Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce in his first question time as newly returned Nats leader on Tuesday (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The Beetrooter is back! For lo we hath seen his redness rise in the north, like a shepherd's warning at morning, and the prophecy has been fulfilled: that a child will come to lead them, and he will be as a shouting bag of blood hooked up on a drip cradle, a rural engorgement.

And it didn't take him too long to give his supporters what they want, taking the fight back to Labor and progressives in a way that Michael McCrom- McMorc- Mc -- that guy never could. McSomething showed why he had been edged out of the leadership, giving a farewell speech that sounded like a dog about to be shot heaping praise on the farmer, and then retiring gracefully into the shadows, as Labor enthusiastically applauded the man who had earlier hoped that a mice plague would invade the cities and bite children in their beds. Gnawing resentment, much?

Leadership change in the National Party doesn't really have to be explained in factional terms -- more 'Yeah I reckon you're right' sort of thing from one quasi-aristocratic grassland lord to another. In switching from Macca (which no one has ever called him) to Barnaby, the party has just chosen one extractionist for another, and one likely to be more effective in channelling not just culture war stuff, but a deeper sense of rural populism and anti-politics. Though various people on the progressive side have tried to portray Scotty and others as Trumpian, that's always been a mischaracterisation.