Howard stands firm:

Louise Crossley writes: Re. “Howard stands firm, Costello festers” (yesterday, item 1). You say: “If Peter Costello or anyone else wants to lead the Liberal Party, they need to take a lead. They need to act. Now.” I disagree. There is no way any other Liberal leader can avert an electoral landslide, so why would they want to try? Letting Howard take the rap, and hearing his concession speech on election night, will be sweet revenge for Costello. Then he steps in to pick up the pieces – or quits himself – without the burden of being a loser. That’s practical politics!

Mark Webb writes: To paraphrase the John Howard situation: John Howard: “I’ll stay as long as my party wants me to” … Coalition: “We want you to go” … JH: “My position is that it is not in the party’s best interests to revisit [the leadership question]”. Or to put it another way … JH: “I’ll stay as long as I decide”.

Garth Wong writes: The only people driving this ongoing speculation are the journalists in the main media who are praying for front page headlines that match their fervent wish to do in Howard. After all, they have all ended up with egg on their face over the past 11 years every time they raise the spectre of predicting the downfall of Howard, and they finally see the present opinion polls as an opportunity they cannot resist to blow up. I’ll bet Turnbull and Downer is only responding to the leadership question asked of them by these people. Why on earth would the Liberals exchange Costello for Howard when every opinion poll now, and in the past has indicated that although Costello is highly regarded as Treasurer he would fare worst than Howard if he assumed the leadership role?

John Spehr writes: It is interesting that Mr Howard consulted with his family over the weekend, about staying the leader into the forthcoming election. For years he has stated that he will remain leader as long as his party wants him to. I suspect his “party” and “family” comprise the grand total of one person: Janette.

Barry Donovan writes: Surely we don’t have to wait for Paul Keating to say it – they are doing John Howard slowly.

APEC’s success:

Frank Birchall writes: Re. “APEC: unfashionable, but successful” (yesterday, item 17). Christian Kerr’s criteria for “success” of APEC are trade deals and emission reduction targets signed; and absence of violence (presumably from so-called “feral” activists). The trade deals would have been concluded anyway; the formalities were simply deferred to embellish APEC. The emission reduction targets are “aspirational” (aka “unlikely”). Violence may not have occurred in any event, but never mind that — better to be safe than sorry, eh, Christian? Never mind continued infringement of democratic rights and freedoms by the authorities and petty bullying by the police. Never mind $300 million of taxpayers’ money spent on the extravaganza together with enormous energy consumption. Speaking of fashion, Christian, how about giving “chattering classes”, “lattes” and “feral” a rest? Those words have been done to death — time for some imagination.

The Sydney Declaration:

Warwick Collins writes: Re. “Sydney Declaration: weasels with words” (Monday, item 3). I am interested to know if this is your exclusive or can no other news service in Australia list and compare the marked differences in both Declarations. In defense the initial proposal actually shows the Government in a better light, if it was their idea to start with. Conversely it demonstrates how much disagreement there actually was on this apparent resounding success. It would be great to know specifically which countries chipped in with their red pens in order to swing agenda. Wouldn’t be surprised if it was our boys who pushed so strongly on clean coal use and carbon capture.

Peter Beattie:

Noel Courtis writes: I have noticed that you have praised Peter Beattie as a hero for resigning. Have you ever investigated if there was a reason that he resigned? Re. “Taking advantage of Beattie’s ‘smooth transition'” (yesterday, item 15). I don’t know of any but you put yourselves up as political experts so I thought I would leave it to you.

Gordon Brown:

Brian Crooks writes: Re. “Forget Howard, will Gordon Brown go early?” (Yesterday, item 14). Gordon Brown is not back in the high poll position because of anything he has done, he is there because of a worldwide swing away from the neo cons, people are going back to the centre left, the far right does not work for them, watch for pressure to bring back tariffs, China has frightened the thinking voter, not the rusted on conservative idiots, who will not vote anything but conservative.

Here we go again, another bout of Jetstar bashing:

Ivars Avens writes: Re. “Jetstar A320 aborts 20 feet from Tulla tarmac” (yesterday, item 4). Here we go again, Ben Sandilands engaging in yet another bout of Jetstar bashing. Being a relatively new Crikey subscriber I am unable to be certain that Mr. Sandilands fails to report negatively on Virgin, but I have never seen it. We are constantly amazed by the sheer bloody mindedness displayed by sections of the media when it comes to Jetstar and cannot understand how it is that Virgin manages to fly under the radar (so to speak). We are really curious; why is that Mr. Sandilands?

Deciphering newspaper readership:

Chris Sexton writes: Re. “Deciphering newspaper readership and circulation figures” (yesterday, item 25). Last Saturday night the Sunday Tele dropped off 81 bulk — total copies 1539 — to a very small newsagent on the South Coast. The records show that the newsagent has never received more than 30 bulk. The previous night the supermarket received more than the newsagent. No promo on and all other agents in the area remained static. So if every run in the state was over supplied by a similar amount then that would surely boost the figures making the readership looking lovely.

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