If governments were businesses you’d want them to operate in this way: what could be more reassuring to the stockholder than planned, well-co-ordinated, orderly succession?

The constituents of Queensland therefore have every reason today to take confidence in the political administration of their state. The departure of Premier Peter Beattie is a model of how politics might and should operate, with an eye to that most tested of showbiz axioms: leave ’em wanting more.

And there we are: Steve Bracks gone, a smooth transition for Victoria to the capable hands of John Brumby. Peter Beattie gone, and a swift endorsement of Deputy Premier Anna Bligh.

Smooth, simple … no desperate, ego-driven clinging to the last vestiges of quickly fading power. That’s how Bracks did it, that’s how Beattie did it, and their reputations grow with the neatness of their departures, departures that have enhanced the stature of Kevin Rudd, as both the suddenly preeminent Labor leader in the land and as the leader of a party that can so deftly manage its own affairs.

And then, by contrast, there’s John Howard.