The last days of the Liberals

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Over the last week or so, says Bob Ellis, the political atmosphere in Canberra has changed decisively.

By Bob Ellis

The moment it all changed

It is eight and a half days since Craig rose in the House and an hour after that said Abbott was ‘not fit to be an M.P.’ And the political atmosphere has so changed (as I said it would) that the Liberal Party has no chance any more of surviving beyond 2017 as anything more than a rump.

Last night’, Bob Carr found the moral high ground when speaking of Syria’s slaughtered children; and Abbott lost it when it proved there was reason to think at last that Craig was innocent, or partly innocent, or framed, or unjustly enmired, or baselessly persecuted, after all; and the interview with the hooker vanished from the TV schedule. And the Liberals will not find the high ground again.

They are enmeshed with Gina Rinehart now and they can’t be untangled. Their campaign against the Carbon Tax means, must mean, that she deserves more money than the two million dollars an hour she is currently getting and spending on barbarous vengeful family pursuits; and the many, many public servants they must sack to balance their ramshackle squalid Budget must get less. They are on the side of an acquisitive monster now eating her young; and they can’t get rid of her.

And they have said they would cancel the money coming to stressed poorer parents to buy their growing children shoes. They voted against this money a couple of weeks ago and they will not be forgiven for it. Katter will seize their rural seats with a promise of protecting jobs there and Labor will yield to his passionate rhetoric and begin a form of protectionism after the Euro explodes and America withdraws from Asia to licks its wounds. And the adventure that began in 1944 will be over: they forgot the Forgotten People Bob Menzies serenaded and remembered only the very rich. And that was the end of them.

For O’Farrell and Baillieu and Barnett and Newman are showing now what they are made of: a greedy philistine vandalistic need to smash up the culture and little else. The broken universities will not be whole again; the struggling old people who lost their savings to capitalistic debacle will not be rescued; the children will not get new shoes, nor the sacked breadwinners free dental care. The Liberals have shown what they are like and the people will not forget, and will not forgive the horror they now propose. They will give the Hungry Brontosaurus Rinehart more meat, more meat, and starve the children of the immigrant and rural poor.

And this is Class Warfare indeed. This is the worst of the world of Downton Abbey with no ameliorating splashes of noblesse oblige or backstairs generosity. It is war to the death.

And the Liberals just lost it, once and for all.

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