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A 'sliding doors' moment already haunting North Melbourne

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 15/04/2021 - 2:00pm in

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A 'sliding doors' moment already haunting North Melbourne

North Melbourne's sad scoreline so far this season may have been different had the club aggressively pursued John Longmire, one of AFL's best coaches, writes Ronny Lerner.

LET ME START by saying that Australian Football League's (AFLDavid Noble could very well turn out to be a fine coach for North Melbourne (Kangaroos).

And if ex-North Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw ever wanted to have another crack at the caper in future, he has every chance of becoming a success too. But, of course, in both instances, the jury is still very much out.

One man who is a known quantity, though, is Sydney Swans boss John Longmire.

Two years after coach Brad Scott was given his marching orders by the Kangaroos, it’s hard not to think what could have been for the struggling club had they made a more aggressive pursuit of Longmire — one of the best coaches in the AFL.

And make no mistake, the 2012 premiership coach, who has guided the Swans to three grand finals, was very much gettable. With just one year left on his contract at the time – which these days is club code for, "we might not be too sure about this bloke going forward" – Longmire was being sounded out by North Melbourne.

Longmire to the Kangaroos made a lot of sense. He is a favourite son of the club, having played 200 games, kicked 511 goals (third all-time at North Melbourne), won a best-and-fairest, a Coleman Medal and, importantly, a premiership in 1999 with them.

In a memorable interview with Fox Footy’s AFL 360 program in July 2019, the behind-the-scenes tug of war for his services became apparent.

Asked who he thought he would be coaching in season 2020, Longmire responded:

“Well, we’ll have to wait and see. I’m absolutely contracted to the North... to the Sydney Swans Football Club.”

Yes, his old club was certainly on his mind.

Was he using that interview as leverage to add pressure on the Swans to get him the long-term deal he wanted? Possibly. In the end, it might have worked, because Sydney eventually caved and added three years onto his deal to tie him to the club until the end of 2023.

North’s offer to Longmire was substantial — reportedly $6 million over five years. But was it enough? After all, this is one of the very best coaches in the competition that we’re talking about.

As is the way in the modern game of trading and free agency, if you want to extricate a contracted player – or coach in this case – from his current club, you have to pay “overs”. If the Kangas were absolutely fair dinkum about luring Longmire down to Arden Street, the figure should have been closer to $10 million. This was a once-in-a-lifetime, generational opportunity that could have drastically changed the fortunes of the club.

The first four weeks of this season have provided another example of how good he has been at using and developing young talent for over a decade. On the backs of Chad Warner, Errol Gulden, Braeden Campbell, Sam Wicks, Justin McInerney, Logan McDonald and Oliver Florent, the Swans have been the surprise packet of 2021 — sitting near the top of the ladder with a 4-0 record after only managing five wins all year last season.

And let’s not forget their 2016 grand final side featured no fewer than nine players picked up in the rookie draft. 

Compare Sydney to North, who sit at the bottom of the table, winless after four games — their first victory doesn’t even look like it’s on the horizon. Now, I’m not suggesting Longmire would’ve ensured an undefeated start to the year for the Kangas, but such is his coaching acumen, you can safely bet they’d be putting up much more of a fight than they have been in the last couple of seasons.

Imagine how good the Kangaroos would look if Longmire had the likes of Jy Simpkin, Jaidyn Stephenson, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Tom Powell, Bailey Scott, Tarryn Thomas, Charlie Lazzaro and Will Phillips at his disposal.

Ultimately, North hired interim coach Shaw as a full-time coach and after he walked away from the job last year in unfortunate circumstances to deal with mental health issues, Noble succeeded him.

But the Swans aren’t the only team flying early in 2021. The Western Bulldogs, Melbourne Demons and Adelaide Crows have all burst out of the blocks. The Dogs are 4-0 for the first time since 2008; the Demons are 4-0 for the first time since 1994 and the reigning wooden-spooner Crows (3-1) have already matched their 2020 win tally in an extraordinary turnaround.

