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View from the Street: So, what angry blowhard said today's dumbest thing?

And Malcolm's honeymoon seems over, baby. Your news of the day, reduced to a snarky rant.

Boss of Me

You might justifiably be looking at the new slew of polls that are showing a small but significant drop in popularity for the government under PM Malcolm Turnbull and scoffed "what, so instead of winning by a landslide the Coalition are on track to win by a margin of 52 per cent to 48 on a two party preferred basis? Even though Labor are starting to claw back some support it's not as though anyone's looking at Bill Shorten and thinking 'yep, that's the guy we want as Prime Minister.'"

Satirical character "Alan Jones", performing a skit at an anti-wind farm rally in 2013.
Satirical character "Alan Jones", performing a skit at an anti-wind farm rally in 2013. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

And that's all true: while Turnbull has now dipped below the level that the Abbott government won power, the Coalition would still win easily if an election was held this week. Also, Turnbull is far more popular as leader: even if his popularity is slipping, it's nowhere near the negative numbers Shorten is still facing.

But there's not much comfort in that, because the history of Australian politics teaches us an important lesson: opposition parties don't win elections; governments lose them.

History!

More specifically: a good opposition can't overpower a government that's regarded as doing an OK job, as Kim Beazley discovered during Labor's wilderness years.

Tony Abbott didn't triumphantly sweep to power on a wave of love from a smitten nation - with an approval rating of 41 per cent approval vs 36 per cent disapproval in September 2013, he was the least popular PM ever to come to power. He won because the government of Kevin Rudd had only rolled that of Julia Gillard a few months earlier and Labor was correctly seen as being horribly dysfunctional.

Similarly Rudd beat John Howard in 2007 mainly because the Coalition messed up with a combination of the wildly hated employee-punishing WorkChoices policy and the growing disharmony between Howard and treasurer Peter Costello, who was expecting to be handed the leadership.

Howard, for his part, wasn't especially beloved when he toppled Paul Keating in 1996. It's worth mentioning, though, that Howard was shrewd enough to stop declaring his plans to privatise Medicare ahead of that election, correctly surmising that it was a losing proposition - especially since the Coalition lost the supposedly "unloseable election" of 1993 by declaring an intention to introduce a GST.

Any of this sound eerily familiar?

We're the Replacements

So what Turnbull needs right now is a strong, capable government united in purpose. So losing five frontbenchers in just more than six weeks isn't a great look, especially since most of the people slotted into the the new ministry are inexperienced MPs with very little time to get across their portfolios.

That impression isn't going to be enhanced with the news that yet another government MP has decided not to bother contesting the next election - even though the MP is question is dumped minister Ian Macfarlane, whose career was clearly over after his failed attempt to defect to the Nationals.

And one person who hasn't been given a frontbench spot in the last two shuffles - despite being a key Turnbull supporter and helping ensure the PM had the necessary numbers for a challenge - is the nation's youngest MP, Wyatt Roy. And it wouldn't be comforting that the Australian Federal Police have confirmed they'll be questioning Roy and Science Minister Christopher Pyne over the same matter that forced former Special Minister of State Mal Brough to stand down.

There's never been a more exciting time to be in Australian politics!

Mr Wilson

And to the surprise only of Australia's most naive optimists, there's news from Tim Wilson: the man hand-picked by Attorney-General George Brandis to leave the Liberal policy thinktank that is the Institute of Public Affairs to become (ahem) "Freedom Commissioner" at the Australian Human Rights Commission, where you'll remember he at no point leapt to the defence of his boss Professor Gillian Triggs as his mentor George attempted to bully her out of a job.

And now he's resigning two years into his five-year gig in the expectation that he'll be parachuted into the safe Liberal seat of Goldstein - formerly held by the now-ex Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

"This is a tough decision for me but the right one," he announced on Monday. "The people of Goldstein deserve someone who will fight for them." Exactly what the residents of the wealthy, inner-Melbourne bayside electorate need him to fight wasn't made clear. Sea monsters, maybe?

He's competing against the Robb-approved Georgina Downer, daughter of ex-minister and very, very brief Coalition leader Alexander, who shares Wilson's commitment to not actually living in the electorate she seeks to represent - as well as several other candidates that haven't even bothered to be the special pets of high-profile Liberal figures.

Those sea monsters must be terrified.

Dumbest thing of the day: runner up

Two of Australia's smartest grownups said clever things in public that were very wise, and absolutely not thinly-veiled cries for help from irrelevant jackasses.

Comedian Lawrence Mooney decided to slam a reviewer for giving his Adelaide Fringe show a largely positive three-star review, taking to Twitter to call the Adelaide Advertiser's Isabella Fowler an "idiot", a "deadshit" and possessed of a "tiny mind", all of which are barely even three-star insults.

At the risk of revealing the magical process behind how reviews happen, here's a pro tip for all oversensitive comedians who'll lose their widdle temper if they're inadequately praised by strangers: if you're not brave enough to risk having your work assessed, don't hire a publicist to give out review tickets to reviewers with the express purpose of getting a review.

Dumbest thing of the day: winner!

Meanwhile Alan Jones continued his stately transition from respected broadcaster to abstract performance art project by declaring that Australia needs a new stolen generation. No, really.

"We need stolen generations," he declared. "There are a whole heap of kids going through the courts now, or their families, mums going through the courts, and dads who are on top of the world with drugs, or alcohol, and suddenly they go back into an environment where children are brought up in those circumstances. Those children for their own benefit should be taken away."

Fun fact: the last time we took kids away for their "own benefit", they tended be subjected to staggering levels of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, which was laid out in no uncertain terms in submissions to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Still, thank heavens it was Alan Jones making the statement and not someone that the country took the least bit seriously.

The cocktail hour: the perfect antidote

But enough mean vitriol: remember how feelings of love work again, Alan 'n Lawrence, by watching this.

Also, what say you give a tiny amount of thought to things before launching into ill-considered invective like a tantrum throwing four year old? Just give it a little try and see how it goes.

And let's all meet back here tomorrow, friends. Cheers!

The top stories on smh.com.au on Monday were:

1. Income distribution Australia's highest earners think they are battlers
2. British band Viola Beach killed in Swedish car crash
3. How the bimbos of breakfast TV disgraced themselves and feminism
4. Nicole Kidman, Hillsong and a dispute over cash: the drama behind the scenes that nearly killed Tropfest
5. The anxiety of running a business with queues out the door

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