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Bogans for the monarchy.

A ROYAL VISIT to Aus is always going to stir up the republicans and the progressives of the media. It means they can have a snitty hate-fest about conservatives and common folk, spiced with a bit of anti-British xenophobia. It’s particularly the case now when polls show that support for the monarchy is higher than it’s been for decades, outweighs republican sentiment and is largest among the young. That last fact must rankle most, since it means there’s a whole generation growing up who’ll still be monarchists and middle-aged when the republicans are in their obscure and dribbling dotage unable to interest even the most junior of local reporters in their views.

The bitterness is concealed in their reporting, but only just. Just listen to David Marr, for example, who works for the Guardian: “They stride through this place,” he sneers at William and Kate in a tv clip, “not really from the pages of history but from the pages of women’s magazines.”

He goes on to explain, in the same offended but supercilious manner, that the visit is just a PR campaign in which “getting the photos” is the thing, because there’s no slicker PR business than the Palace (thank you, Dave, we’ll take that as a compliment back here in Blighty). All this is said with a serious face, as if no one had realised it before. Or actually cares.

I don’t think Dave would be any happier if these people did feel something more profound in their adulation of the royals. It would be harder to sneer at them if they did.

I don’t think Dave would be any happier if these people did feel something more profound in their adulation of the royals. It would be harder to sneer at them if they did. I think he’s fine with feeling superior by calling the visitors mere celebrities who appear in women’s magazines, inviting us to assume that the readers of such mags are just bogans with breasts and no brains. So full marks, David, for being both a sexist and a bit of a snob.

That casual sexism (and you have to imagine the surprise with which I am writing this) is just so old-fashioned, so Aussie male. But it’s part of the progressive failure, this assumption of being thoroughly modern coupled with the inability to stay up to date with everyone else, aggravated by the desire to keep things stuck in some politically approved past where the bad guys are clearly defined as those who disagree with you.

That’s why the media now talk sanctimoniously of “Uluru” and either refer to it as “previously known as” Ayer’s Rock or not all all. What better way to parade your correct credentials than by reverting to the pre-colonial past? That’s why they’re happy to talk about the royals’ obligatory meeting with Aboriginal peoples, however pointless and patronising the spectacle for all concerned. For the bien pensants of Australia the cultural cringe to the mother country has gone, only to be replaced with an embarrassing, sentimental, self-flagellating abasement before Australia’s very own victim group.

So it’s no surprise that at Ayer’s Rock the royal couple should be given a “traditional” greeting by a bare-breasted old woman covered in ash, shaking a stick behind her head as she does a rather minimal kind of dance, while William is presented with a piece of highly polished wood by some old bloke with colourful paintings on his chest and a pot belly.

To the progressives, though, this type of tradition is authentic and acceptable – for two reasons. It’s the culture of the oppressed, and it’s not western. They really get off on that. It’s a rebuke to modern day Australians for their brutal past, a sin with which they can be berated endlessly, whilst the Aborigines themselves (or those that choose to live as their forefathers did) can be condemned to lives of public subsidy, poverty, drunkenness, illiteracy, domestic violence and child abuse. But they’re endlessly patronisable, eternally guiltless and forever without responsibility for their own plight. The perfect victims. No wonder the left loves them.

The Aboriginal people greeting the royals are indeed stepping out of the pages of history no less than Prince William is. He can trace his ancestry back a thousand years, just as they probably can. It’s just that he lives in the present and is happy to feature in women’s mags along with his wife and chubby child, much to the disgust of the Aussie elite who can’t do a damn thing about it. The Aborigines in their ancestral homeland, however, are still living in the past. Which is exactly where Australia’s progressives want them to stay.

Michael Blackburn.

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