Four Corners returns mid February with a “whither the Liberals” program that looks at the defeat of the Howard government and directions for the future, and details are already slipping out.

Howard loyalists – the Alexander Downers of the world – are telling the ABC that John Howard would have stepped down if the Ian McLachlan leadership note had not appeared in 2006. They say the Peter Costello forces guaranteed that Howard would stay.

It was the Poison Dwarf wot lost it.

All this introspection is not good for the Liberals. They are looking at their current leader as well.

More and more it is being said that Brendan Nelson has had a terrible start; that he is the unfortunate product of a faction deal.

Some senior figures say Malcolm Turnbull will be running the show by spring.