy. But all that
“Take your time, John, we’re right behind you” stuff was cr*p. They
wanted him out. Insert your own “behind you/stab in the back gag” here.
They’re still at it.

Let’s point the finger some other ways? Who
was the genius behind the very expensive Pittwater campaign, estimated
to have cost up to $750,000 when Liberal State campaigns usually cost
between $30,000 and $100,000? Nick Campbell, a state executive member
and former Bill Heffernan staffer with his own political ambitions will
be keeping his head down.

Numerous mail outs, doorknocks, campaign posters and masses of Young Liberals on the streets didn’t do the trick.
Pittwater voters rejected the lot in favour of decency in revulsion at how Brogden was treated.

Successful candidate Alex McTaggart has even said himself that the vote was not for him but against the Liberals.

seven independents now in the Lower House, it is clear people are
rejecting machine politics, machine candidates and an anything goes
attitude to political ethics.

Unfortunately, unless the Libs
clean up their act, this will result in the return to power in 2007 of
a particularly loathsome political machine – Iemma and the B-Team
Sussex Street selected when Bob Carr decided to do a runner before it
all collapsed around him.

It doesn’t look as if they’ve got a
clue. The right has done a deal with fringe dweller Michael Darby
clearing the way for him to standing in Manly in 2007. So both ends of
the northern beaches peninsula – natural Lib territory – will be held
by independents.

Bright. Real bright. It seems that the NSW Libs
religious right are determined to carry on until they have a team that
suits their tastes, no matter the costs. Pity that their congregation
has no appeal to voters.

Finally, the rogue elephant in the room
no one seems to want to notice: What’s this defeat got to do with the
policies and polling of one J Winston Howard, the most senior NSW
Liberal? Anyone? Glenn Milne today seems just to be making excuses.