Basically, people are good. It's worth remembering. I've dissed John Howard more than once in this blog, but I don't hate the guy any more. The current bitter political fights are very important, but they revolve around some pretty complex ideological issues and its understandable that people reach different positions. I think that what John Howard has done to this country has been harmful and destructive, but i can see why he's doing it, and it's not for personal benefit, he truly believes. Here, where the right action is clear, he's come through and done good, done better than most would have.
I've been, off and on, trying to imagine what a good political party would be like. I think there's a lesson here for that: The speed with which this was put together is very impressive... I try to picture Mark Latham or Bob Brown or Lyn Allison doing something like that, that fast, and I can't. A political system has to be that fast, a political party has to be that fast, when appropriate. Sometimes there isn't time to vote on everything, you have to just rely on having given power to the right people. Not that that need be a jump in the dark, you work up to it, gradually run people in, but once they've proven themselves they have to get real power. Because there are good people who will use power well.
Addendum: Perhaps as important as running people in is running people out. For example, what do you do after being PM? John Howard's spent most of his life working towards gaining that position, can you imagine him staying in politics long after losing an election? Well, he probably can't either, so he's going to be really desperate to hang on to that position. There's no exit strategy. So... 1. maybe we should think of an exit strategy for Mr. Howard. Something nice, something non-token... and 2. this hypothetical party better have some role for honoured elder statespeople that ex-leaders can slip into comfortably... a sort of big-picture, step back from the fray, bask-in-respect type role.