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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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Sport


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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Sport

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

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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

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

We’re also on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/theunoz

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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.

Australian Open: Melbourne denied massive Barty party

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/02/2021 - 11:00am in

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 Melbourne denied massive Barty party

Melbourne came so close to being treated to the ultimate celebration of the end of its third lockdown on Thursday afternoon with what would’ve been a tennis match for the ages.

But, unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Instead of a partisan COVID-19-safe packed house at Rod Laver Arena willing Australian golden girl Ash Barty onto her maiden final appearance at the first grand slam of the year, local fans had to be content with a neutral semi-final between Czech 25th seed Karolína Muchová and American 22nd seed Jennifer Brady.

What an anti-climax.

There seemed to be a sense of destiny about Barty’s journey to the final this year. With the draw opening up for her, it felt as though 2021 would provide as good a chance as any for her to win her home grand slam for the first time.

But Muchová had other ideas and she ensured that the 43-year streak of no Australian winning the Australian Open would continue for another 12 months at least.

Chris O’Neil was the last Australian woman to achieve the feat back in 1978, while Mark Edmondson (1976) was the last Australian man.

After breezing through her first four matches at Melbourne Park this month without dropping a set, Barty made it nine sets in a row when she took the first set against Muchová on Wednesday.

But after trailing 1-6, 1-2, Muchová took a strategic medical timeout and, to her credit, completely turned the contest on its head, winning 11 of the next 14 games to bulldoze her way into her first-ever grand slam semi-final.

Unfortunately for her, though, that’s as far as she would make it in the tournament because Brady beat her 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in an epic final-four contest that lasted almost two hours.

The American will now face arguably the best female player in the world, Naomi Osaka, in the final on Saturday after the Japanese number three seed overcame 23-time grand slam champion, Serena Williams, 6-3, 6-4 in 75 minutes.

For Brady, it’s her first trip to a grand slam final after she made it to the semi-final stage of the U.S. Open last year. Meanwhile, Osaka is just at the initial phase of laying the foundations for what looms to be one of the great tennis careers as she chases her fourth major title in the space of just 29 months.

The 23-year-old has two U.S. Opens to her credit and will be looking to add to her 2019 Australian Open triumph this weekend.

Where does all of this leave Barty? Well, you don’t become world number one by fluke, let alone stay there for 56 weeks in a row (and 63 weeks all up).

And while you just can’t help but feel a golden opportunity was missed for the 2019 French Open champion this year, she’s still only 24 years old and if her active streak of three consecutive Australian Open quarter-finals is any indication, she’s still well-placed to finally break the tournament’s homegrown champion drought at some stage.

In the men’s side of the draw, a familiar face has made his way back to the final match of the competition.

World number one Novak Djokovic has overcome a mystery injury, presumably an abdominal complaint suffered earlier in the tournament to return to his very best form, as he crushed Cinderella man Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in just under two hours on Thursday night to advance to his ninth Australian Open final.

Russian qualifier Karatsev created history by becoming the first man to make it to the semi-finals on grand slam debut, but he proved to be no match for the eight-time champion who is now 17-0 in semi-finals/finals at the Australian Open.

Will Djokovic make it Australian Open title number nine on Sunday night? Well, he’s certainly going to take some beating as he aims to clinch his 18th grand slam title and inch closer towards joint record holders Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (20).

But he will face either Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the championship decider and neither player will be a pushover.

Medvedev has won his last 19 matches in a row while Tsitsipas became just the third man in history to come back from two sets down to beat the great Nadal.

Nadal’s previous record in five-set matches in which he takes a two-set lead? 246-2.

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

St George Dragons Scouting Margaret Court For Their Forwards Pack

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 02/02/2021 - 7:00am in

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Sport, Tennis

With news coming through that Rugbah Leeegue club the St George Dragons are close to signing biblical historian and Rugby Union player Israel Folau, it has also been revealed that the club has been scouting 78-year old grand slam winner Margaret Court MBE.

The club is hoping that Court and Folau can form a formidable forward pack who will be able to squeeze through opposition defences by blowing open the back door.

”Don’t let age fool you – Margaret Court can hold her own,” said Rugbah Leeegue analyst Buzz Kill. ”She’ll be the first one in there to stop ’em from packing down a scrum, and will make sure her opponents don’t touch each others’ balls.”

”With Court and Folau in the same team, who knows? Maybe even famed former coach Alan Jones might come out……..to watch.”

When asked whether the Dragons could face a backlash from fans or sponsors, Buzz Kill said: ”Well, they stuck around while they kept Jack De Belin on the books!”

”Did you read what he’s alleged to have done?”