Port Adelaide (3-1) look like they’ll be thereabouts again in September, especially after their thrilling two-point win over reigning premier Richmond (Tigers) last week. While top-four fancies West Coast Eagles (2-2) and Geelong Cats (2-2) are experiencing some early struggles, like the Tigers (2-2). The panic button shouldn’t be pushed just yet for Richmond while the Eagles and Cats will be bolstered by key players returning from injury.

It’s still hard to get a read on Carlton (2-2) and Fremantle (2-2), who looks like a five-goal better team in Perth, while St Kilda (2-2) in many respects saved their season from falling into the abyss following a sensational 53-point turnaround against the Eagles in round four.

Youthful teams like Essendon (1-3) and Hawthorn (1-3) have shown very promising signs without reward in their win tallies, while Greater Western Sydney (1-3) showed there is still some fight left in them after their stunning five-goal defeat of Collingwood (Magpies) at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

The Magpies (1-3) look like a team going nowhere; Gold Coast (1-3) continue to struggle to deal with injuries to key players and the Brisbane Lions (1-3) are flirting with danger. They should definitely still make finals, but they had better get a move on because if their loss column continues to grow, they will have a huge battle on their hands, regardless of how much star power their lineup possesses.

However, Brisbane’s AFL Women's (AFLW) team are in a much better spot after qualifying for the 2021 grand final on Saturday 17 April.

After falling short in 2017 and 2018, will it be a case of third time lucky for the Lions in this rematch of the inaugural 2017 premiership decider?

Their opponents, Adelaide, will also be hoping third time is a charm after taking out the 2017 and 2019 flags. A victory at Adelaide Oval on the weekend would cement their status as the most dominant team in the competition’s five-year history. Despite how impressive the Lions have been, it’s going to be hard to tip against coach Matthew Clarke’s side.

Ronny Lerner has been a sports and music journalist/editor since 2006. Follow Ronny on Twitter @RonnyLerner.

Australian football's future: how best to maintain the greater interest achieved in recent decades

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 08/04/2021 - 7:25am in

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Just recently, Sam Kerr, Australia's highest paid female footballer, signed a lucrative contract with Chelsea reportedly worth around $2 million for a two-and-a-half year deal.

Disabled Girl Gets Bionic Arms Based on Movie ‘Alita’s’ Heroine

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/04/2021 - 8:02pm in

Okay, I’m sorry I haven’t put anything up for the past week or so. It’s the usual reasons, I’m afraid: I’ve been busy with other things and for the most part, I simply haven’t found the week’s news inspiring. I felt there was precious little I could add to the excellent coverage and analyses given by Mike and Zelo Street. And so, rather than simply repeating what they had to say, I preferred to keep silent. But there are some stories that do need further comment, and I certainly intend to cover them. But before I do, here’s a more positive, rather heartwarming piece I found on YouTube.

It was put up by the tech company, Open Bionics, which makes state of the art, and very stylish, prosthetic limbs. Narrated by Hollywood director James Cameron, it tells how the company created a pair of superb artificial arms for British teenager Tilly Lockey. Lockey had lost her arms from septicaemia caused by meningitis. But, as Cameron shows, she had never let her disability hold her back, and the video shows Ms. Lockey as a junior school girl painting using an artificial arm. Cameron’s best known as the director of such hits as Aliens, The Terminator, Terminator 2, Avatar and Titanic, but he was also the producer of the film Alita – Battle Angel. Based on the Manga of the same name, Alita is the story of a mysterious cyborg girl, found by a doctor rummaging around the rubbish dump below an airborne city in which Earth’s rich and powerful live, far above ordinary masses, who live in the city below it. The doctor repairs the girl, who has lost her memory. Slowly Alita begins to recover bits of her history, joins the other cyborg players in a murderous sports race, attempts to become one of the cyborg warriors fighting crime and evil in this future world, and is forced to confront the villains controlling this new society from the floating city above it.

