by Ross Sharp

I wandered into Sydney’s CBD today, for no reason other than to wander, to distract myself from the thought of applying to Centrelink for unemployment benefits for the first time in forty years of working life, an experience some I know have likened to a waking nightmare, and in my wandering I did find myself at one point late in the afternoon in a bookstore, a well-known and long-established bookstore.

I browsed, briefly, then ambled to the “Crime” section, the new releases, whereupon I spied about a half dozen copies of Paddy Manning’s biography of our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, titled “Born To Rule”, nestled amidst the fictions and non-fictions about murderers, serial killers, rapists, thieves, thugs and villains in general, and I did laugh.

I laughed out loud, a satisfying laugh. A long laugh, from the gut.


I realised then that, where Turnbull’s predecessor Tony Abbott, an oafish, simian-gaited sot who wore his testicles upon his shoulders, was regarded by most as a thoroughly stupid and ridiculous figure, an idiot’s idiot who could be relied upon to produce at least one or two “What the fuck?” head-scratch moments on a daily basis, Turnbull, it seems, has come to be regarded, in a shockingly brief span of time, with open contempt. By his own party, the media, and the public at large.

He seems a mite haggard these days, a little sallow of skin and drawn of the gills, sunken and shrunken and much diminished in stature, and his eyes have taken on a faraway glaze of frustration and disappointment that the glittering prize of “leadership” he did covet for so very, very long, has turned out to be nothing but an empty creamed-corn can, a tin can perched atop a pale and shabby pedestal of ossified excrement scattered with lurid glitter, discarded condoms and the fly-blown mucus and puke from the voided stomachs of millions, gutfuls had.

This tin can is a bauble he has well earned, and it is all he is, and ever will be due.

What a foolish man.

A useless man.

Intelligence is wasted on such as he, and how, how, how, how, can one man do nothing with nothing and still manage to fuck it up in such a spectacularly arresting yet banal fashion?

All show, no boat is our Malcolm, and the show you can’t give tickets away anymore unless your idea of entertainment is watching a middle-aged fully-clothed male hooker with nice teeth try to hump a brick wall, music by the organ-grinders monkey, the organ grinder fucked off up the pub weeks ago and won’t be coming back, and monkey’s now in the mood for murder.

Malcolm always had an eye for history, his place in it, he thought it was all but guaranteed, his birthright, but history has no eye for him, no more, no more, no more, no more, maybe a footnote here and there, a footnote to a footnote, an addendum on occasions, an obscure joke, a giggle, a snort, a “for fuck’s sake” memory, a “special presentation”, the “Fabulous Nobodies of Yesteryear” episode, 30 minutes maybe, at best, and an old yellowing copy of a long out-of-print biography gathering dust at the back of the “crime” shelf in an op-shop somewhere in Bumfuck City, Back-O-Nowhere.

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