So that cheeky five-year-old minx Rourke Sheridan completely throws Peter Costello for six when he asks him the question that’s been stumping great minds over the ages: “Who made cactuses?” Brilliant.

Without going into too many details over what on earth Ma and Pa Sheridan have been feeding their wildly precocious and odd little bean (cactuses? Really? Could he not just have leapt directly in and asked the Treasurer if that person from The Crying Game was officially a lady or a man?), it’s been somewhat of a campaign highlight to see PC lose it completely in the face of a fellow smug grinner. Outsmugged, you might say.

By now the whole world’s hugely suspicious that Rourke Sheridan was placed at Ashburton Primary as a Labor party stooge, though given the way things have been going for Peter Howard Costello (I do still love that it’s his official middle name) he should possibly be watching for stooges closer to home.

There were stooges leaking internal Liberal party polling about his performance (“poor”, apparently), stooges making snide comments to pollsters (“I just don’t think he’s a leader, he likes the mirror too much”, one particularly unkind gentleman asserted. What on earth does this mean? Everyone’s allowed to practise their “take my plentiful handfuls of cash, needy people of the nation” smile in the privacy of their own home occasionally, surely), stooges in the press…

Even after a fairly even-handed debate with Wayne Swan over economic policy in the National Press Club, Costello was stooged by someone uncomfortably intimate.

“I watched three quarters of it and thought Mr Costello creamed him,” John Howard announced to the world, making an entire country-full of people both aware of the fact he couldn’t be arsed hanging around to witness the entire debate and simultaneously violently ill at his use of the word “creamed”.

If PHC is going to make it through the next few weeks unscathed, he’d better keep an eye out. The poor bastard’s got a target painted on his back, and stooges nation-wide will be taking no prisoners.

Peter Fray

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