“Sorry Santo” has quit the Senate in an attempt to clear the decks for the Government. However, as Paul Kelly puts it today: “This is a scandal that makes John Howard look foolish, discredits the standards of his Government and ruins the campaign against Kevin Rudd’s character.”

Henry yesterday had the benefit of the thoughts of an old political reptile based somewhere North of the Tweed. “The economy is the most important issue and it is in good shape,” said reptile averred, “so this game has a long way to go”.

This is not a stupid view, and so far has been the view taken by Henry. But, by now, one has to concede that the opposition is so far ahead in the polls – and even the betting – that there is a palpable sense that “this time, it’s time”.

And then there is foreign policy. In this forum, Henry has been bringing readers the views of two hoary old political observers – Sir Wellington Boot and Henry’s Lexington.

Both have been very critical of President Bush and his administration and, in Sir Wellington’s case, John Winston Howard.

In the interests of balance, Henry tries to keep up with the other perspective, and earlier this week was privileged to sup, not with the devil, but with the Australian Ambassador to the United States, Dennis Richardson.

The former intelligence chief was totally professional and parried most questions with humour and wit, although he did tell one somewhat troublesome lady to rack off, which she promptly did.

Paul Kelly has had a more intimate interaction with the good ambassador, and reports today in The Oz: “Australia’s ambassador to the US, Dennis Richardson, warns that Democrats and Republicans alike believe the war on terrorism is just beginning and that the legacy of the 9/11 attacks will shape American politics for the next generation.”

This interview is well worth a read, but Henry cannot help noting that the Iraq situation may well play against the Government before the year is out.

If interest rates have to rise further, thus damaging the Government’s “superior economic manager” perception, it will indeed be “this time, it’s time”.

More reading at Henry Thornton.