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The PM who never was

Did you notice that John Howard did not explicitly state anything about stepping down as Liberal Party leader last night? Even though he talked about the future opposition leader, and endorsing Peter Costello for the job, it was taken for granted that he would not hang around as Leader of the Opposition.

I'm betting that he hopes he loses in Bennelong so that he can get the agony of defeat over with quicker. Irony is, he might yet be saved by postal votes. All that means is that Maxine McKew will win the by-election in early 2008.

But the breaking news is that Peter Costello will not seek the leader's job. He's read the writing on the wall - that the vote against Liberal was as much a vote against him as anything - and it appears he will continue till 2010 as backbench member for Higgins. Somehow, I find that last bit a tad incredible...

Early tip till I think this through a bit more. Leader: Malcolm Turnbull. Deputy: drovers dog (honestly, with Mal Brough gone there isn't else anyone worth considering).