Say it loud - I'm elitist and proud

Saturday, June 08, 2002

I CAN understand Mark Steyn wanting to keep the monarchy: after all, it's one of the few things that differentiates Canadians from Americans.

But he makes a mistake - shared by both the expat republican Robert Hughes and expat monarchist Clive James - in seeing the "No" vote in the 1999 republic referendum as a vote of confidence in the monarchy. "Mystic chords" had nothing to do with it.

The "No" coalition was made up of monarchists who wanted no change, and radical direct-election republicans who thought the minimalist model being proposed didn't go far enough. Their slogan wasn't "Vote No to the Republic" but "Vote No to THIS Republic" and "Vote No to the Politicians' Republic". Oddly, most of those pushing the "You can't trust politicians, and this is the politicians' republic" line were...politicians themselves!

Most Australians wanted, and still want, a republic of some sort. As Malcolm Turnbull, then head of the Australian Republican Movement, put it on referendum night: "To those republicans who voted No thinking they will soon get another chance to vote [on a different model], I am afraid you have been had." He was right. The people wanted a republic, but lost it.

Ah, we showed 'em, those elitists. Er...but showed 'em what, exactly? How easily we were had?

And then there's Timbo: "These people are deeply unpopular, and if they aren't, quickly become so once they start talking."

We may have been unpopular, Tim, but we were still right. So-called "economic rationalists" aren't all that popular either - so can we expect to see you speaking up for popular pieces of economic irrationalism, like huge increases in industry protection? Then you'd sound like Phil Cleary.

I actually do believe in "mystic chords" - but tell me, Tim, do you have any for the Windsors? Alec Campbell meant more to most Australians than the Queen Mother.

Come on, Tim, and you too, Miranda: use your journalistic powers for good instead of evil, and make the republic popular. As journos with major newspapers you're already members of an elite. Come out of the closet and admit it.

Friday, June 07, 2002

SOME RECENT Google searches that have found me:

'who else hates Miranda Devine'
'french property alpes maritimes sale'

And, most bizarrely of all:

'porn and alec campbell'

Obviously my saucy WW1 French postcard tickled somebody's fancy.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

DROWNING IN A SEA OF WORDS. Tim Dunlop has sent a reply to my points below about his attacks on the 'Third Way'. The full monty is available on request, with his responses to me in red and my responses to his responses in green.

The gist is that he seems to believe market forces are inherently bad, so any accomodation with them is fundamentally flawed. I don't - I think we can use them where they work, or not, as the case may be.

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

IN THE days and weeks after September 11, professional critics of America were saying 'America brought this on itself'. I'm reminded of the sign waved in an anti-American demonstration in Pakistan: 'America ask yourself why you are so hated'.

Funny how things change. Now professional critics of America like 'literary hit man Tariq Ali' - recently appearing at the Sydney Writers' Festival - are saying it's actually the West that hates Muslims.

The Egyptian writer Sherif Hetata claimed that 'The West had carefully constructed a "psychology of hatred" towards Muslims, stereotyping them as a "terrorist, fanatical, backward, savage" race in order to go to war against them.'

But if this sterotype of Muslims exists, whose fault is it? When members of the PLO started hijacking planes in the 70s, they did it to get world attention for the Palestinian cause. Well, they got attention all right, but the wrong kind.

I don't think the East Timorese ever planted bombs in Jakarta. And the ANC tried non-violence for 50 years before turning to armed struggle against the apartheid regime.

The Palestinians have a legitimate cause. When are they going to get a bit more media-savvy?