Say it loud - I'm elitist and proud

Friday, April 12, 2002


After seeing Tim Blair's site I thought I'd have a go at creating my own. He seemed supportive, but then emailed me:

Your site is cursed -- I've tried three times to mention it on my page, but
each time it gets chewed up by Blogger.

Then everything works fine again for a while, until I again try to mention your
site. Coincidence or evil?

Worried that I might be cursed, I got in touch with his sparring partner Gareth Parker who was happy to mention me. Thanks Gareth, and I'm happy to put you in my left hand column too.

Next comes Anne O'Brien. Within minutes of my starting Elitist, she emailed me;
I'm excited already! Bring on the elitism!

More proud elitism to come.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Where are you on the political compass? Take this test and find out.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Forget road rage - Sydney now has property rage. This incident happened just a few blocks away from my place.

I'm on the email list of a minor celebrity writer! Toby Young tells me (and no doubt many others):

Just a quick note to let you know that FilmFour have optioned the movie
rights to my book and commissioned me to write the screenplay. Amazingly,
Hugh Grant has already turned down the opportunity to play me. The Sunday
Telegraph ran a story about it yesterday which you can read here.

Just imagine - I exchange emails with someone who's personally offended Liz Hurley and Hugh Grant!

He also sends news of a literary function I don't think I can get to from Sydney in time:

For those of you who live in the [London] W12 area, I've organised a reading of local authors at the newly-opened branch of Books etc in the Shepherd's
Bush shopping centre this Thursday. It'll kick off at 7pm and should go on
until about 8pm. Apart from myself, the authors are:
* Patrick Neate (Twelve Bar Blues, Penguin £9.99)
* Nicholas Royle (Director's Cut, TimeWarnerBooks UK, £6.99)
* Daisy Waugh (The New You Survival Kit, HarperCollins, £9.99)
If you're interested in attending you can reserve a seat by calling

I've been a Toby Young fan ever since he and Julie Burchill founded The Modern Review, with its irresistible slogan 'Low Culture for Highbrows' in 1992. Later he ran the Spectator's website and showed his good taste by publishing several of my splenetic letters. But I can't see him being played by Hugh Grant - he looks more like Jimmy Somerville from the 80s gay band Bronski Beat. His book 'How to Lose Friends and Alienate People' only seems to be available in Australia from Dymocks.

Monday, April 08, 2002

Several letter writers to the Australian continue to miss the point about what's happening in the Middle East.

Chris Rowland rightly points out that in 1948 'the Jewish Palmah, Irgun, and Stern Gang groups were very much "terrorist" organisations by Israel's current reckoning (their actions included the killing of 96 people - Arab and Jew alike - when the King David Hotel was blown up and the killing and mutilation of British soldiers and the assassination of UN mediators)' and concludes, 'What did this "terrorism" get them? The state of Israel, of course.'

And Barbara Preston asks: 'what would have been the response if Britain had responded to IRA bombings in the same way as Israel has responded to bombings by Hamas and others?'

But Britain's Mandate period over Palestine lasted only thirty years, and was over non-Britons, at a time when Britain was pulling out of an Empire it could no longer afford. Northern Ireland, on the other hand, has a substantial community that regards itself as British - indeed, its attitude is, 'We'll fight anyone to stay British, even the British'. What worked against the British in Palestine won't work against them in Northern Ireland - so why should it work against the Israelis?

And, although they support a united Ireland, neither the Irish Government nor the SDLP (the main Nationalist party in the north) support the IRA's violent methods of bringing it about. They agree that acts like the Omagh bombing are crimes, not acts of war. Which Arab governments are saying that to Hamas?

Sunday, April 07, 2002

Could it be time for a new kind of imperialism?

Tony Blair's foreign policy guru Robert Cooper says:

'What is needed is a new kind of imperialism, one compatible with human rights and cosmopolitan values: an imperialism which aims to bring order and organisation but which rests today on the voluntary principle...

'The second form of postmodern imperialism might be called the imperialism of neighbours. Instability in your neighbourhood poses threats which no state can ignore. Misgovernment, ethnic violence and crime in the Balkans poses a threat to Europe. The response has been to create something like a voluntary UN protectorate in Bosnia and Kosovo.'