Once
upon a time it was “When I’m Sixty-Four”. Now there’s another Paul
McCartney song inextricably linked with John Howard: “Since you’ve
gotta go, oh, you better go now, go now, go now, go now…”

Well
maybe not quite – but it’s expected that the Prime Minister will
declare his intentions sooner rather than later. He has no choice. The
current situation is untenable. The uncertainty has to end.

John
Howard, no doubt, would prefer a cricket analogy to any pop culture
references. Let’s give him one. The Prime Minister is harder to get out
than Bradman and he knows Peter Costello is no Harold Larwood.

The
PM is also be aware that to keep your average up, it’s better to retire
before you’re caught and bowled, to close the innings before you hit
the ball onto your own stumps. It’s all part of being captain – knowing
when to declare.

All the focus this week has been on the top end
of the Prime Minister’s XI. Their opponents have been ignored. But John
Howard, no doubt, has still been looking at their form.

Their
game is improving – but if the captain decides they still only rank
with Zimbabwe or Bangladesh, who’d be surprised if he decides to bat on?

Peter Fray

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