Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The March to the Right Continues

Following their routing of an increasing number of major Liberal groups such as the Womens Council and Young Liberals, the Liberal Right have now begun exercising their influence on preselection, with several leading moderates tipped to go. John Ryan has already lost his preselection, and the next on the chopping block is strongly rumoured to be Patricia Forsythe, who earlier this year bravely tipped off ABC's Stateline to the appalling series of events which led to the resignation of John Brogden.

It's not out of the realms of possibility that this trend should extend to the Federal Party, with Bruce Baird, chairman for the Parliamentary Amnesty International Group and a leading Liberal campaigner for social issues, a name that has come up many times. Party apparachiks say this is for his `underperformance', despite the fact that he holds his southern Sydney seat of Cook on a safe margin of 14%. The most dire scenario, rumoured for some time, has vile Herald Sun columnist Andrew `WorkChoices is merely the next Y2K bug' Bolt supplanting Petro Georgiou, but that's a situation too awful to even contemplate ...

Ironically, as Anne Davies puts it in today's Sydney Morning Herald the one man preventing a full takeover by the Liberal Right is quite possibly one John Howard. As illogical as it may initially sound, this is quite true. Howard has built his career on not taking sides - on standing outside controversial debates, letting others get their fingers dirty, then stepping in and saying `Wasn't it a good thing we had that debate?'. The recent RU486 issue is a good example.`"Howard may be conservative, but he's a pragmatist, and he's avoided being dragged into debates on wedge issues like abortion like the plague," says one senior Liberal. "The right needs his curtilage, and they won't defy his authority."'

A Liberal party without dissenting views such as those of Georgiou and Baird, as well as others such as Marise Payne and Judi Moylan would be a much diminished party. This is, I think, something Howard implicitly realises - the paradoxical idea that small outbursts of disssent actually do more to foster a sense of party unity than a code of strict caucus solidarity which makes even the smallest divergence from party policy seem like mutiny.

A NSW Liberal Party over-run by the Right is a scary enough proposition - hopefully the result of the Pittwater by-election indicates that this prospect is not attractive to voters. But an entirely right wing Federal party ... I shudder to think of it ...

6 Comments:

At 11:54 am, Blogger Miss Eagle said...

Dear Modia, after you have made me physically ill by some of your suggestions :-), I have posted at The Eagle's Nest in response.

 
At 10:25 am, Anonymous Guy said...

I think a continuing lurch to the right in NSW would only serve to bury the Liberals in seats not overly-populated with god-botherers.

Without the wets and moderates the Libs would be very unpalatable to many who now vote for them.

 
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