For the fourth time in under 30 years, a conservative British prime minister has been brought down by Europe, with a possible fifth one to follow.
Mrs. Theresa May worked hard to deliver her dream of a “deal” with the EU, but failed miserably after three parliamentary votes. The British people voted for Brexit three years ago and are still waiting.
Her successor as prime minister must still deliver Brexit, with a deadline of October 31st. Wrong moves and bad decisions could bring him or her down, too.
It was a Conservative prime minister who took Britain into Europe, perhaps the greatest mistake Britain has ever made. It’s a form of justice that all four subsequent Conservative leaders have been brought down by Europe.
AUSTRALIA – THE WONDERFUL LAND DOWN UNDER
I’ve been in Australia for three weeks. A friend sent me a ticket. It was a wonderful trip. Not the first time I’ve been there (actually, the 5th), but the first time to visit without having to work. It was total relaxation.
And the Australians know how to relax. They are much more laid back, far less frenetic, and, I believe, enjoy life more because of it.
In explaining the difference between Australia and the United States, an Australian historian observed that while America was founded by pilgrims, Australia was founded by convicts. The Americans, striving to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, had nowhere to go but down; whilst the Australians, who threw a wild party when they arrived on Australia’s shores, had nowhere to go but up!
So, I had a great time – exclusively in small town Australia (Westbury in Tasmania, Wangaratta in Victoria, Junee in NSW; and outside of Kiama in NSW). This is the real Australia. Too many visitors spend all their time on the beaches of the Gold Coast, with a quick visit to the Great Barrier Reef, great to visit but you won’t learn anything about Australia there.
The days I spent in Wangaratta were spent in Ned Kelly country. He was the Jesse James of Australia, a horse thief and bank robber whose gang killed some policemen. He got himself hanged in November 1880, at the age of 25. As a criminal, he also got a considerable following, a Robin Hood figure who stood against authority.
Life in Wangaratta was beautiful. A coffee in the morning at a coffee shop called “Intermezzo” (yes, I actually drank coffee), followed by a visit to the town library (one of the best I’ve ever been in), followed by a pub lunch. There are only a few Starbucks in Australia – it wasn’t very successful. And there are no big pub chains, each one has its own distinct personality. We drank one day at the pub frequented by Ned Kelly. There, I had fish and chips (hake) and a dessert of sticky date pudding! Even the beer was exceptionally good. We also spent thirty minutes talking to the owner, who revealed that much of his business came from the local pig industry. They kill 3,500 pigs a day, which makes it the world’s biggest producer of pork products, mostly for the Chinese market. We had no idea it was there.
As a diabetic, I have to keep my blood sugar numbers within a range. I had no difficulty at all while in Australia, even with drinking a beer a day. It must be the fact that I was very relaxed!
While visiting Australia, the country was preparing for a general election. Opinion polls throughout showed Labor (the socialists) were winning, but, as in the US, the conservative (Liberal) party won. Pollsters seem to always get it wrong, probably because they ask the wrong questions. It may even be deliberate, an attempt to force people to vote Left.
Perhaps the people saw through all the promises being made by Labor (though the Liberals themselves made enough!). Bill Shorten, Labor leader, was promising this, that and the other, in a country of only 25 million people. Scott Morrison, leader of the Liberal Party, had a better grasp of what Australia’s economy needed.
I actually met One Nation party leader Pauline Hanson in the airport luggage area in Launceston, Tasmania. One Nation is a small party that is very much against mass immigration, which is changing the fabric of Australian society. 34% of Australians were born overseas, which is more than double the American figure. Most immigrants are settling in the big cities, which is adding to social problems. On the internet, I saw a discussion between her and a Muslim man with three wives, new to Australia. He explained how he had put all the welfare payments he received for the children into buying a house. When he had bought one, he wanted to start on a second one for his second wife. And so on for the third.
In contrast to the US, one issue that dominated was climate change. This is because television news is one sided (pro-Left) and they have made it the number one issue. Morning news programs could spend up to thirty minutes on the one issue, warning of dire consequences if nothing is done immediately. Australia already does more than most countries, at great cost and inconvenience to its people. For example, the ubiquitous plastic bags, so common in the US, have been withdrawn, and people have been told to take their own bags to the grocery store in which to carry their own groceries.
A generational divide was also apparent during the election, with young people much more concerned about climate change than older voters.
REMEMBERING THE PAST
Every year, on April 25th, Australia (and New Zealand) celebrate ANZAC Day. This day honors the memory of those who served in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, a vital contributory factor to the Allied victories in World Wars 1 & 2.
Although they contributed only 5% of the sum total of troops, the new nations were enthusiastic in their support of the British Empire. An Australian General, Sir John Monash, distinguished himself at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, receiving a knighthood for his services from King George V. As a Prussian Jew he faced a lot of opposition at home.
In both world wars, Australia fought from beginning to end, in contrast to the US, which only entered World War I near the end, and World War 2 after Pearl Harbor. The British Commonwealth nations fought with Britain from the moment war was declared. This “multitude of nations” comprised the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and, at the time, South Africa and Rhodesia. Together with Britain’s many colonies, they were the global superpower before the United States. “And he set Ephraim before Manasseh.” (Genesis 48:20) Many men fighting in the trenches firmly believed that they were the modern descendants of Ephraim fighting together in a just war. Even if you do not believe there is any biblical significance to their historic role, history shows they had a very significant and meaningful role at the time.
Since World War 2, these allies have increasingly drifted apart. Yet, there are no nations that are as similar, sharing a common cultural and political heritage. Perhaps its time to think about reviving the organization, as a separate entity from the Commonwealth, which is the 53-nation multicultural organization that does not have a military component.
They could certainly cooperate in military matters, at a time when the US is reducing its international commitments.
They could also cooperate on other meaningful challenges at this time. Australia, with its commitment in fighting global warming; New Zealand with their deep interest in the terrorist threats posed by social media; Canada, the country that coined the term multiculturalism could help solve the problems created by it; and Britain, whose two royal princes have done so much in the area of mental health.
They should not argue over who has the dominant role (this could rotate amongst the four), but they would collectively work together to address the most important issues of our time.
The Australian is the nation’s best newspaper, the only one with real news. It’s a Rupert Murdoch owned newspaper with a definite conservative slant.
I enjoyed reading it each day, even with coffee!
BACK TO THE US
When I arrived back in the US, the first thing I heard at the airport was a woman complaining about her wheelchair, which was delayed by five minutes. A couple of days later, at a doctor’s office, there was a similar incident, with a lady complaining that her subsidized public transport was late. Are we becoming a nation of complainers?
It was good to get back to America, but I sure do miss Australia. I think I need an annual Australian “fix.”