”Besides, Margaret Court will bring a heap of sponsors with her. I mean, think of all the gay-conversion places that will want to buy advertising space!”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

We’re also on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/theunoz

The (un)Australian Live At The Newsagency Recorded live, to purchase click here:

https://bit.ly/2y8DH68

Australia v India Test series providing entertainment on and off the field

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/01/2021 - 12:00pm in

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Sport


Australia v India Test series providing entertainment on and off the field

We’re only halfway through the four-match test series between Australia and India and already it’s provided more drama and entertainment than a Hollywood blockbuster.

As good as the action has been on the field, with the series tied 1-1, it’s arguably been matched, if not topped, by the happenings off of it.

Look no further than the past week when Cricket Australia stunningly decided to stage the third test, beginning on Thursday, in Sydney despite New South Wales battling to keep its recent COVID-19 outbreak under control.

Eight days on, it’s still hard to comprehend that the SCG will be staging the New Year’s Test, albeit at a reduced capacity of 10,000 fans maximum per day.

The seeds of the potential flow-on effect of this gamble taken by CA have already been sewn with the Indian team expressing reluctance at the prospect of undergoing strict quarantine in Queensland when they travel to the Gabba from Sydney for the fourth and final test which begins on 15 January.

That sentiment merely being made public by the tourists, whose governing body, the BCCI, is by far the most powerful in world cricket and is seen by many as the one that truly runs the game globally, automatically puts Brisbane’s status as the host city of the final test in some doubt.

In the space of just a couple of weeks, Sydney could go from potentially staging no test match cricket this summer to winning the rights to not one, but two tests in a staggering turn of events — such is life in the new unpredictable world of COVID-19.

And we’re sure that India’s reservations about travelling to Brisbane have nothing to do with their appalling record at the Gabba (five losses, one draw) compared to their SCG record (one win, five losses, six draws) and has everything to do with living conditions (wink, wink).

But the off-field drama hasn’t been restricted to the uncertainty surrounding the venues, because both teams have been hit hard by injuries and unavailabilities as well.

Australia has had to contest the opening two tests without their preferred opening pairing of David Warner (groin) and Will Pucovski (concussion), who are on track to be selected on Thursday, and almost lost exciting youngster Cameron Green on the eve of the series after he also received a nasty blow to the head in a tour match.

Luckily for Green and fans of Australian cricket, he was passed fit and the 21-year-old has shown plenty of promise in his first two test matches.

Meanwhile, India has lost Mohammed Shami (broken arm) and Umesh Yadav (calf) for the rest of the series while Ishant Sharma (side strain) failed to make the journey to Australia.

But the biggest loss of all has been their superstar captain Virat Kohli who returned to India after the first test to be present for the upcoming birth of his child.

In many ways, this series has also already been a war of attrition.

And when you throw in India’s record batting collapse in Adelaide which saw them register their lowest ever score of 36 and the substandard performance of the brittle Australian batting line-up, which has already cost Joe Burns his spot and will likely see Travis Head or Matthew Wade follow him through the exit door it all makes for must-watch TV. We've also seen Aussie batting maestro Steven Smith’s unthinkable struggles at the crease making him look, dare we say, human and the overall dominance of ball-on-bat which has seen a wicket taken every 21.51 runs this series.

What’s in store for us in Sydney on Thursday? Who knows? But if it dishes up anything like we’ve seen so far in the opening two matches, Steven Spielberg might get on the blower to purchase the rights for the big-screen adaptation.

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

Real Boob Armour from the Middle Ages?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 04/01/2021 - 6:52am in

There was a bit of controversy a few months ago over an episode of the Star Wars spin-off TV show, The Mandalorian. The Mandalorians are a race of mercenaries, one of whom was the Star Wars film villain, Boba Fett. The show’s titular character roams the Galaxy with a baby clone of Yoda righting wrongs as law and order has broken down in the battle between the Empire and the Rebellion. Or I think that’s what the show’s about. The row erupted over an episode which showed female Mandalorians wearing fitted breastplates shaped for women’s breasts. Feminist critic of video games and the SF/Fantasy genre was not impressed, and posted a tweet expressing her disapproval.

She was then answered by the show’s fans, who certainly did not believe that such armour was sexualising or demeaning women. Many of those rebutting Sarkesian were women. One of them posted an interesting piece by a female veteran of the Iraq invasion, who described how uncomfortable the breastplates worn by American squaddies are, particularly for women. She wanted breastplates shaped for women’s breasts. Others pointed out that women boxers today wear breastplates to protect their boobs.

