Speculation is mounting about the future of the prime minister’s leadership.
This will always be true. There mere act of saying so automatically increases speculation.
[Question to frontbencher]
Is it true that there is dissatisfaction amongst the parliamentary party with the prime minister’s leadership?
No, I am not aware of any such dissatisfaction. We are all completely behind the prime minister.
They deny it. It must be true.
[Question to deputy leader]
Have you been approached to challenge the prime minister for the leadership?
No, I have not.
He denies it. It must be true!
Now that the questions have been asked, the natural paranoia and ambition of politicians takes over. The prime minister checks to see if there really is a challenge in the offing. So does the deputy leader. The party, having read of leadership speculation in the papers, assumes it must be what people are thinking about and begin to wonder whether they should question the prime minister’s leadership.
The only thing that is really up to the party is whether the prime minister calls a spill to consolidate the leadership or the party puts up a challenger having read of widespread speculation and dissatisfaction.
A spill is called.
As first reported in these pages two weeks ago, there is a challenge to the prime minister’s leadership.
The prime minister is either re-elected or replaced.
We told you so! But the tightness of the result means the new/old leader is still in a vulnerable position.
Repeat any time you’re bored or when policy is too complicated to bother with. Remember: keep it simple, stupid.