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05 February, 2007

Land of Hopeless Tories

Amanda Vanstone is an Australian politician who seems to have made a career out of being a henchperson for the right-wing 'Liberal' government. Seemingly unpleasant and, being a right-wing politician, obviously having the morality of a snake, she has never struck me as especially insane - until now.

It seems that, for the past six years, Ms Vanstone has been writing the words to an Australian version of 'Land of Hope and Glory' - because she felt that another song 'with gravitas' was needed to fill that awkward gap at ceremonies between singing the national anthem and tucking into your thousand-dollar meal. In itself, this statement shows how far outside normal reality she and her cohorts are living. Most Australians find the national anthem an embarrassing joke. Barely one in a hundred of them knows the words to even the first verse. The need for another piece of such bombastic nonsense - even set to the fine music of the Elgar - is not one you would feel unless you too lived in the puffed-up-egosphere of Planet Tory.

If you like your poetry pompous, ungrammatical, childish and hypocritical, you should take a look at it. It was published in yesterday's News.com (in a very odd article, without any comment from anyone but Vanstone). If you've just eaten, you should probably give it a miss. That a grown woman could take six years to write this drivel is quite astonishing. I imagine a class-full of six-year-olds set an exercise of writing a verse parody of Tory philosophy could have come up with something similar (using better English) in about half an hour.

On the other hand, it is possible that I am misinterpreting what is in fact an extremely clever piece of ironical humour - intended mainly for the amusement of her cynical colleagues. The part about sharing the country with the 'first Australians' must have given them all a chuckle. (Remember it was 'Australia Day' just last week - what the Aboriginals here refer to as the 'Day of Mourning' because it celebrates the start of the European invasion of what was once their country.) But the bits about being such a happy multicultural society would have had them rolling in the aisles. Vanstone's last job - one she did with extreme vigour - was Minister for Immigration, during which she presided over Australia's disgraceful internment policy: a policy that saw hundreds of legitimate refugees (including small children) detained without trial, sometimes for years, in onshore and offshore internment camps.

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