Cameron points out that cybernetic limbs are expensive, but the company is working to make them affordable. They’re also trying to make them attractive, which is why they’ve based those they’ve give to Tilly on the arms of Alita’s heroine. As well as getting the arms, the girl also got to attend the film’s premier.

I have a feeling Open Bionics might be based in Bristol. If I’m right, they used to be part of the cybernetics lab at the University of the West of England, which has done some impressive robotics research. The lab set up a commercial company to produce artificial limbs based on characters from Science Fiction movies.

As for Alita, I think it got mixed reviews. Some critics were spooked by the character’s large eyes, but I think that was simply following the artistic conventions of Manga comics and translating it to a live action film. Some critics said that while it wasn’t that good, it was actually far better than some of the rubbish being produced by Hollywood at the time. I’ve got it on video and liked it. There are rumours of a sequel being made, which would be great if they were true. But unfortunately the Coronavirus lockdown has meant that many Hollywood projects have had to be put on hold. The release of Denis Villeneuve’s much-awaited version of Dune has been postponed to October, when hopefully the cinemas will re-open.

The video’s obviously a piece of corporate promotion, but it’s great that the company and its talented engineers are working to make technologically impressive artificial limbs at affordable prices, and that they’ve given them to this spirited young lady. I have a feeling she’s also one of the women featured on the Shake My Beauty YouTube channel, which features other disabled women talking about life with their prosthetic limbs. While also demonstrating that having mechanical arms and legs certainly doesn’t make them less beautiful or capable of enjoying normal, physical activities including sports.

Is Sports Integrity Australia right to oppose Shayna Jack’s reduced penalty for testing positive to a banned PED?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 23/03/2021 - 8:14am in

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For the hardliners, there is no excuse or sympathy for a positive drug test. According to Dick Pound, former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, 'Everybody who's caught doping says I have no idea...'

Tom Mayhew Skewering the Lies about Benefit Claimants with Laughter

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/03/2021 - 6:47am in

Okay, I finally stayed up last night to listen to Radio 4’s Tom Mayhew Is Benefits Scum. I blogged about this programme a little while ago when I first read about it in the Radio Times. I said that it looked like it was worth listening to, as it seemed that it would tell the truth about what it’s really like to live on benefits. This is as opposed to the various ‘poverty-porn’ documentaries like Benefits Street, that seek to portray everyone on welfare as a scrounger. Unfortunately, it’s on at 11.00 pm on Wednesday evenings, which is a bit past my usual bedtime. But last night I actually managed to stay up and listen to it.

It’s not long, only a quarter of an hour in length, and mixes staged recreations of meetings with Jobcentre staff and benefits advisors, and stand-up, observational comedy based on Mayhew’s own experience of the benefits system. He also had a guest performer, Francesca Inez, a disabled woman, who gave her own perspective on how unfair and humiliating the system’s treatment of the disabled is.

It started out in the Jobcentre, where Mayhew was being asked by the clerk if he had really been spending 35 hours a week looking for work. Had he gone for that job as a miner as he should have done? Going out, he found his friend Francesca lying on the floor. She had gone through the process of seeing what would be the ideal job for her, and told it was ballet dancer. She had fallen over trying to practise. Mayhew commiserated with her, telling her that the machine had told him his ideal jobs were footballer, boxer and the Queen’s butler.

This sketch led into Inez herself talking about the grotesque injustice of the benefits system. She said people ask her what should be the proper relationship between government agencies and the disabled over benefits. She said it should be a partnership between the government and the claimant’s doctor. Unfortunately, this had been scrapped by New Labour, who had decided that a sizable number of claims for disability benefit were fraudulent, and so had introduced the Work Capability Test. In fact, the proportion of fraudulent claims was 0.05 per cent, so it was in fact easier for Mayhew to get a job as a footballer than to commit benefit fraud. She asked who would seriously want to be unable to go out on their own, to go to the toilet on their or prepare their own food, all for the sake of £100 a week. She was also massively unimpressed by the clerks the Department for Work and Pensions send round to make sure that claimants really are disabled. ‘Oh, I’m just here to see if you’re still wobbly’, she imitated one saying. He reply was ‘Well, I’ll give you a wet shave, and then you tell me.’

