Now that the issue of Parliamentary Services spending has been dealt with, it looks like we're back to normal: speculating over when John Key will roll Don Brash. Popcorn, anyone?
This is an excellent spectator sport, though not one that DPF would be likely to run a pool on (besides, as he's been reminded, internet gambling is the sole prerogative of the TAB). But it is so fun to watch the rumours and denials fly, while knowing that Key's window of opportunity to conduct a successful coup in time to bed himself in before the next election is closing. And all the more so because of the obvious way it discomforts National (though the sycophantic court environment of political parties is a key part of this. The need to present a "united front" means that no-one can honestly admit that leadership struggles happen and that its all part of the Game without being seen as "disloyal").
A Key-led National Party would certainly be more electable, precisely because it is likely to be less radical and more centrist than one led by Brash. It would also provide an opportunity for National to finally break with the toxic legacy of the 90's and pursue a milder policy agenda rather than seeking to restart the Revolution and complete Douglas and Richardson's "unfinished business". While I don't want to see a National government any time soon, if one does happen I'd rather it be the least worst National government possible - and Key clearly trumps Brash on that front (though possibly only because he hasn't been sticking his foot in his mouth for the past three years).
Of course, the fact that people outside National want to see a change in leadership will be taken as an excellent reason by some in the party to support the status quo. Which means we might get what I really want to see: a bitter and divisive leadership struggle that undermines National's election chances. That really would be entertaining. But then I'd really need to get more popcorn...