Or do the ideas float through the ether, like a collection of spectral ghosts? A kind of ectoplasm of the spirit world transmuted into bodily ideological shape? Or are all the columnists wired together by some kind of wifi communality, deep computer controlled elements waiting for a signal to collectively go barking mad? Or perhaps they're part of a master hive come from deepest space? Yes, maybe that's it, the invasion of the body snatchers has already taken place, but only right wing newspaper columnists were victims of the aliens.
The evidence for some kind of conspiracy is overwhelming. Take our favorite advisor to princes, popes and potentates, that worthy Polonius and desiccated coconut Gerard Henderson, in his column Disunity is death in Opposition.
All the talking points are there, as if learned by rote in some secret, furtive cabal.
First there's the ritual flailing and flensing away at John Hewson for daring to criticise Peter Costello. This isn't just a hatchet job, it's a beheading. For a start the form used by Hewson's missive - an 'open letter' - is a cliche. Wow. Killer point.
And then there's the notorious fact that Hewson appeared three times - three times I tells ya in a year - on the ABC's Lateline Friday forum. Talk about being infested by renegade white ants. Killer point. With splutter. He's just like - hisss - like Malcolm Fraser! Run children, hide under the bed.
But then the reason for all this is terribly clear. "Most journalists prefer Labor to the Coalition". Eer, is that a kind of "most journalists prefer vegemite to marmite" statement Gerard, backed by extensive research and statistical data Gerard, or just your own paranoid personal estimation?
I have one of the same kind - "Most columnists employed by newspapers prefer loonacy of a coalition kind to sanity by a factor of four". I rest my case on the basis of my huge personal insights undeterred by the need for any substantiation beyond - I say it is so, and amazingly so it is.
Anyhoo, it seems this Labor loving media (you know, the kind owned by sun king Rupert Murdoch just for starters, or the eastern suburbs loving, Henderson employing Fairfax Media) just so loves the vile Hewson that no one in it has bothered to look at his role as chairman in a company that collapsed owing some $200 million. (So that explains why when you google up Hewson and Elderslie Finance Corporation you get dozens of references).
Never mind, what's a little dung throwing in the face - perhaps Hewson's like Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour and really likes it, or perhaps Gerard gets so much pleasure out of doing the throwing, like the servant in the movie, that he doesn't notice the perversity of it all. Whatever. Rule number one, always play the man, never the ball. That's what makes Liberals such a great team.
Then it's back to the future time: Despite Hewson's complaints, Costello is the person best equipped to lead the Liberal party to the next election.
Ergo the Liberal party is being run by a second eleven loser called Malcolm while the king, I mean Prince Charles, is sitting in the wings waiting to ascend the throne. How's that for a thought to help party unity!
Meaning Henderson is doing his own level best to ensure continuing discord in the party as he supports the claims of the fundie loving Costello while that clown sits on the back bench in disruptive pique at not being hailed as the chief by universal acclaim.
Is Henderson being as perverse and dumb as Costello, who seems to get profound pleasure and a sense of mischief out of fucking over his colleagues, or is he just being dumb?
Sorry folks, but it's hard not to jump to the latter option. Henderson writes off the Liberal party's chances at the next election - forget it boys, you're gone, despite hopeful signs in the polling on the economy and national security.
So what does our Polonius advise Malcolm in the middle to do?
Turnbull should publicly accept that Costello will remain on the back bench for the foreseeable future and praise his role as the member for the seat of Higgins.
Ah Gerard you're always good for a laugh, but I fell about cacking myself and almost had an accident in my panties. "Praise him". Dear lordy lordy, Malcolm should praise Costello? Now I get why you're a columnist and not a politician accustomed to the daily thrust and parry of politics.
But it gets better. According to our Polonius, Julie Bishop should remain as deputy because she displayed a remarkable degree of selflessness in stepping down as shadow treasurer, you know like the way the Terminator allowed himself to be crushed to a pulp and flung into a pot of molten hot metal. But wait Gerard that just means she was a loser who accepted the inevitable. What else have you got for keeping her in the glorious role of sidekick, waiting to be shot in the sixth reel?
Also, answers the sage Henderson, she was one of the few senior Liberals who declined to be interviewed for the ABC1 documentary The Howard Years. "This suggests that she has good judgment." But wait a minute, John Howard allowed himself to be extensively interviewed for The Howard Years. That's right god himself! Or does that mean John Howard showed bad judgment? No, say it ain't so Gerard, not god himself. He's infinite in his mercy and understanding and his judgments.
Gerard allows him one final strategic thought - the key players, the affable team of Abbott, Brandis, Coonan, Hockey, Minchin, Pyne and Robb should all get together in a leadership advisory group in order to co-ordinate the Opposition's message. Great idea. Abbott and Minchin get along so well with Christopher 'Robin' Pyne, what a team they'll make, like Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan.
Hidden messages? Well clearly Malcolm is useless as a captain, so you're going to have to do it all yourself team. And also if you want to beat Labor you have to become Labor, and learn how to behave as collectivist Stalinists rather than proud individualists. You must all speak from the same page, like parrots or like members of the hive, vetting statements of party colleagues and introducing authority to constrain Bernardi style self-indulgence. You must all speak slowly like automatons voicing the one message over and over again. Perhaps we should hand around the hat and buy the lads and ladettes Homer Simpon's AT 2000 automatic dialler message machine.
At last it becomes clear. The spirit of the hive is strong Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yes it's clear that among right wing columnists there's a hive mind at work, just like in The X Files, and they want the Liberal party to adopt the same strange, alien mechanism.
The next time you meet a commentariet columnist at a Liberal party shindig, of the kind beloved by the elite Liberal owned media, check them out, and report any signs of alien behavior. The truth is out there people, we just have to find it, and warn the world ... before it's too late.
As for Malcolm Turnbull, who is clearly not the best person to be leading the Liberal party ... if you listen to Gerard Henderson, why not just save yourself and us the trouble, and step down now, singing and praising Peter Costello with a lusty voice ...
Peter, Peter our redeemer
has become our jubilee
sent to proclaim the release
of all held in captivity.
to the blind recovered sight
the release of all oppressed
to proclaim the year of the liberal party