Friday, April 25, 2014

The pond raises a glass of ginger beer ...

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:


  1. DP - I give you a forgotten story of Australia's first action in WW1. Yep war is brutal and nasty and unimaginably violent, but it's worth remembering the history, maybe so we don't repeat it (some hope).. Also Australia's first submarine - AE1 - was lost off Rabaul in this action. There's a memorial to the crew at Bitapaka which is a most beautiful place.

  2. Well, I think Simpson does represent True Australians (trade marked), skiving off, hating on the toffs etc are all things we should be striving for!
    BTW Dorothy, I recommend Bundaberg Ginger Beer, a truly fine Germanic drop for the non-drinker!

    1. Yes GlenH, you're right it's a good drop, indeed a better drop, but if you're a cheapskate like the pond, the Aldi drop is a rough equivalent.
      Of course it's a shameless rip off, from the lookalike packaging that rips off the Bundaberg label and colours to its pretentious claims of genuine ginger, but it's not a bad rip. It's coarser to the taste, but it's also half the price, and it's not sweet like Saxbys or totally sweet and nasty, like Stone's which bears as much resemblance to real ginger beer as the Bolter does to climate scientists.
      Sad to say, the pond's German heritage seems to have come from penny pinching peasants ... which makes Aldi a natural fit ...

  3. Speaking of alienation, rhetorically, again, who, ultimately, would win out of Gandhi and a Lightning II in a Red Queen race?

    1. If Gandhi did spend a whole night in bed alone with his voluptuous niece without an erection, if he wasn't just spinning a yarn, then a Lightning ll may just not have a hope of pulling it off. Gandhi was a fast starter too...

  4. I just hope the poor little mites who won the Simpson competition don't call past Santorini on their way home. There's a little old man there who makes his living by having his donkeys carry tourists up and down the hillside. Pyne's treasures might mistake him for the Risen Simpson.

    1. Russ - he's been replaced by a cable car.

    2. We had the choice of cable car or donkeys several years ago and chose the former: the donkeys were pretty rank...
      Re Simpson, my father went off to WW2 as a stretcher bearer in the 2/9 field ambulance, wanting 'to do his bit', but not sure he could fire a shot in anger. He went off for 'king and country' and in fact retained his love of royalty (and a new love for Menzies) when he got back 4 1/2 years later, 3 1/2 of them in Changi. He did however lose his enthusiasm for the English ruling classes more generally, particularly as they were represented in the British Army. He wasn't alone in that... Can't say I ever heard him say anything about Simpson.

  5. What's fatty Hockidonian talking about? "The Age of Entitlement"? To what? to ex-Minister's pensions and lobbyists kick-backs?

    Hell I only paid tax for 40 years and now he wants to close my Medicare Local (which has kept my parents alive)?

    He should go back to Palestine. No wait, that's what Bolt's ADL supporters say. Bugger I'm confused.

    1. Maybe we could reduce his intake of Big Macs and chips to help revive the Australian economy.

      But he has competition.

      "“Completely rebuilding traditional streetscapes can provide more housing and commercial space using the same amount of land,” said Mr Pickles. That could mean blocks of homes standing five or six storeys high mixed with traditional terraced streets"

      Stack 'em deep and stack 'em high (the poor that is)

  6. More Bolt comments - just to show the ADL connection.

    Bolt Comments ‏@boltcomments 18h

    once they settle here they then go back to their original country on holidays, so it must have been very bad for them originally

    Bolt Comments ‏@boltcomments 17h

    95% of all boat people are unemployed after five years

    Bolt Comments ‏@boltcomments 17h

    The UNHCR doesnt want these so called refugees sent to Cambodia, they want them sent here Because Cambodia doesnt have Centerlink

    Bolt Comments ‏@boltcomments 17h

    True refugees do not turn up on the doorstep with designer T shirts and Armani handbags..................

    Bolt Comments ‏@boltcomments Apr 21

    the government could open up the medical profession (one of our country’s most privileged socialist monopolies) to more new entrants.

    Bolt Comments ‏@boltcomments Apr 21

    People might think twice about having the doctor stick the bandaid on rather than doing it themselves.

    Bolt Comments ‏@boltcomments Apr 21

    How many of your ‘poor’ people drink, smoke, have an iPhone or watch Foxtel?

    Bolt Comments ‏@boltcomments Apr 21

    Tony Abbott … behaved like the true statesman he is, leading our delegation with pride and poise

    Bolt Comments ‏@boltcomments Apr 21

    Will Rudd’s/ Gillard’s 50000 illegals be paying [the GP co-payment]? Will those who tick the correct “ethnic” box be charged?

  7. While I greatly admire your columns - the first thing I read in the morning - quoting anything Graham Wilson says about Simpson is like quoting Hockey on economics - a pile of loaded bullshit. Says Wilson: "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.” Says Monash: "Private Simpson and his little beast earned the admiration of everyone at the upper end of the valley. They worked all day and night throughout the whole period since the landing, and the help rendered to the wounded was invaluable. Simpson knew no fear, and moved unconcernedly amid shrapnel and rifle-fire, steadily carrying out his self-imposed task day by day, and he frequently earned the applause of the personnel for his many fearless rescues of wounded men from areas subject to rifle and shrapnel-fire." In this same report, written the day after Simpson was killed, Monash described Simpson's work as "perilous", and said he later said Simpson was worth a hundred men to him," presumably by the example he set. Who to believe? Big-noting revisionist Wilson trying to flog a book in 2013, or John Monash writing in 1915?

  8. Setting aside the earliest instances of “Anzac Day” as fund-raising events (Adelaide 13/10/1915, in lieu of “Eight Hour Day”; Melbourne 17/12/1915, Anzac Remembrance Day, plus several country efforts around the same date) the origins of the Anzac Day which has evolved to become our contemporary extravaganza seems to have originated in Brisbane at a public meeting held on the evening of 10 January 1916. The meeting followed several promo notices published in the Brisbane Courier on preceding days. The last of these articles contains an account of the meeting which, to me, belies the headings, “Honouring The Brave./Celebration Of Anzac Day./Queensland Leads The Way./Major-General M’Cay’s Stirring Address”. It seems to have been a recruiting campaign to encourage more lambs to the slaughter which was then shaping on the Western Front (where my great uncle was killed 15 months after having survived Fromelles). M’Cay rocks into town, inspected the troops and at this public meeting invokes patriotism in the name of the Empire to stir the wary into enlisting.

    An account of the origins of the dawn service, subject to the usual disagreements, may be found temporarily on the AWM website:


  9. Whoops!

    This is the last link:



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