“But I would expect, well into my term, that after those things have been implemented and bedded down, I would probably certainly form the view, well into my term, that it makes sense for me to retire and in those circumstances I would expect - although it would be a matter for the party to determine - that Peter would take over. Now that’s the honest position.”"Probably certainly”??? Sounds like he quickly corrected himself when he realized how bad it was going to sound. But it still sounds totally bizarre.
If Howard is really planning to leave, what was all this fuss about? Why didn’t he just hand over now and step down now, with some shred of dignity?
No, the truth is that he has no plans whatsoever to step down. So why is he saying it?
Either he thinks that voters actually want to hear this crap ("I'm just voting for him so he can go out on a high"), or more likely he has been forced into saying it as part of a deal with his Cabinet. But he already renegged on this deal with Costello, so why would anyone believe him again?
Hmmn. What if the new deal is unbeknown to Smirky? What if it involves Turnbull getting the nod? And what if there is now a pact among the cabinet to get out the knives if Howard’s still there in a year? I dunno... It sounds like a numbers game is afoot, but nobody knows the numbers except those who counted them.
NB: The fact that last week's big meeting occurred without Smirky even knowing about it is highly significant. It means he does not have one single friend in the Cabinet, which suggests to me that he will never, ever become Leader. Howard uses Costello intermittently, as a physician uses a prick, to lance the boil of leadership speculation.
Even Bolthead calls this a "disaster". Why can't Howard tell us more about these unspecified "things" he still wants to do? What are his chances of holding Bennelong while promising a by-election in a year or two?
There is really only one logical explanation, isn't there? Janet has bet the farm on a landslide Rudd victory and Howard is doing everything possible to ensure it happens.
Either that, or the old bastard is getting senile.
(NB: This post re-hashed from my recent comments at LP)