Say it loud - I'm elitist and proud

Friday, April 05, 2002

AHHH - forget the Middle East, wild koalas have returned to Sydney. But don't mess with them.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Regarding Tim Blair's comments in The Australian about The Guardian's Patrick Barkham, two lines from British comedies come to mind:

1. From Blackadder: 'Touched a nerve there, I think!'

2. From Dad's Army (Cpl. Jones): 'Don't paniiiic! Don't paniiiic!'

Barkham indeed misses the point that, while tact has never been Australians' strong point, that's actually a good thing - it's better to get things out into the open. The British way is to be like Basil Fawlty, being excruciatingly polite until you explode. And we're all talk anyway: the 'blow 'em out of the water' brigade would never have the guts to actually do it.

But it doesn't do to get too worked up about British hacks, as it just fuels their self-importance. In this case it was a Guardianista, but Tories are usually the worst offenders: I've lost count of the number of times Spectator or Telegraph writers have called Australians 'chippy' because we didn't like being patronised. They're not worth resenting. Who cares whether or not they like us?

The 'Don't paniiiic!' applies to our reaction to the boat people. By world standards our refugee problem is minuscule. Yes, the Woomera detainees have broken the law, but surely people with such pluck, daring, and a refreshing contempt for bureaucratic niceties are exactly the sort of people we want in Australia!

The Sydney Daily Telegraph's Piers Akerman spews out yet more anti-republican abuse. (See 'Critics of relics irrelevant' at bottom of page.) The Australian Republican Movement has been accused of 'elitism' and 'not trusting the people' - yet Piers assumes any Australian republic must be of the banana variety. What must HE think of his fellow Australians?

(Disclosure: I spent much of today at the ARM's Sydney Headquarters - a tiny office - putting letters in envelopes for the ARM's annual membership and fundraising campaign.)

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