It being that time of year, the pond would like to raise a glass.
No not the sort of glass the servile, sold out RSL and Peter Cosgrove like to serve - the pond understands that the military continues to suffer from the alcoholism within its ranks, and the pond remembers the scarifying life of the grandfather who returned from the Somme a broken and shattered man, and a fierce alcoholic and wife beater when he was on the turps ...
Yes in due course she enjoyed the benefits of Legacy, but at some fair price, and to see Legacy getting into bed with grog would have had her revolving very fast in her grave. Though she liked a medicinal brandy in milk at bedtime, she fastidiously avoided beer and loathed alcohol in general and noisy pubs in particular.
And besides the pond has imitated grandma and done almost a year without touching said grog, so it'll have to be a glass of ginger beer, as befits the German traditions in the family - Cascade makes a nice drop, though the shameless rip off peddled by Aldi isn't half bad for the price.
And then there's the problem of who to raise the glass to.
Well who better than Simpson and his donkey?
Sadly it turns out that Simpson - and who knows, maybe even his donkey - was a deviant, ratbag deserter and radical trade unionist who thought what England needed was a decent revolution:
I often wonder when the working men of England will wake up and see things as other people see them. What they want in England is a good revolution and that will clear some of these Millionaires and Lords and Dukes out of it and then with a Labour Government they will almost be able to make their own conditions.
Now the pond doesn't, couldn't in all good conscience, share Simpson's politics. After all, one of the prouder boasts of the pond is having been blackballed by a union for many weeks, and been the source of much industrial contention. A right old Elia Kazan ... (and the union folded).
But Simpson knew where he stood. He didn't think much of war and he hated guns, and the work he did was self-appointed:
When a long-running campaign to award Kirkpatrick the Victoria Cross reignited in 2006, heritage consultant Graham Wilson wrote in a scathing commentary: “ ... Simpson (Kirkpatrick) absented himself from his unit, refused to report to said unit, and created for himself a job that was far easier and, despite all that has been said about the perils of his job, far safer than carrying wounded men down Monash and Shrapnel Gullies as part of a bearer team”. Another fact the nationalist legend-makers omit is that Kirkpatrick preferred the company of Indian soldiers to that of his fellow Anzacs, choosing to camp at night with the 6th Indian Mountain Battery. (here)
Where it truly gets funny is to see that pathetic poodle, that conspicuous twat, Christopher 'the Robbin" Pyne, still handing out the Simpson Prize, named in honour of said deviant, ratbag revolutionary trade unionist:
In that bit of preening peacock puffery, here, Pyne posed, poised for a good year of war mongering:
“The Centenary of Anzac will be this nation’s most important period of commemoration. For students in particular, knowing where we fought, when we fought and the values we fought for is critical to understanding the Anzac story,” Senator Ronaldson said.
But then the poodle is only following on in the footsteps of that abject goose Brendan Nelson, and before him, John Howard, who saw in Simpson a simple-minded myth he could flog to the nation - hence the prize in his name.
Peter Cochrane told that story here:
The Prime Minister was adamant that government had a role to play in pressing this cause into schools. Curriculum materials for Anzac history were lavishly funded as the Department of Veterans' Affairs was transformed into an educational resource facility centred on the idea that our national history is essentially a story of heroic military engagements abroad, none more important than the founding narrative at Gallipoli in 1915. The lucrative Simpson essay prize was established for year 9 and 10 students in 1999 - with prizes including trips to Gallipoli - and in 2004 the PM was persuaded that "values" were flagging in public schools and Simpson would do nicely as the official icon for the restoration.
The National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools was released in May 2005 by the Minister for Education Brendan Nelson. The nine values the government wanted taught in Australian schools were headed by "care and compassion" and listed on a big poster that schools were required to display prominently to receive a share of $33 billion in federal funding. The values were superimposed over an image of Simpson and the donkey rescuing a wounded soldier. Beneath the icon was an out-of-context quotation from nineteenth-century English novelist George Eliot: "Character is destiny."
The Minister for Education hyped up the cause. He said the story of the unarmed Simpson and his donkey bearing a wounded soldier to safety had become a legend that represented everything that Australia aspired to be. He said the values listed on the poster must be taught in all schools, Islamic schools included, and "If people don't want to accept and embrace those values then they ought to clear off, I don't care where they're from".
There's a lot more in the piece, but the stench of sheer ignorance, and cynical hypocrisy is too much for the pond to bear this day.
Though we should at least honour the extent to which Nelson made a complete goose of himself:
Questioning the use of Simpson in the values push stirred Minister Nelson to dizzy heights. "He [Simpson] represents everything at the heart of what it means to be Australian," he said, and "everything that we should strive to be as a nation." He said that under no circumstances would he remove the image from the values project: "Our fundamental value is that we will place the interest and welfare of other human beings ahead of our own - that's what Simpson and his donkey represents," he insisted.
