It’s not just Deb, arrogant LNP is a bunch of losers

 

As the LNP sets about pulping the signs of another generation of failed candidates - and picking another leader - the party's remaining MPs have been trotting out familiar excuses.

It was Deb Frecklington's fault, Labor's fearmongering about borders, the hopeless efforts of party headquarters or some combination of the above.

 

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Yet if these MPs really want to know why they've been trounced again, why they'll spend the next four years wallowing in opposition, they all, with few exceptions, only need to look in the mirror for the answer.

From frontbench to backbench, the LNP is beset by a bunch of lazy, incompetent and irrelevant members who are clueless about the hard work required to beat Labor at a Queensland election.

 

Deb Frecklington at Parliament House after She announced she would be stepping down from the position of LNP Leader. Picture: Richard Gosling
Deb Frecklington at Parliament House after She announced she would be stepping down from the position of LNP Leader. Picture: Richard Gosling

 

Saturday night's also-rans, like Amanda Cooper, Janet Wishart, Fiona Gaske and Henry Pike, would have served the party's interests far better than many of the layabout bench-warmers left in safe seats who aren't willing to get off their rear ends.

What's left of the LNP is a modest army of mostly greying old men in greying old suits, a group so homogenous that it's difficult to distinguish one from the other.

In the north, one party stalwart is already banging on about how the LNP merger is the issue and a regional deputy leader the answer.

What bunkum.

As one prominent LNP figure put it "the Titanic didn't sink itself. The crew did it".

Labor has been a single party with Brisbane-based leaders for decades and it manages to win regional seats.

Why?

Partly it's because of the way Labor sets about building regional members into brands, like Bruce Saunders in Maryborough, Barry O'Rourke in Rockhampton and Aaron "I used to be a paramedic" Harper in Thuringowa, which works to increase their profile in local media markets.

The LNP used to have figures like Lawrence Springborg and Jeff Seeney who could traverse the divide between the boardrooms of Brisbane and the bush, and icons like Vaughan Johnson who stood for something.

These days the party's western MPs don braces and flash suits when they come to state parliament but once they leave their property's front fence no one knows who they are.

On the Gold Coast, the party's older MPs spend their time at the track, posting Instagram selfies and lamenting about what might have been.

Or there's the totemic treachery of the "retired" Jann Stuckey and her laughable claim she used to single-handedly win Currumbin.

 

Jann Stuckey at Currumbin Friday. Picture: David Clark
Jann Stuckey at Currumbin Friday. Picture: David Clark

 

Stuckey has set about trying to tear down her successor to prove this point, even though her replacement is a young woman and precisely what the LNP needs.

Compare that to Labor's Meaghan Scanlon, who has taken her seat of Gaven from marginal to safe after Labor got behind her and built up her brand.

Or young LNP tyro Sam O'Connor who has worked tirelessly.

Sure, Frecklington's campaign didn't work because it pretended the pandemic was over when Queensland voters had a different idea.

Her "big, bold and ambitious" New Bradfield Scheme, Bruce Highway upgrade and rego rebate would have been great policies at a normal election but they wouldn't have stopped people catching coronavirus.

One Labor figure told me months ago that the LNP's problem was its failure to differentiate Frecklington from Annastacia Palaszczuk.

"It's a choice between the red one they know and the blue one they don't," they said.

But rather than seek to distinguish Frecklington, the LNP campaign dressed her up in hi-viz workwear and made her the mirror image of Palaszczuk.

Trying to out "Annastacia" Annastacia was never going to work.

The Monday's experts of LNP headquarters will be claiming the result confirms their view that Frecklington wasn't cutting it before coronavirus came along and vindicates their ill-fated attempt to blast her of the job.

"The only thing they were more scared of than Annastacia winning was Deb winning," is how one figure saw it.

Yet given they couldn't print the correct sized signs, organise how-to-vote cards to arrive on time or come up with a half decent negative advertising campaign, maybe in future its best they stick to their lane.

And then on election day, two former LNP presidents thought it a grand idea to sup with big Clive Palmer on his super yacht.

This is despite the billionaire businessman being political kryptonite in Queensland and contesting the election against the party they used to lead. "Do you reckon (former Labor president) Dick Williams or (union boss) Bill Ludwig would have been socialising with Bob Brown?" one Labor identity pointed out.

That image will be used forever to link the LNP to Palmer.

The fundamental difference between Labor and the LNP couldn't be more stark.

One side is packed full of hardworking people who wake every day willing to do what it takes to win the next election.

The other side just arrogantly assumes Queenslanders will come to their senses and their only effort between elections is to raise their hand every so often to chop and change the leader.

What a bunch of losers.

Originally published as It's not just Deb, arrogant LNP is a bunch of losers