My, what a magnificent moment yesterday afternoon must have been for Peter Costello. One can only presume that up until now, the conversations held between he and JWH at their apparently numerous all-in group fondue nights have been deliberately vague when it comes to mentioning concrete handover dates.

Oh, let’s not talk about dull old work now,” ol’ John might’ve said.

“Not here, not at one of our patented jollified Howard family knees-ups. Here, have another brandy lime and dry. Janette, crack out the
Game Of Life. Let’s make this one a bender!”

Time passes, no-one wants to be the first to bring up what could be a potentially awkward discussion.

“At least he said it’s mine,” Peter can console Tanya with late at night when she presses him for confirmation of future employment.

“He won’t last much longer than a month or two. He’s making uncharacteristic mistakes, slowing down the morning walks. Give him eight weeks and I’m sitting at the big desk. This is it, it’s really happening. Now c’mere and let’s make adult relations to celebrate…”

Of course, that’s the problem with unspoken conversations. Two people can assume very different things about an issue that’s perhaps rather pressing to them both.

So while Peter Costello has spent the past month gamely holding hands with his once mortal enemy boss and making like wavey best pals, already privately making plans for where he’ll hang his favourite Ken Done once he shifts into the boss hoss office, John Winston has had an entirely separate agenda.

Eighteen months longer, he told reporters yesterday. “And that’s being generous,” he might have added if he were a particularly cruel sort which no-one is suggesting; judging by the ladies following him about of a pre-dawn stroll he’s clearly Australia’s Sweetheart.

If Peter Costello hasn’t smashed a beer bottle over a bar and started waving it about like Chopper on a meth binge tonight I’ll eat my hat.

O, the deliciousness of it all.