EDITORIAL EXCERPT: The Coalition’s phony war over coal

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(Cartoons by Mark David / @mdavidcartoons)

What do you do when the polls are against you and you don’t have a climate change policy? Start a fake internal war over coal, that’s what.

THE MEDIA suggests the Coalition is at war with itself over coal.

The Australian summarised the orthodox narrative on Monday, 11 March:

Morrison virtually admitted the Liberals have lost the politics of coal by ruling out government support for new coal power in Queensland. This followed Joyce’s demand on behalf of the Nationals for a government election policy backing such a coal plant.

Joyce’s statements yesterday are alarming for the government because he is promoting the interests of the Nationals against the interests of the Liberals. The conservative side of politics is being torn apart because its core constituencies cannot be reconciled on coal and climate change.

The division is lethal because it is public and beyond healing. The schism is between Queensland’s pro-coal developmental ethos and the anti-coal renewables-loving wealthy Liberal seats in Sydney and Melbourne.

Nope. Wrong. The conservative side of politics is not being torn apart — it was rent asunder long ago. And if there is a schism between the Liberals and Nationals, then that serves both their interests well, thank you much.

Oh, yes, there is plenty of sound and fury. But those are tales told by fools, signifying nothing — or at least very little.

What little those small gales of fury do betoken is naked self-interest.

Make no mistake, the Coalition ‒ Liberal and National parties both ‒ are still as tightly wedded to coal as they have ever been. They have never changed. They may never change. Like the dinosaurs they are, their love of fossil fuels is strong. It is in their DNA.

The current false war is a way to finesse their message in such a way as may sandbag some of their seats in front of the oncoming electoral tsunami.

Apart from Barnaby Joyce’s interventions, that is.

That buffoon is still hoping to wrest the leadership of the Nationals back from Michael McCormack. He is the “elected deputy prime minister of Australia”, he reckons — whatever that may be. And if he can get all the coal country Queensland Nationals on his side, this disgraced, purple-headed philanderer may get his wish.

But the dominant Liberal Party couldn’t care less about that. They just want to win their metropolitan and suburban seats, where coal is on the nose. Having redneck northern Nationals threatening to end the Coalition partnership over this issue is a positive electoral plus for them.

What an odd multi-headed beast is the Coalition.

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You can follow managing editor Dave Donovan on Twitter @davrosz. Follow Independent Australia on Twitter at @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.

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