As Cochrane noted, Nelson's Muslim-bashing ways were remarkable for the way they dealt with the realities of actual history - as if the Turks didn't suffer hordes of yobbos turning up in their country with remarkable tolerance - imagine the same happening at Bondi. Oh wait, it does but they're English and that's another story.
So what was Simpson/Kirkpatrick on about? Well let's have another grab, a morsel, a gobbet for study, from Cochrane:
The most persistent misuse concerns Simpson's politics. He was a class-conscious radical, as the cache of letters analysed in chapter one [of Simpson and the Donkey: The Making of a Legend] clearly reveals. Anyone seriously in search of the so-called "real man" has to subject these letters to the most rigorous scrutiny, accepting painful engagement with evidence that might not be welcome and weighing the man in all the complexity that resides within those precious letters. The classic case of denial and distortion in this regard was the unctuous Sir Irving Benson who, in the 1960s, set a standard for bowdlerisation that I naively thought would never be matched. But I was wrong. Since 1992 the politicians and military historians who have made a hobbyhorse of Simpson have continued to operate in the Benson tradition, professing a passionate interest in the "real man" while systematically evading serious engagement with his letters. Simpson is rendered a caricature consistent with their own agendas. The biographical opportunity to understand a radical seaman from northern England in the contexts of his travels, his war and, indeed, his writing, is entirely and happily passed over.
Benson, it should be noted, was aware of Simpson's letters, and simply ignored them and what they represented. So when the ADB, here, in its biography, suggests that Benson presented "a selective, heroic interpretation of the Australian legend", they're being exceptionally kind. He was not so much an historian as a professional Methodist peddler of lies and distortions and mystifications and egregious muths...
And yet they never give up, these unctuous frauds, these posing preening ponces, with Pyne at it again in the Australian Financial Review here, happily behind the paywall so no one has to give a toss for the thoughts of a tosser.
On the eve of Anzac Day, Education Minister Christopher Pyne has renewed his push to give Australia’s military history a higher profile in the school curriculum and accused the left of opposing the commemoration of war dead.
Uh huh. It turns out that the poodle is actually a scab and a strike breaker too, and he's breached the AFR paywall.
You can read his simpering, mendacious thoughts at his website, under the header Crucible of Nationhood.
It's all the usual stuff, mealy mouthed and hypocritical, sanctimonious and with an offensive piety, and with the continuing intent to re-write history (and with it, a fair share of typos):
With the development of the national curriculum there has been some debate about whether important national days like Anzac Day and Remembrance Day glorify war and should be given less prominence in the classroom. There is a fringe view within the left that believes and advocates that Australian war memorials should be shut down and Anzac Day commemorations cancelled because they glamorise war. They say students should be taught to feel ashamed of the sacrifice of our forebears.
In fact, early drafts of the national history curriculum seemed to treat significant days like Anzac Day and Australia Day with Far from glamorising war, remembering those who died on Anzac Day highlights the horror of war. embarrassment, or give them equal significance with other days on the national calendar, such as Harmony Day, that while important are not of equal weight or as historically important.
That is one of the reasons the Coalition in government has implemented a review of the national curriculum to examine whether it gives these days of Australian historical significance appropriate weight in the classroom.
Ah yes, another attempt to whitewash and revise the truth and hide it in the cabbage patch.
And yet Pyne couldn't resist mentioning Simpson, the mythical one, the one that has absolutely nothing to do with the real and historical one, the one seized on by the federal Liberals to celebrate the myth, and never mind the lies involved:
Just recently, I was honoured to present to eight young Australians the 2014 Simpson Prize for writing an Anzac-inspired essay, chosen out of 920 entries.
The prize will allow them to travel to Gallipoli to attend this year's Anzac Day commemorations.
That'd be the Simpson Prize for radical trade unionists and deserters.
What a disgraceful fraud Pyne is, but okay, let's have the real history taught, along with the reality that likely enough Simpson would have been ever so pleased to see the poodle Pyne amongst the first put up against the wall and shot ...
Let's have radical trade unionism and the Wobblies and world revolution front and centre in the history classes in Australian schools ...
Discuss in five hundred words. Students may be awarded extra points if they consider the nature of armchair generals, and how well they achieved their recent missions in Iraq and Afghanistan ...
(Below: an oldie from First Dog)
These days of course the Dog is over at The Graudian, here. Who knows how Crikey is doing - the relentless scamming they send to former subscribers suggests they really know how to alienate - but the Dog seems to be doing fine, if now inclined to laziness and intermittent postings.
At least he's dealing with that prime unwashed potato, Greg 'let me wiki it for you' Hunt: