The Australian Financial Review has today published some of my thoughts about Julia Gillard
Young, naive and taken in by a con artist. Martin Ferguson talks about Julia Gillard's pre-selection.

The lefties invade the National Party.

What has happened to the National Party in NSW?

At a time when the bush in Australia has some real issues and needs strong, loud, and authentic voices, what the hell are they doing?

The once 'party for the country' seems to have solidly abandoned its conservative country roots and risks gradually becoming a ship of convenience for left leaning inner city trendies.

It was only a handful of years ago that the Nats largely saved Australia from an early Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Remember that?

Late 2009 and Malcolm Turnbull was Opposition Leader. Fools in the Coalition were on the verge of teaming up with Kevin07 to support a quick start ETS.

Turnbull was rolled after Nationals like Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash inspired Liberals to wake up and grow a spine.

Within weeks, Tony Abbott was Opposition Leader and here we are today.

Typically, you've always been able to count on people from the bush to truly read the mood of the country.

But something is wrong.

On Friday afternoon the Nats in NSW showed they had lost their way. They pre-selected a city based, lefty ex-Liberal, who doesn't have a drivers licence and is a political gamer to lead the party's Upper House ticket for the NSW election next year.

Ben Franklin is his name. Currently their state director but he could easily be at home in the Liberals or Labor. He is known around the NSW parliament as a classic political animal. The National Party is just where he is today.

He lives at Kirribilli in lower North Shore Sydney and figured out 'doing the numbers' when he was President of the Young Liberals.

Franklin is thought of as a 'wet' or a lefty. Certainly not the kind of bloke who'd really know much about the plight of people on the land.

So what are they doing giving him top pre-selection?

Franklin knocked out of the way a real-deal kind of bloke called John Williams who lives in Broken Hill.

Williams has run a business in a country town and has represented one of the largest electorates in the country from The Murray to the Queensland border. He is known to fly a light plane to get around his electorate.

Another MP, Melinda Pavey was also knocked out of the way. She's an ex-family business operator who has a young family living on the North Coast. She oversees Rural Health for the NSW Government.

Franklin's rise to the top is exactly not what the National Party leadership in NSW wanted. It goes against the wishes of Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner.

I appreciate that internal party politics is not everyone's cup of tea - but it strikes me as sad that even the National Party has become just another way for ambitious young city types to get into parliament.