Costello’s laurels a triumph of spin

John McCombe writes: Re. “Essential: Liberals the ‘upper class’ party? And Costello best treasurer” (yesterday). Talk about Teflon-coated. When the establishment picks someone to groom and promote, the facts become so tiresome. Peter Costello has benefited from boosting for years, from his student days in the shadow of others in Liberal Party student leadership to his role as junior to Alan Goldberg QC in the Dollar Sweets case, to passively enjoying windfall mining tax receipts as treasurer and giving most of it away buying votes, to his repeated failure to challenge Howard for the leadership, to squibbing the toughest job of all, opposition leader. Costello has always managed to get his supercilious mug into the front of someone else’s picture. Eventually he had to beg his mates for a job at the Future Fund. His topping Essential’s “greatest treasurer” poll is a triumph for spin over substance. Peter Costello is the most overrated person in Australian public life (challenged only by Martin Ferguson, but that’s another story).

The problem with the government’s strategy is it has none

John Richardson writes: Re. “Rundle: the government’s Escherian spiral to nowhere” (Monday). Guy Rundle’s erudite summary of why Abbott’s “Team Australia” has failed so dismally in government is probably quite valid, however, as is the case with so many of our contemporary commentators, he overlooks some of most fundamental reasons for its failure.

The most fundamental problem with the Abbott team’s approach to government is that they actually don’t have one. Moreover, they have never shown any interest in understanding the extraordinary difference between being a successful opposition and a successful government.

Even in opposition Abbott’s team was lazy, gifted as it was so often with “own goals” from Labor as it unswervingly drove itself towards the electoral cliff. The determination of the government to talk to everything in terms of slogans has wrongly been put down to Abbott’s alleged superior education, in particular the fact that he has studied “rhetoric”. “Codswallop” is the only fitting response to that assertion. The truth is that Abbott’s boys never understood that the one-dimensional approach to government that oppositions can afford to employ simply won’t work when the ball is in your hands the world is waiting on you to do something with it.

Refusing to genuinely engage and negotiate on any issue and insisting that the universe is black when the entire population of the planet believes it is white is not evidence of intellectual superiority but sheer bloody blind and arrogant stupidity.

Ultimately, the only way that Tony Abbott and the bulk of his cohort of closed-minded companions will ever make any progress beyond today’s thought bubble is if everyone agrees with everything they think and say or by being thrown out of office  — and  we all know the likelihood of the former proving to be the case.

Murdoch’s bullying

Pat Kirkman writes: Re. “Innocent until proven otherwise” (yesterday). Hear, hear. Well said, Peter Matters. I for one am sick and tired of the Murdoch bullying. It is all schoolyard behaviour, which we abhor for our children, but adults still persist and get away with it. Ignore and send to Coventry. I no longer buy his noxious paper. Intelligent and witty writing, please. Keep it up, Crikey.