Mayhew also attacked the sanctions system. He thought you were only sanctioned if you deliberately tried to mislead or play the system. But no! He found himself sanctioned for eight weeks simply because he’d sent the wrong form in. But he’d been told that it would take eight weeks for his case to be reviewed. How strange, then, that he had his benefits restored after only four after he’d written to him MP. He then gave a shout-out to David Gauke, a Tory, saying how weird it was that a Tory MP should actually help someone on benefit.

He argued that it was wrong to call welfare payments ‘benefits’. Benefits sounds like something extra on top of one’s wages. Instead it should be called ‘Survival Money’, because you needed it to survive. This would make it difficult to have people thrown off it as well. Depriving someone of benefits sounds much better than removing their survival money. And as for sanctions, how does being hungry make someone better at finding work?

He also joked about the massive lack of self-esteem people on benefits have. He told one story of how he’d been accosted by a man while walking back from the Jobcentre. The man had told him that he should carry himself with a bit more confidence, head held high, because if he’d been a mugger, Mayhew would have been an easy target. It was, Mayhew jested, a Virtual mugging in which he’d been robbed of his self-respect. He then told another one about a mugger marching him to a cash machine, telling him he was going to leave him with nothing. ‘How kind of him to clear my overdraft!’

More seriously, Mayhew told a chilling anecdote which showed how easy it is for desperate, starving young men to be reduced to selling their bodies for sex. He’d met someone at a gathering, and they promised to get in touch with each other again via email. A few months later he got one from this man. Mayhew replied to him, saying he was in a bad patch financially, and asked him for £50. He told him he’d be able to pay him back in two month’s time. The man replied that he couldn’t give him any money, but he would pay him £200 to have sex with him. Mayhew joked that he didn’t, as he wouldn’t do anything like that for less than £350. But for a moment he was tempted. Poverty has often forced desperate women into prostitution, but this story showed it could also happen to men.

I had a great, appreciative comment by Mayhew to my original blog piece about his programme. He asked me if I could do something to further publicise his programme, because he’d been going through the papers and hadn’t found any reviews of it. Listening to his programme, it was easy to understand why: he was too sharp, and told the truth.

Right-wing rags like the Heil, the Scum and the Depress sell copies by spreading moral panic about benefit claimants. They actively paint them as scroungers and malingerers, as does right-wing internet radio host Alex Belfield. Although rather more polite, the same attitude also pervades the Torygraph and the Times. These papers very definitely do not want their Thatcherite ideals contradicted by people, who’ve been at the sharp end of the system, showing their readers they’re perfectly decent, honest people and telling them how dysfunctional, humiliating and malign the system really is.

And unfortunately I don’t see the supposedly left-wing press being much better. The Mirror, the Graun and the Absurder have all struck me as being Blairite New Labour, who wholeheartedly embraced Thatcher’s contempt and persecution of the unemployed, the sick and the disabled. The Graun has many times urged people to vote Lib Dem in recent elections, so again, these papers won’t want their readers disabused of some of their received notions.

Added to this is the current campaign by the Tories and their lapdog press to destroy the Beeb. This is partly because the Tories depend for their propaganda on the favour of Rupert Murdoch and his papers, who hates the Beeb as an obstacle to his domination of the global media. They also hate the idea of a state TV broadcaster as part of their opposition to any kind of state intervention, as well as the idea of an impartial, public service broadcaster. Hence the attempt to set up various rivals to the Beeb by the Times.

As a result, the papers have been running stories about how the BBC is too left-wing and too ‘woke’. Belfield put up a video a day or two ago rejoicing over the cancellation of Nish Kumar’s The Mash Report. Director-General Tim Davie had supposedly cancelled it because it was too biased towards the left. Belfield went further, and claimed that the real reason it was axed was because it wasn’t funny and was helmed by a ‘box-ticker’ – his term for a person of colour or other minority, who’s been given a job because of their identity rather than talent. Kumar’s Asian, so Belfield’s comment looks just a tad racist to me. Belfield claimed that cancelling Kumar’s show wouldn’t make any difference, as the Beeb as a whole is too left-wing and needs to be privatised.

