Well, well, well. John Howard has kept a diary and notes loaded with intimate observations on political life for the past 30 years.

As Malcolm Farr says in The Daily Telegraphtoday, the prime minister is “seriously considering” putting them into a book when he leaves Parliament. “The contents of the Howard diaries, which the prime minister privately refers to as an ‘aide memoire,’ are one of the best kept secrets in Canberra,” reports Farr. “Even some of his closest staff are not aware of them.”

What sort of book might The Howard Diaries be?

Farr believes Howard is “unlikely to write the savage appraisal of colleagues and rivals which Mark Latham is expected to produce when his diaries are published later this year. Sources close to Mr Howard said he never forgot slights, but didn’t keep grudges, and was unlikely to use a book to settle scores.”

Indeed. There are two models for modern diaries from senior members of Westminster governments. Both are British – the diaries kept by Labour minister Richard Crossman and the efforts of Tory rogue Alan Clark.

Both caused a stir. Crossman served in the Commons from 1945 until his death in 1974, was a minister in the Wilson government in the sixties and later edited the then bible of the British left, The New Statesman.

His diaries began appearing the year after he died – much to the chagrin of the Callaghan Labour government, which made attempts to stop their publication. For the first time a cabinet minister revealed the inner workings of government – in all its banality. They became the major inspiration for Yes, Minister.

Clark’s diaries caused controversy, too, when they were first published in 1993 – but for very different reasons. On becoming a junior minister, Clark speculated in them whether he would be sacked for p*ssing out of the office window. There are sections on the sex appeal of Margaret Thatcher’s ankles, a morning after account of introducing legislation while drunk, and perhaps the best ever insights offered into the monstrous yet fragile nature of the political ego.

Crikey, of course, has exclusively published extensive extracts from the Egan diaries – the diaries we imagine the former NSW treasurer kept. We’d like to break the Howard diaries, too.

What might they say? Your suggestions, readers, to [email protected]