Assuming that he was pursuing a consistent plan at all, Peter Costello’s months of coyness about possible leadership aspirations now appear to have been designed to ensure a big splash for his memoirs. Presumably, his departure from Parliament won’t be long delayed and (while you should never say never) it seems that his political career is over.
Unlike with Howard, I’ve never really rated Costello. Undoubtedly he’s a sharp debater and has the good lawyer’s capacity to get on top of a brief, but in his twelve years or so as Treasurer, I didn’t see anything to suggest that he really understood economics or thought much about economic policy. His near-silence since losing office, despite repeated Labor attacks on his legacy seems to me to confirm this. Without the backup of Treasury and staffers, he doesn’t seem able to mount an effective argument (or maybe he just can’t be bothered). Perhaps his book will tell a different story though – I certainly expect it to sell pretty well given the promised bagging of so many colleagues.