It’s obvious from this that the right-wing media, then, aren’t going to give a good review to an explicitly left-wing comedy show. I also think that class is also an issue here. New Labour, it has been pointed out, was liberal but not socialist. Blair had turned his back on the working class, and instead New Labour concentrated on trying to recruit the middle classes. The left-wing elements of New Labour ideology was a concern with combating racism and other forms of prejudice, such as against gays, and promoting feminism and better opportunities for women. I think defending and promoting the disabled is in there, so long as they are properly respectable and not benefit scroungers. Mayhew is working class, and so isn’t of interest according to New Labour ideology.

All of which means that, unfortunately, the press isn’t prepared to give a hearing to something like this. Which is a pity, as it’s very good. Mayhew tells his stories and his jokes in a normal, conversational tone. He doesn’t harangue or shout for effect, as many comedians do. And he’s actually very witty. To simulate a studio audience, the show used canned laughter because it was impossible to have a live audience due to the Coronavirus. Mayhew made a couple of jokes about how the imaginary audience hadn’t paid for their tickets. He then told how, after one gig, he’d been accosted by an unhappy audience member. Why didn’t he get a proper job instead of standing there complaining, asked the man. To which he replied, ‘Have you seen my show?’ He then commented that at least he was a Tory who had paid for his ticket. He also made jokes about other people, being paid to do nothing all day. Like MPs.

It’s a pity the shows on so late on a weekday night, as it’s a funny, necessary antidote to the constant propaganda being pumped out about benefit claimants being scroungers. I don’t know anything about Francesca Inez, but from what I heard she deserves a place with the other disabled comedians, who have appeared on TV. At the very least, she deserves an endorsement from DPAC because of the way her comedy tries to bring their concerns to public attention. The show also demonstrates very clearly why we need a public service broadcaster, as it’s only a broadcaster like the Beeb that would take a chance on a show like it.

I think it’s only a four part series, and concludes next week. If this sounds like the kind of thing that tickles your funny bone and you also agree with its message, then please tune in.

I hope this is the start of a great career for Tom Mayhew, and that the show later gets repeated in an earlier slot when hopefully more people can hear it.

Richmond must rise above recruiting arms race to create history

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 17/03/2021 - 5:00pm in

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Richmond must rise above recruiting arms race to create history

Despite rampant recruiting by last year's AFL finalists, it’s going to take a huge effort to prevent the Tigers from winning four flags in five years, writes Ronny Lerner.

FOR THE THIRD time in four years, we head into a new Australian Football League (AFL) season asking the question: “Can Richmond be stopped?”

To think that since the start of 2017 the only thing that has come between the Tigers and the premiership cup has been a freakish individual performance by a 211-centimetre-tall Texan by the name of Mason Cox, is sobering, to say the least.

The planets certainly aligned on the preliminary final night in 2018 when Richmond happened to produce arguably the worst performance of their current golden run to ensure Collingwood safe passage to the grand final that year.

But outside of that blip on the radar, finals time has largely belonged to Richmond coach Damien Hardwick’s men. Even when Brisbane landed one on their chin in last year’s qualifying final, Richmond dusted themselves off and overcame St Kilda, Port Adelaide and Geelong in consecutive weeks to make it back-to-back flags for the club for the first time in 46 years.

In fact, never in the Tigers’ 114-year association with the VFL/AFL have they ever won three premierships in four years. This is certainly a special time in the club’s history and this is certainly a special team.

Richmond still has a large core of players (17 all up) who featured in the 2017 grand final. These players are not only still part of its best 22, or thereabouts, but they also contribute at a high level — including one of the greatest players of the modern era, Dustin Martin, who claimed an unprecedented third Norm Smith Medal last year for best afield in the grand final against the Cats.

The Tigers will be hard to stop this season purely by virtue of the fact that their superstar No. 4 is still running around at the peak of his powers.

