Our suggestion yesterday that you write to us with thoughts on what exactly John Howard might carry in his big black briefcase brought a tumultuous response, with answers ranging from ”cheese” to ”Philip Ruddock’s soul”. We’ve printed a sample lower in today’s email.

All good fun, but members of the Prime Minister’s party and their supporters might well be wondering not only what is in the PM’s bag, but also what precisely he might have up his sleeve.

If he’s going to keep his grip on power (to torture the metaphor) John Howard will need more in his overnight luggage than a clingwrapped Vegemite sandwich and a change of smalls.

He’ll need some sort of comprehensive policy vision across a range of fronts: from migration, to labour force skill shortages, from housing affordability to water resources, from the growing necessity to tweak the federal compact, to the future of our engagement in Iraq. And he’ll need to start talking about them. Pronto. Let the cat out of the bag so to speak.