08 June, 2014

The Rules: Prime Ministerial ambitions

The shoe may be on the other foot and the foot may be kicking the shit out of anyone who owns less than a dozen newspapers and a couple of television networks, but after nearly a year, leadership rumours are flying around the prime minister again and isn't it all just bloody hilarious! Thanks be to the patron saint of short attention spans - whoever that might be. I try looking it up but I keep getting distracted by breaking news of who Shane Warne's new girlfriend might be and quizzes that will tell me which Kardashian I am.

So far, it's all going perfectly to script with all the right denials from all the right people. The problem with every denial is that when any MP (who may or may not be Malcolm Turnbull) denies there is a leadership challenge on right now, the follow-up question is whether that MP ever has the desire to take over the leadership. The only honest answer, regardless of who is being asked, is Yes.

Just for once, can we please cut through all the false modesty and admit that EVERYONE wants to be prime minister. Even you! The only people who don't want to be prime minister are those who would take neither the pay cut nor the responsibility that comes with public office, and instead enjoy influencing government while maintaining the charade that they're every bit at the mercy of Big Government as every other little guy. Who says satire is dead? I am not necessarily referring to the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Gina Rinehart, Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones. I could have meant absolutely anyone by that comment. I don't understand why you're all so suspicious.

The House of Representatives would have to be the only place in the country where you can gather 148 people who all claim they don't want to be prime minister. Take a survey of any train or food hall, and I'll bet you'll find at least 150 people who all think they would make a great prime minister, yet the closer someone gets to that goal, they more they would have you believe that they never wanted it in the first place.

I promise you that nobody goes into politics with the ultimate ambition of being minister for communications (to take a completely random example). And even if one is self aware enough to know that it was only dumb luck and schmoozing the right people that got them to the level of minister for education (to take another completely random example), the desire and the eye for the main chance will always be there.

This isn't a good or a bad thing, it's just the truth. Nobody dreams of being the world's greatest rhythm guitarist. Nobody plans to win Best Supporting Actor. They want to be the star, and if they're content with the way things turn out, that won't change what they always wanted.

Deny a challenge by all means because it probably is bullshit. But can we please stop insulting everyone's intelligence by claiming no ambition?

There are two types of politicians: Those who want to be prime minister, and liars.
Make that one type.

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