Leaders leap aboard ScoMo express, by Scott Morrison.
Scott Morrison confronts the world as a massively strengthened national leader. And the world is watching Morrison, looking anew at Australia. Especially every democratically elected government in the West, all of which fear their next election.
They are also looking at Anthony Albanese, who represents the first time Labor has chosen a leader from its Left faction to attempt to lead it from opposition to government since the disastrous HV “Doc” Evatt in the 1950s.
‘Albo’ and his UK pal have met three times in the last 14 months
No one has had their heads turned more by the miraculous ScoMo win than the British Conservative Party. Boris Johnson looks back at his old stamping ground of Sydney and, like many other British Conservatives, thinks: here is a conservative government, racked with leadership tensions, apparently very unpopular, ridiculed and mocked by the media glitterati, seeking an unlikely third term in office.
So, at the last possible minute, they ditch their blandly centrist leader and elect instead a big personality, a larger-than-life mega-campaigner with boundless energy, the thickest of skins and an almost pathological love of campaigning, a figure uniquely equipped to polarise the political debate around himself.
Johnson likes that narrative very, very much.
Another leader equally entranced is US President Donald Trump, who rushed to congratulate Morrison on the phone on his re-election. American politicos follow British and Australian politics to spot trends that might come up at home. They think Australian and British politics tell them more even than Canada’s, because there is so little national security dimension in Canada.
Trump sees a fellow conservative, written off by a mostly hostile media, not least because of his tough line on illegal immigrants, behind in the polls, who, partly through sheer force of personality, barnstorms his way to re-election. The cost of his opponents’ climate change policies, the future of a coalmine, the sleeper issue of religious freedom, a revolt in the regions against the inner-city progressive elites — that all seems pretty familiar.
Trump likes that narrative very, very much.