It’s been a while since I’ve posted, primarily because I didn’t see much point in recording the various world events, be they political patches, royal matches or terrorist dispatches. But as I’ve had a few pings from people, it seems appropriate that I clarify my position on all issues.
First, The Wedding.
As an Australian republican, I am disturbed by the global ardor over displays of obscene wealth as depicted by British royalty. Indeed I regard all royalty as anachronistic. The British royal family are good for tourism in the UK, and perhaps for raising awareness of some public interest issues, but not much else as far as I’m concerned. I have no problem with William and Kate – indeed I think they are both fabulous ambassadors of many of the good things produced here in the UK, and I think they are probably more connected with reality than much of the rest of the aristocracy. However I have precious little time for those royals who espouse knowledge of such things as architecture, genetic engineering, and genetically modified foods, but in reality do not understand them at all. But in the end any of these views are far less important than democratic process. With all due respect to young William and Kate, I don’t want Australia’s head of state to be determined by hereditary succession. It’s undemocratic and utterly inappropriate. End of story.
On second issue, of Osama bin Laden’s killing, I probably have even less to say. Am I glad he is caught? I suppose so, yes, because any form of fundamentalism is dangerous. Was he really still relevant within al Qaede? I have no idea. Possibly as a figurehead, but how much more influence he had on day-to-day operations is virtually impossible for intelligence gathering professionals to calculate, let alone ignorant me. What I do object to, however, are the scenes of jubilation and celebration at his killing. Those images of vengeful exultation, cheering and baying for blood were, to me, appalling. Not only are they likely to incite retaliation, but the very act of celebration of another’s killing is vile. It seems to me an entirely uncivilised, primitive act, bespeaking a time where savagery and violence, rather than reason, and consideration of the interests of the many over the few were the defining forces of a culture. So much for democracy. Those celebrations were, at best, barbarism.
And finally, on the issue of the forthcoming referendum in the UK on voting systems (at the risk of repeating myself) so much for democracy. The latest opinion polls are showing that the No campaign is ahead in the UK. So rather than producing a fairer means of electing political representatives, the UK people are going to stand by an outdated, and unfair voting system. I’ve been dismayed by the dreadful communication of the value of Alternative Vote (AV) and by the manner in which mainstream media have completely and utterly failed to take the No campaign to task over the ridiculous claims being made about AV, including the need for counting systems (totally irrelevant and absolutely unnecessary), the complexity of voting (people can, in fact, put numbers in boxes just as easily as they can a cross), and the claim that AV votes get counted more than once (utterly untrue). Extraordinarily, the very best communication of the value of AV came from a LOLcats-esque video, created by an AV enthusiast, not by the Yes campaign itself. While I love this video, I’m terrified that this is the best communication of the value of AV on offer. People of the UK: you have one chance to make your voting system fairer, and I can’t believe you’re going to stuff it up.
And that’s me done for now. Hope this isn’t too offensive for my Readers, but hope also, that you understand that I will always want to stand up for what I believe is just and democratic.