So, who are the contenders that might be able to stop Richmond from claiming an historic "three-peat" in 2021?

The obvious one that stands out is Geelong.

The Cats have pushed all their chips into the middle of the table after recruiting former Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Coleman medallist Jeremy Cameron, along with silky veterans Shaun Higgins and Isaac Smith from North Melbourne and Hawthorn respectively.

Chris Scott’s men looked to be on the verge of winning the 2020 flag when they led Richmond by 21 points late in the second quarter, but just as they did in the 2019 preliminary final after trailing by the exact same margin, the Tigers ran over the top of the Cats.

As good as Geelong is, the one thing that has got in the way of the team winning its first premiership since 2011 has been Richmond in recent times.

The Tigers have become the Cats’ arch-nemesis, beating them in six of their last seven meetings, including three-from-three in finals. But there’s no doubt that the inclusions of Cameron, Higgins and Smith give Geelong a different look and a huge opportunity to finally get over the yellow-and-black hump.

The Brisbane Lions certainly can’t be discounted from this discussion either. Since making consecutive top-two finishes – after the home-and-away season at least – and reaching their first preliminary final last year since 2004, coach Chris Fagan has this team primed and right in the sweet spot of premiership contention.

With a star-studded midfield led by reigning Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale, a rock-solid backline spearheaded by All-Australian defender Harris Andrews and now a forward line that features former Essendon star Joe Daniher – and potentially talented ex-Cat Nakia Cockatoo – the Lions are locked, loaded and ready for a genuine tilt at the flag.

And then there’s Port Adelaide, who fell six agonising points short of a grand final appearance last year following their thrilling loss to Richmond in the penultimate weekend of the season.

Like the Lions, the Power’s list was already brimming with talent heading into the off-season and then they went and added gun ex-Sydney defender Aliir Aliir as well as classy goalsneak Orazio Fantasia from Essendon.

Finalists St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs (Doggies) have also loaded up on talent since the 2020 season finished. St Kilda picked up former Adelaide ball magnet Brad Crouch, ex-Richmond goalsneak Jack Higgins and Mason Wood from North Melbourne, as well as veteran key position players James Frawley and Shaun McKernan from Hawthorn and Essendon respectively.

Meanwhile, the Doggies added gun former Collingwood midfielder Adam Treloar and ex-Brisbane ruckman Stefan Martin to their engine room. They now boast arguably the best on-ball brigade in the competition, which also features Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae, Tom Liberatore, Lachie Hunter, Bailey Smith and Josh Dunkley.

West Coast Eagles can’t be dismissed either. With a large chunk of their 2018 premiership side still on the list, 12 games at Optus Stadium and the recruitment of Alex Witherden (ex-Brisbane) and Zac Langdon (ex-GWS), they look as though they still have at least one more genuine crack at a flag left in them.

Interestingly, while most of last year’s finalists have got themselves involved in an arms race by adding players from other clubs to their list in a desperate bid to catch up to the Tigers, the reigning premiers have done no such thing.

In fact, Richmond was rather quiet on the recruiting front. So, will it be a case of them standing still and being overtaken by their replenished rivals? Or are the Tigers just that good that they are going to back in their current crop and get extra improvement from within by way of unheralded youngsters?

Time will tell. But one thing is for certain, with the man they call "Dusty" showing no signs of slowing down, it’s going to take a hell of an effort to prevent the Tigers from making it four flags in five years and joining the pantheon of the greatest ever VFL/AFL teams.

Ronny Lerner has been a sports and music journalist/editor since 2006. Follow Ronny on Twitter @RonnyLerner.

Australia’s number one international team sport: basketball

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/03/2021 - 8:50am in

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In recent years, it is hard to go past basketball as being our most successful male international sport, even though Australia’s team has never won a medal at a global championship level.

Twitter Peeps Educate Universities Minister About What Decolonising the Curriculum Really Means

It’s not about censoring history but about including the ignored or omitted perspectives of the colonised peoples themselves.

