Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Arise Scott Morrison, the cromulent Cromwell

I have long thought that Scott Morrison would be the next leader of the Liberal Party, but I wasn't quite sure he would be the next Prime Minister of Australia until the events of this week.

Not only is it now inevitable that the Libs bone Tony Abbott - there is no coming back from here, as the Prince Phillip disaster was followed by a Press Club speech basically telling the party room that he was never going to change so you can take the keys to Kirribilly out of his cold, dead fingers - there will be a spill presently which will be the first of several, so the process is drawn out as painfully as possible. There are only 30 or so of the 102-strong caucus who would vote against Abbott, so he will most likely win if Warren Entsch goes ahead with his plan to cause a spill.

Morrison knows what's coming, mainly because he saw it with his own eyes when Labor went through it not that long ago. He knows the Abbott coalition-within-the-coalition is still the largest voting base in the party room, which is why he is on Abbott's side working the numbers and acting as Team Tony's front man for the media. He will be able to point to his superior loyalty after he eventually wins the one that matters, drawing a sharp distinction between himself and those tarred with the Tone Def brush.

Scott Morrison is the answer for which many on the right yearn. The question being asked by the faceless men is, "who will satisfy the Liberal party room and its base, without bringing unworkable baggage?" Everyone else conceivably in the running has too many faults. Bishop is a lightweight, Turnbull is not ideologically acceptable, Hockey is a beaten man.

Liberal voters love an authoritarian who dominates on their behalf. Morrison will frighten some horses with his cromulent Cromwell impression, but as long as they are mostly millennials and/or leftists, that's perfectly fine from the perspective of the blue rinse set.


  1. Morrison would be a huge gamble.
    He is inexperienced.

  2. Yeah, nah. A rise through the ranks so quickly only happens to politicians who came into Parliament with an already sky high public profile, or who have quickly built up one via an ingratiating few years of regular breakfast television. For him to get the job would annoy too many in the party room cos he hasn't served his time yet.

    And besides - he actually polls extremely low with voters in the "who would you like to see as PM" question in Essential - about 2% if I recall correctly from last week. Only beaten by Pyne at less than 1%.


  3. Paul I think you are right about Morrison but I do not think he will be a success.
    I think people are sick of belligerent, strutting bantams who want to turn our world upside down. Scott Morrison would go in hard with that sneer on his face. I can't see him being welcomed into the drawing rooms of the blue rinsed set.

  4. I don't recall Gillard polling massively well before she was parachuted in. Leadership polls mean a whole lot less in the Westminster system anyway, as elections have been won by multiple candidates with negative netsats.

    The party room being controlled by time servers is actually the issue here, and if Abbott were to be toppled, a lot of the dead wood would have to be cleared out in any case. The fact that the dead wood hold the numbers right now means that things are going to have to get a lot more chaotic to cause enough panic for the leadership to change, and that means multiple spills, until the faceless men have no option but to blow everything up Rudd-style.

    As for ScoMo's electability, people used to think Howard was unelectable too but then he clipped his eyebrows and got his teeth done and dressed better and the grannies loved him. That's why I'm so hot on this, Morro could be the next Howard and not enough people seem to be twigging to it yet.

  5. monty, I don't know that there was any poll ever done asking who people would prefer as leader before Gillard took the job: Rudd was extremely popular for most of the time, and the leadership spill came as a complete surprise. Did anyone bother asking about alternatives?

    But Gillard was clearly popular with the media and (I think) was pretty broadly perceived to have a basically likeable personality. Her decline in popularity only began after the Rudd knifing, and (particularly) after the carbon "tax" perceived turnaround.

    Not much sign of basic likeability with Morrison at the moment - quite the opposite.


  6. So you're saying Gillard was unpopular whenever people were actually asked about her, Steve. A known unknown, as it were, prior to the knifing.

    I am expecting multiple spills so Morrison has a long time to build his numbers. And as Shorten shows, if you have numbers in the party room, the numbers out in the public don't matter much.

  7. Actually, monty, I see via Wikipedia that Julia's popularity vis a vis Rudd was riding not too bad in a Newspoll shortly after the Rudd exit:


    Mind you, I guess it's hard to interpret the nearly 50% who thought she would be "about the same" as Rudd, given that this includes those who already disliked Rudd. Still, a large fraction of those probably at least felt neutral towards her, and may not have minded her having a got. And 38% thought she would be a better leader.

    All of this supports the contention that Gillard and Labor would have faired much better at the subsequent election if Rudd and his supporters had not devoted time to revenge attacks on Gillard during the campaign.

    So, I think this still supports my case that Gillard was not thought of, before her ascension to the leadership, as a dislikeable candidate for the job (if anyone had thought it was about to be available to her.)

    This is in complete contrast to polling for Morrison.

    I still fear you're suffering some form of contagion from reading the drooling clown show of Catallaxy threads!


  8. I am with you, Steve, on Gillard never getting a fair run at it with Rudd white-anting her.

    John Hewson began his time as leader with a -20 netsat in Newspoll and quickly dropped to -42, but it only took two or three months to get to breakeven and another six months to reach +23. These things can turn around quickly.

  9. Hewson seemed on top of economics, though. And I don't think perceptions of his personality was ever a major problem. He simply failed as being too ambitious in thinking voters would follow him in a "big bang" approach to reform.

    We know nothing about how Morrison will sound when talking about economics. Will he just be a slogan-fest like Abbott and Hockey? As I think he was prone to sloganeering and bluster on asylum issue, I don't see any particular reason to think that he could be persuasive on economics...

  10. By the way, I think I will try a competing photoshop of Morrison as Cromwell on my table tonight. I think his head could be converted to some painterly looking thing by some filter on my various apps, which would make for a more pleasing result.

    I was particularly chuffed about how good Abbott came out as Thatcher. It only took about 5 minutes too!

  11. That's part of the appeal of Morrison, though: every other option is a known quantity, and is a failure on some level. He may have a lack of experience, but what track record he does have has been impressive (at least superficially).