I found this picture of a set of armour from the later Middle Ages at Churburg in Frederick Wilkinson’s Arms and Armour (London: Hamlyn 1978) p. 66. As you can see, the breastplate really is only a strip across the upper torso, leaving the stomach, throat and shoulders protected by chain mail. I don’t doubt that the armour was made for a man. There are records of women fighting in armour during the Middle Ages, such as Joan of Arc, but they were very much exceptions to the rule. When they did fight, they wore men’s armour. However, looking at the Churburg armour, it does seem to me to be the kind of armour women may have worn if they were a regular part of medieval armies and it was made especially for them.

There’s an awful lot of SF and Fantasy in which the women warriors do indeed wear very little. But I don’t see the female breastplates on the Mandalorian as sexualising the women mercenaries. Indeed, from the above illustration – which is admittedly for a man – it does seem to be the kind of armour fighting women would wear in such a society.

Talk Radio’s Kevin O’Sullivan and Rod Liddle Get Upset about British Universities’ Dictionary of British Slave Traders

And now for a much more serious subject. The day before yesterday, 30th December 2020, Talk Radio posted this video on YouTube of one of their presenters, Kevin O’Sullivan, talking about the compilation of a Dictionary of British Slave Traders by a group of British universities with that fixture of the right-wing press, Rod Liddle. The project is led by a professor Pettigree, and involves the universities of Lancaster, Manchester and University College London. O’Sullivan quotes Prof. William Pettigree, who said that after Black Lives Matter it was important that there should be further, accurate information on the breadth of Britain’s involvement in the slave trade. As you can imagine, neither O’Sullivan nor Liddle are fans of the project. Some of their arguments are good, but others are just them using the issue to ride the usual Conservative hobby horses of attacking state education.

Non-White Slave Trade Ignored

The Dictionary will have 6,500 entries, including small investors, women, and people, whose involvement in the Abominable Trade has not been mentioned before. O’Sullivan claims that this is a device for finding out whether a perfectly respectable living person had an ancestor 350 years ago, who invested £5 in a plantation, and then make their blameless descendant into a pariah and get them sacked. He states that we need the Dictionary ‘like a hole in the head’, denounces the obsession with the slave trade as a ‘national sickness’. Liddle, who is introduced as writing for the Sun, the Spectator and the Sun on Sunday, agrees, calling it ‘self-flagellating imbecilic obsessiveness’. He states that the Dictionary isn’t about anyone, but specifically the White English. It doesn’t mention the Ottoman Empire, the people, who profited from the slave trade in the West African countries, specifically Ghana. He states that he was in a cab a couple of months ago, whose driver was Ethiopian. The driver told him how much he hated Britain. When Liddle asked why, he was told that it was because Britain was the country that invented slavery and enslaved whole nations. He’d never heard of the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire or the slavery that continued in his own country for hundreds of years after Britain had stopped it. He’d never heard of the fact that Britain was the first country to abolish it. Liddle also makes the point that Ethiopia, where it continued, had never been colonised. Liddle goes on to claim that universities are implanting in people’s minds the notion that it was only the British, who were slavers and had this wickedness. This is, he said, reflected in ‘that very stupid woman, who is head of the British Library’, Liz Joly, who said that ‘White people invented racism’. Liddle goes on about how we also invented television, the printing press, democracy, but we invented slavery, sin and mosquitoes. It’s utter rubbish and time we got over it.

The Coronavirus Lockdown Prevented Criticism of BLM at Football Matches

O’Sullivan dismisses Pettigree’s comments about the need for the Dictionary as nonsense, and describes the obsession with the slave trade as a kind of ‘national insanity’. He asks why the country is obsessing about the actions of slave traders who lived three centuries ago. Liddle says we’re not obsessing. It’s a tiny, tiny minority, who are obsessing. And they’ve been partly able to get away with it because of the Coronavirus. This has allowed footballers to take the knee in support of an organisation that wishes to abolish the family and capitalism. This wouldn’t have happened if there had been fans in the ground, because as soon as fans were allowed, they booed. This occurred not just at Liddle’s club, Millwall, but also at Colchester and Dallas in the US. They’ve got away with this because this year has meant the lone voice of the common sense public has not been heard. O’Sullivan agrees with him, stating that the people have been eclipsed by the lockdown and the authorities in politics and football have been allowed to proceed without comment from the public and fans. Liddle states that it’s a salutary lesson that when these restriction are placed on our lives, there is nothing they won’t try to get away with. He then goes to tilt at the Beeb, stating that they used the Coronavirus as an excuse to ban the words to ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and ‘Rule, Britannia’.