Zelo Street put up a brilliant piece on Sunday refuting nonsense printed in the Torygraph by their reporter Christopher Hope. Hope had been talking to the universities minister, Michelle Donelan, who was extremely concerned about the ‘culture war’ being waged in the universities. She was afraid that those unis, who were decolonising their curricula were engaged in a massive piece of historical censorship. Like the former Soviet Union, they were removing those incidents that were not regarded as stains. This greatly concerned her as a former history student who was also a vehement champion of preserving our history.

This provoked a number of academics and/or students, whose universities were involved in this restructuring of their history curricula, to put her right. They informed her that this wasn’t about removing awkward parts of British colonial history, but adding to it by including the perspectives of the subject peoples we ruled and all-too frequently abused and exploited.

Alex Stevens from the University of Kent put this up:

Dear [Michelle Donelan] ‘Adding stuff in to enrich our understanding’ is *exactly* what decolonising the curriculum is doing at my university”.

Edward Anderson of Northumbria University also agreed, posting the following

When we decolonise curricula, it’s almost always ADDING more stuff in: scholarship & perspectives from the Global South, source material of the colonised not just coloniser, etc. [Michelle Donelan] must know this, but chooses to peddle a straw man, fictitious idea of what uni’s do”.

Coventry University’s Andrew Jowett backed this up with his remark

She has no idea what she’s talking about. It’s not about ‘taking things out’ of the curriculum, it’s about contextualising what is taught and ensuring other cultures and indigenous peoples are represented in the curriculum. Maybe she should attend a webinar on it”. 

And then came Dr. Priyamvada Gopal, who teaches colonial literature at Cambridge

 “Let’s break this down for [Michelle Donelan]. When we ‘decolonise’, we put the ‘offensive’ bits BACK IN. To give a random example, we tell [the] story of Winston Churchill not just as unimpeachable war hero–but as a man of empire & race science. We don’t pander to white snowflakery”.

Gopal was the centre of controversy last summer in the Black Lives Matter protests, when she was falsely accused of hating Whites because she’d put up a tweet ‘White don’t matter as White lives’, which I think she intended to mean that White lives have no more or less intrinsic value than anyone else’s. Their value lay simply in being human lives. This was in response to an enraged White chap flying over a local football match on a plane towing the banner ‘White Lives Matter’. I think another of Gopal’s tweets had been altered and the fake version reproduced by the right-wing press to present Gopal as wishing for a real White genocide. Gopal sued for libel, and I believe won.

The comments about Churchill were provoked by the denunciation s of the Great Man at a conference on his legal at Churchill College, Cambridge. Churchill was denounced by some of the speakers as responsible for the horrific Bengal famine, which killed 3-6 million Indians, and a White supremacist. Kehinde Andrews, a prominent Black racial activist, was present at this event, who is notorious for claiming that the British Empire was worse than the Nazis.

This provoked a reaction from offended Tories, like Nicholas Soames, who declared that if they were going to denounce the British wartime PM, then they shouldn’t use his money. The right-wing historian of Africa and the British Empire, Andrew Roberts, also wasn’t impressed. He is the co-author of a paper, published by the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange, defending Churchill. But I think that the allegations against Churchill are absolutely correct. He was an imperialist and White supremacist. It was the dominant ideology of the time and obviously very strong in the British and colonial ruling class. He was also responsible for the Bengal famine through the sequestration of their grain in order to feed British troops in Europe. The result was mass starvation in India, while the emergency requiring its use never came. Nevertheless, Churchill refused to release it to where it was really needed, blaming the Indians themselves for their plight. It was all their fault for having too many children. His attitude shocked many senior British officers and colonial administrators, who compared him to the Nazis.

Zelo Street described Donelan’s interview and her views as

Once again, we have a Government minister apparently not in command of their brief, with their ignorance amplified by a shameless propagandist for the sole purpose of riling up his paper’s base and demonising purveyors of inconvenient thought.

