The Liberal leadership succession is all settled, we were told yesterday. Again. Pigs ars-, as a former party president is wont to say.

We saw what is really happening on Monday, when Glenn Milne did an axe job on Tony Abbott. “Regardless of what happens on Saturday most of Abbott’s colleagues are now convinced that he is deeply unhappy and that the political future of a man once touted as Liberal deputy leadership material – if not a contender for the leadership itself – is now limited of his own volition,” the Poison Dwarf claimed.

Liberal sources suggest that the brief may have come from a source close to Abbott – geographically. They suggest it came from the member for the neighbouring seat of Bradfield, Brendan Nelson.

All the polls suggest that after Saturday, Kevin Rudd will be PM. The country will be led by a smooth, cautious technocrat.

And the opposition? Peter Costello will be tainted by association. Malcolm Turnbull mightn’t even have a seat. Who will the Coalition turn to?

Nelson’s seat is safe. But just because Rudd has won, the Libs would be making a major error if they tried to counter him with an ideological void.

“The travails and sufferings of Tony Abbott over these past weeks have made him a symbol of the broader failings – both human and political – of the Coalition election campaign as a whole,” Milne claims, “but for the Health Minister there will be neither martyrdom nor transcendence.”

Actually, “If you prick me do I not bleed” might be a pretty good pitch in opposition. A bit of humanity.

Tony Abbott has the courage of his convictions. Courage and conviction will be exactly what the Liberals will need in very dark days.

Abbott certainly isn’t perfect. That might be more than a passable alternative to an all things to all people PM.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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