Naturally, it being a meditative Sunday, the pond rushed off to the angry Sydney Anglicans to check that bigotry and prejudice was alive and well in good old 'rum, sodomy and the lash' Sydney town:
Indeed, indeed, but did the PM back a plebiscite plan? Or was it a referendum?
Hitherto meek, loyal and compliant ministers and backbenchers are breaking out, motivated more by preserving their jobs, their seats and their future prospects than any real belief the current crisis can be turned around.
Christopher Pyne, whose seat of Sturt is under threat, has rediscovered his moderate voice and has used gay marriage as a point of differentiation from the Prime Minister who is so unpopular in South Australia.
Pyne fought Abbott to try and stop the Nationals being part of the party room discussion, knowing their overwhelming opposition to gay marriage would give Abbott the numbers to crush the free-vote call. He has joined Brandis in rubbishing a referendum proposal.
Malcolm Turnbull has stopped pretending and has been out every day since the partyroom meeting pushing back at a referendum and any other attempts to kick the issue beyond the election. Other ministers such as Josh Frydenberg have played supporting roles.
On the other side of the argument, Morrison, who will loom large should the leadership be revisited before the election, is being true to his conservative beliefs as well as keeping sweet with that arm of the party. Joe Hockey, who opposes gay marriage, broke his media drought to rush onto Radio National on Wednesday morning to try to stake a claim on the referendum idea, which Morrison has been advancing behind the scenes for many weeks.
Others are conflicted. Julie Bishop won few friends during the partyroom debate when she sat on the fence and advocated a plebiscite or a referendum.
"Julie was thinking aloud," said a critic. Another accused her of "doing a Gillard". This was a reference to Julia Gillard's claim to not support gay marriage. No one close to her ever believed it and they accused her of trying to appease the Right. It won her no support from the Right or Left.
Her defenders say she did well in advocating the third way.
Abbott has been unable to hold back the forces who want change. He is no longer in charge of the policy response. Before he even got to choose between a referendum or a plebiscite, his Attorney-General killed off the former.
Abbott's political instinct has long been to fight to maintain the status quo. He has rarely, if ever, advocated a yes case of significance in his career. He has expended enormous energy over the years opposing change, be it a republic, a carbon price, industrial relations reforms (he was one of two ministers in the Howard government to oppose WorkChoices), renewable energy, and gay marriage.
Such an approach may work a treat in opposition but is unsustainable in a position of national leadership, especially during such a period of great global economic, environmental and social flux. Abbott told his party room this week that the government flourished when it talked about jobs and growth. One wit noted afterwards that was ironic coming from somebody "who spent three weeks talking about a TV show", a reference to the PM's pathological obsession with the ABC and the Q&A program.
Thanks Mr Coorey for that update, and more at the AFR here as their paywall loosens a little.
Back to the angry Sydney Anglicans, and what a hoot that they're piling on to support a plebiscite when that's still not official policy and is subject to relentless in-house brawling:
Consistent and forthright? What a confused pile of twaddle about a policy mess. Is it a plebiscite, or will the referendum forces win?
Unhelpfully politicised? What, by a barking mad bunch of religious fundamentalists seeking out their inner Taliban?
You can bet the angry Sydney Anglicans are just itching to let loose with a rich amount of festering, finely cultivated and ground homophobia.
Can the pond help with a suitably moderate and temperate question: Are you a god-fearing person who supports traditional marriage, or are you a vile, despicable, child-hating, pervert atheist destined to spend an eternity in hell for your wicked, wicked ways? Please tick only one box, and may you rot in hellfire until the twelfth of never if you get it wrong.
Meanwhile, pile on they did:
Yes, but was it a pleb-iscite or a referendum? And what was that question again?
No matter, details, schmetails:
As if the angry Anglicans are about good policy. They just care about maintaining prejudice, while dressing it up with sophistry and yadda yadda about balance.
And so an advance in our national discussion becomes a retreat to what goat and camel herders allegedly thought a couple of thousand years ago. Promising signs of a return to the bigotry of ye olde days of yore:
Not to mention the contraction of freedom of speech and belief suffered by our local version of Islamic fundamentalists who just want to continue on their Talibanish gay-bashing way. Funny, isn't it, how much the angry Anglicans and other religious fundies have in common... though perhaps more funny peculiar than hah hah ...
So we can all still learn from them the best way to order our society?
What, like the way they ordered Britain in the dark old days?
Chemical castration, jail, invisibility, slander, humiliation, persecution, and all within the pond's lifetime, and the angry Anglicans, pillars of society, went along with it ... and thought it the best way to order society.
Update: there are of course, some good Anglicans in the world, though they tend to place their hope in the hopeless: