I bumped into Malcolm Turnbull at our local chicken shop on Tuesday. Well, ‘bumped into’ is a little off the mark. It is difficult to go anywhere in Wentworth these days without being accosted by a politician, even the Bondi Road chicken shop.
He spotted the spark of recognition in my eyes when I saw him come in the door and barrelled up to me palm outstretched, enclosing my own hand in a bear hug and heartily introducing himself: ‘Malcolm Turnbull’, he bellowed.
‘Hi’, I replied. ‘Mike Hanley’.
‘I’d like your vote’, he said.
‘How can I vote for you when a vote for you is a vote for John Howard?’
Unfazed. ‘Just lie back and think of me’, he said. ‘You know how they say ‘just lie back and think of England?”
‘What, while I get raped by John Howard? Come on, how could I? This is a man who, in the last three years, has become a real ends-justifies-the-means kind of guy.’
‘How is that?’
‘Well, I could start with Iraq,’ I began, fingers outstretched to begin counting off the charge sheet. His eyes darkened as he turned away. The conversation was over.
‘Just lie back and think of me.’
‘The alternative,’ he growled, ‘is Mark Latham’.
Turning to the hapless people behind the counter he introduced himself and handed over a poster of his face for the shop window.
‘I’ll have to ask the owner’, said the manager, adding, as Malcolm left, ‘I don’t want to put the customers off their dinner’.
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