I never was entirely sure about prime minister John Howard. I was sure, of course, that the guy would debauch the nation with his every legislative move. True, there was that one sober decision to reduce the number of local deaths by firearm, but so very many squiffy ones in the decade of shore leave that followed.

Oh. Come on. Don’t give me that “strong economic management” rubbish. Spend? Howard splashed the cash around like a drunk divorcee with a brand-new bottle of Lynx. High-earners enjoyed discounts on their super, $4.6 billion was blown in foreign exchange gambles and the turn taken during a commodities boom was not to save for a rainy day, but to drown already wealthy voters in a pool of cheap money. Even my neoclassical-ish pal B. Keane agrees that the history reads poorly.