There are plenty of reasons not to like Australia's Prime Minister John Howard. A big one is that he refuses to sign the Kyoto treaty, as coal from his country (the world's largest exporter of the black stuff) dirties up the atmosphere. His often disgraceful rhetoric on immigration has helped keep him in power, and proved a big influence on Michael Howard's Tories at the last election here. But he's shown some welcome backbone on Zimbabwe, by telling Australia's World Cup-winning cricketers they can't go on tour there later this year. In doing so, he's given an example to governments around the world, including Britain.
Mr Howard's comments likening Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu PF mob to the Gestapo are spot on, and he's right to say a visit by Australia's cricketers would be a propaganda boost for Robert Mugabe's regime. But the main reason to applaud his standpoint is that he's promising to put his hand in his pocket to compensate Cricket Australia, for the loss of revenue they'll suffer if the matches don't go ahead at a neutral venue.
For politicians elsewhere to condemn Zimbabwe and, in the same sentence, claim that politics has no place in sport, just isn't good enough. By finding this practical solution, Mr Howard's shown how the problem should be handled.