This photo by Gary Ramage appeared in today's edition of The Australian
As anyone who wears glasses will tell you, the only time you use your middle finger to "adjust your glasses" is when you're either missing your index finger, or when you want to send a non-verbal message.
Yesterday in federal parliament, of all places, prime minister John Howard showed just how petulant and immature he can really be, particularly when he's losing the election he refuses to call.
He gave Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, sitting opposite, the finger.
Howard and the Liberals have been polling so miserably for virtually all of 2007 that even when a new poll reveals they have "clawed back" ground, it is impossible to ignore the fact that they still won't win on these numbers.
They don't need to claw back ground, they need something close to a miracle.
Or something that will allow Howard to delay the elections until well into 2008.
BushCo. and NeoCon allies in France and Israel launching a War On Iran perhaps?
As we predicted here on the weekend, the latest Newspoll has shown a four point increase of support for coalition government, but Howard's rating remain virtually unchanged on a fortnight ago. We got that bit wrong. We were convinced that Howard would get some sympathy votes in the polls because he had been so thoroughly humiliated for a solid week.
Labor maintains a 10 point lead on the Howard government, but the poll shift saw Labor dropping four points and the coalition gaining four. Nothing hugely dramatic either way, but it could have been worse for the Howard government. They could have dropped from 18 points behind to 22.
Maybe the government got a rise because when the poll was taken on the weekend, Australians were convinced the Liberals were still going to toss Howard overboard?
Here's a round up of the latest Newspoll :
Labor still has a clear election-winning lead on a two-party-preferred basis of 55 per cent to the Coalition's 45, and Kevin Rudd is well clear of Mr Howard as preferred prime minister.
But an eight-point narrowing in Labor's primary vote lead during the APEC meeting, and despite the Liberal Party's devastating leadership instability, will boost Coalition morale at this morning's crucial party meeting in Canberra.
They'll need it.
More than half of Howard's senior cabinet couldn't muster messages of support for the prime minister when he needed it the most. The Australian public shows more respect and support for Howard than his own government ministers do.
Also, Workchoices doesn't stink any less this morning than it did last week, or last month, despite the raft of new ads showing 'ordinary' Australian workers having epiphanies about why giving up overtime and penalty rates is actually good for them. Or something.
Howard now has to come up with a reasonable excuse as to why he won't call the federal election now. Or at least in the next week.
The Labor Party will shred him over the reasons why he is delaying the election. And so they should. Howard has no reason other than his own interests to put off the inevitable. The three years is up, the election is due.
Unless, of course, Howard knows something is coming that the rest of us don't yet know about.
Would Howard use military action on Iran as an excuse to delay the federal election he is surely going to lose?
Do you really think he would not use such a horror, to cancel the election, if he was given the chance or the option to do so?
Of course he would.