(Above: losing your cool playing hockey).
Poor jolly Joe Hockey sticks.
Even before he gets elevated to the throne, the knives are out.
It was only a short time ago that he was being advised by Christopher Pearson to stick to economics because as a theologian he was a windbag dullard destined for hell (At odds with the gospel according to Joe).
Now the normally rambling, incoherent David Burchell pulls himself together enough to shaft Jolly Joe in the cruellest of ways, suggesting he won't be buying a used car or policy from Joe any time soon, as he explains in No logic in Liberals' climate of paranoia:
As luck would have it, many, many years ago I was an accidental witness to the flickering dawn of Joe Hockey's now-sunlit political career. Through the rather indirect means of the Beer Drinkers Party, Hockey had ascended to the head of his university's students union. Each month he and I met the vice-chancellor in the genteel repose of his oak-panelled rooms, ostensibly to discuss matters of pressing concern to students but, actually, in Hockey's case, to generate a pleasant stream of inconsequential banter about the state of the university rugby team or the prospects of the rowing eight.
No doubt we can all remember incidents from our youth which, were we forced to live through them again now, would place us in agonies of embarrassment.
Yet I have to confess I never before or since saw a political activist so blithely devoid of even the merest tincture of political conviction.
Oh dear and ouch. Well it's true that Burchell detours via marital relationships, and the French revolutionaries of 1789 to get to this point, but he also knows how to guillotine a head or two:
Senior frontbenchers whose names were once bywords for icy political calculation have turned into wild visionaries, their disordered imaginations generating fiery spectres of evil foes, shadowy cabals and dark plots innumerable. Senator Nick Minchin, who not much more than two years ago was the third or fourth most senior political figure in the land, now resembles in his public utterances nothing so much as a pyjama-clad blogger shuffling around in his distraction in worn bedroom slippers, and declaiming with clenched fists against global conspiracies to return us to the Stone Age.
Minchin in pyjamas? Well it is the Adelaide style.
But then it seems that Burchell is something of a risk management type, albeit with great reluctance:
It is probably no accident that it is the beacon of climate change that has finally brought the Liberal Party on to the rocks. It is, after all, the very archetype of a political debate carried out on principles of pure faith and unreason.
Since no ordinary citizen can really assess how compelling the science is, all any of us can hope to say is that the best course of action is the more prudent one, and hence the one that promises less future damage to the planet.
He even manages to call Malcolm Turnbull as showing something close to heroism in tackling his internal critics, and pressing his ETS policies, copping flak from colleagues and the press in the process. Before leaving us with this final thought on Jolly Joe:
Perhaps, in the Liberals' present bout of collective emotional instability, in their paroxysm of conviction-mania, Hockey is exactly the kind of quasi-leader - a light, agreeable semblance of a political personality woven out of the purest gossamer thread - his party deserves and needs.
Throw in Glenn Milne on Joe Hockey, and loon pond is in turmoil. The loons are revolting. According to Milne, in Joe Hockey's political hot potato, here's what Nick Greiner said to his protege:
Greiner's point to Hockey was that if he becomes leader now on ETS terms dictated by the climate sceptics in the party he can never be his own man, his own leader.
"For Joe to take the job now based on what he's said before would amount to standing for a lie," says Greiner. "That is, he'd be standing for the reverse of what his previous view has been, in favour of an ETS. It wouldn't be his leadership it would be someone else's. "They (the right-wing sceptics) want two bob each way. They want to impose their view then have someone electorally saleable and moderate like Joe sell it."
Turnbull has seized instinctively on Greiner's argument as the fundamental weakness of Hockey's candidacy.
Yesterday Turnbull savaged Hockey's credentials. Throwing decency to the winds, he revealed that in a private conversation on Saturday, Hockey admitted his position on an ETS remained the same as Turnbull's.
Worse still, Nick Greiner has taken to the ABC airwaves, to spread his heresy even wider. (And no doubt it will turn up on The World Today website when the ABC catches up with itself - it has, direct link here, though in a day's time it'll be as old as yesterday's mashed potato and as useful as bubble and squeak).
Dear lord, Christopher Pearson, David Burchell, Nick Greiner and Glenn Milne suddenly warning jolly Joe to beware the runes, and consult the Delphic Oracle long and hard. Milne does of course do his best to show how all this could in the long run bring down the Rudd government, but still there's one bitter pill no one has yet worked how how to sugar coat, and it concerns mad Uncle Wilson Tuckey and our very own, On Our Selection, pick the wings off flies, Dave, aka Barnaby, Joyce:
Behind closed doors Hockey has already been wrestling with the dilemmas raised by Turnbull. He does not trust that any deal with Minchin to rein in the Right if he became leader would hold. He has recognised that if even for the moment he pushes off the ETS to a Senate inquiry how does he deal with it after that and stay true to himself? "Can I sell my soul?" he has asked colleagues.
He has thought medium and long term, as well; if after a Senate inquiry he then tries to fashion his own ETS policy for an election, the likes of Wilson Tuckey and Barnaby Joyce would be straight into it again, because they don't believe in one at all. Hockey has imagined an election campaign with the Nationals threatening already spooked Liberal climate change sceptics in their seats. It would be a debacle.
Well the oldest saw in the book is the truest. A democracy without a strong opposition isn't much of a democracy, and an opposition infested with incoherent loons is the worst situation of all.
Good luck to jolly Joe, but here's hoping when he searches through the sheep's entrails, he finds more insight than currently seems available to the smelly corpse once known as the Liberal party.
And after the ballot, can we just move along people, and keep the line moving!
By golly, when David Burchell stops writing about the Iliad and the Golden fleece, and the wise ways of arcane medievalists caught up in the hundred years war, loon pond isn't just in turmoil, it's in total apocalyptic chaos.
Meanwhile, spare a thought for Julie Bishop. Julie who?
Never mind, the Liberals might well have found their amiable Kim Beazley, who did wonders for the Labor party ... as well as arranging for years in the wilderness.
(Below: new rules for Hockey playing Liberals?)