He concludes that, as for her reference to the Soviet Union, that is exactly where her government is taking us, but you won’t read it in the papers. Quite. We have a very authoritarian government, which really is determined to censor history. And the press are right behind her.

This looks like an attempt by a failing government to whip up some popularity by playing the race card. The approved Tory view of the British Empire as essentially benevolent is under attack from evil lefties, and so must be defended at all costs. Just as Britain is being invaded by all those evil refugees crossing the Channel in dinghies.

Meanwhile, people continue to die from the Coronavirus, and the government is determined to push through the welfare cuts which Mike has documented as killing the poor, the disabled and the unemployed.

But we mustn’t look there. They’re just welfare scroungers. We must be worried about the attack on our imperial history and great leaders like Winston Churchill. Even when those attacks are historically accurate.

See: Zelo Street: Decolonising Drivel Deceives No-One (zelo-street.blogspot.com)

PM Hires Nathan Lyon To Work In His Office To Help With The Spin

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 22/02/2021 - 7:03am in

Tags 

Sport, Australia, spin

Prime Minister Scotty from marketing has announced the appointment of Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyon to his office in an effort to help the Government deal with the fallout of the parliamentary rape crisis.

”This is a very smart move by the Government,” said a Parliamentary Insider. ”Nathan Lyon is one Australia’s greatest spinners, behind only Shane Warne and Graham ‘Richo’ Richardson.”

”With the G.O.A.T by his side ScoMo may be able to spin his way to an election win.”

When reached for comment on his decison to hire cricketer Nathan Lyon, the PM said: ”I reject the premise of your question.”

”Sorry, old habits are hard to break. Nathan or Gary as he’s also known as, will bring a lot to my office.”

”Though he’s yet to start already he is delivering as we’re talking about him and not anything else.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, we’re having a little shindig to welcome Nathan in to the fold. So I must be off to Engadine Maccas.”

”It’s going to be a big night but you know what they say, what happens on tour stays on tour.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

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A Real Steampunk Car and Motorcycle

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/02/2021 - 10:29pm in

Steampunk is a form of Science Fiction which speculates on what the world would have been like if they’d managed to invent cars, computers, aircraft and space and time travel. It follows Bruce Sterling’s and William Gibson’s novel, The Difference Engine, set in an alternative past where Charles Babbage’s pioneering computer, the difference engine of the title, has been built and Britain is ruled by Lord Byron. It’s heavily influenced by early SF writers such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. But some of the machines and inventions in the genre are very close to reality. In fact there was a history book published the other year with the title The Real Victorian Steampunk, or something like that. George Cayley in Britain invented a glider, while a Frenchman, Giffard, developed a dirigible airship in the 1850s and successfully demonstrated it by flying around the Eiffel Tower. And from the first years of the 19th century onwards, inventors were busy developing the first antecedents of the modern car and motorcycle, driven by steam, of course.

I found these two videos on Wildlyfunny’s channel on YouTube. They look like they’re from a steam rally somewhere in eastern Europe, though the blurbs for them doesn’t say where and I’m afraid I don’t recognise the language. This one below is of the 1886 Baffrey Steam Car.

Steam car Baffrey 1886 / Parní vůz Baffrey – YouTube

This second video looks like it’s from the same rally, and is of the 1869 Roper steam motorcycle, invented by Sylvester Howard Roper and demonstrated at fairs and circuses across the US. According to a couple of the commenters, Roper became the first motorcycle casualty when he was killed in a race against seven, ordinary human-powered bicycles.

The FIRST Steam Motorcycle in the world, ROPER 1869 year! – YouTube

The sheer inventiveness of the Victorians never ceases to amaze me, and you do wonder what would have happened had these machines taken off before the invention of the modern internal combustion engine. One of the reasons why they didn’t, and it was only until the invention of the modern petrol/ diesel driven automobile in the later 19th century that cars became an effective rival to horse-drawn transport, is because steam engines weren’t a sufficiently effective power source. It’s also why they were unable to develop steam-driven airplanes. Nevertheless, these machines are still awesome in their ingenuity and a fascinating episode in the history of the automobile.

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