Liddle Attacks his Daughter’s State School for views on British Empire

O’Sullivan agrees with him that the obsession with slavery and the ‘Woke’ thing is that of a tiny, tiny minority, who are vocal and noisy. He hopes that in this coming year, 2021, the Dictionary never gets published, and that the people’s voice gets heard and we are able to push back against these noisy people. Liddle then describes how, when his daughter went to state school last year, she was taught in her history lessons, which went uncontested, that the reason Africa was in poverty was because of colonialism. He states that this is easy to disprove, as Ethiopia, which was never colonised, is exactly the same as Eritrea. Both countries are equally impoverished and despotic. Liberia, which was never colonised, is as badly off as Sierra Leone next door. Singapore, on the other hand, was colonised for 200 years, and is the most affluent country in the world. There is, Liddle claims, a reluctance to face the truth because of this liberal mindset. This is based on a fallacy, which falls apart if you pick at it.

O’Sullivan then asks Liddle if they teach Critical Race Theory at his daughter’s school. This ‘controversial and very dubious philosophy’ is being taught in schools all over the country, which states that if you’re White, you’re racist, even if you don’t think you are. He states that it’s fine if adults want to learn this nonsense, but really dangerous to teach it to children in schools. Liddle again agrees with him, says he’s sure his daughter was, and that they got her out of it not just because they were teaching ‘that rubbish’, but because most of the time they weren’t teaching at all. There were no lesson during the Covid outbreak, not even online, O’Sullivan jokes that it was probably better that she was getting no lessons at all then. Liddle replies that she got lessons from him on how the British Empire brought decency and democracy to the world as a corrective for five minutes.

Rod Liddle criticises ‘self-flagellating’ Dictionary of British Slave Traders – YouTube

There are several issues to unpack here. Firstly, if the Dictionary was only an academic exercise in researching the depth of British public involvement in the slave trade, then I don’t think there should be any objection to its compilation and publication. There’s already been considerable research on the subject. A little while ago one historian of the subject said that they were actually astonished by how widespread participation in the slave trade and slavery was, with ordinary members of the public investing their money in it. In fact you could easily produce a list of British slaveowners simply by going through the government’s Blue Book published c. 1840 for the compensation given to the slaveowners after abolition. From the 1820s onwards the British government passed legislation designed to halt the illegal importation of slaves in their colonies by passing legislation demanding that all slaves be registered. This could also be used. The compensation returns and slave registries might have some surprises for those, who believe that only White people owned slaves. Several of the slaveowners in the Caribbean included the Maroons, the free Black communities outside British law. I also believe, though I’m not sure, that the free people of colour, the free Black population, may also have owned slaves.

Real Danger of Innocent People Demonised for Ancestors’ Involvement

O’Sullivan’s claim that the book would be used to denounce and pillory perfectly decent people for what their ancestors did hundreds of years ago is hysterical, but unfortunately also a real possibility. I had to make a similar decision myself when I was working in the Empire and Commonwealth Museum. It seemed that there was a strong possibility that some of the people described as slavers may have been the remote ancestors of people I knew personally. I had to think very carefully about telling them, and was eventually advised against it by one of their close friends. They told me that I shouldn’t tell this person about their possible connection to the slave trade, because they were very anti-racist themselves and the information would only upset them. I’ve no doubt that this is true of very many people. I also think that behind some of outrage from O’Sullivan and Liddle, but which goes unspoken, is the fear that it will be used by activists to demand reparations for slavery. I’m not sure how much this will affect ordinary people, though. In the 18th and 19th centuries most people in this country were the ‘labouring poor’, who comprised 90 per cent of the population. These had problems enough paying for food, clothing and accommodation. They wouldn’t have had the disposable income to invest in anything, never mind slaves or plantations, even if they were so inclined. Really we’re only talking about the middle classes and aristocracy as investors and slaveowners. Reparations for slavery are a different issue, but this has its dangers too. Over time, many of the wealthy or comfortably off people, who owned slaves, will have lost their money. All it would take to cause real controversy and angry backlash is if poorly paid people struggling to make ends meet get a demand for reparations from richer Black people. If that happens, you can expect the story to be all over the Heil, Depress and the rest of the press like a rash.

Need to Teach Extra-European, Islamic and Asian Slavery and Slave Trade

I also agree with O’Sullivan and Liddle that more should be taught about extra-European slavery. This includes that of the Arabs and Muslims in north Africa, the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic slave trade from east Africa across the Indian Ocean. Liddle is also quite right about the Ethiopians practising the slave trade. Way back in the 19th century we sent a punitive expedition into Abyssinia to stop them raiding British territory for slaves. One of the books we had in the library at the Empire and Commonwealth Museum was Major Darnley’s Slaves and Ivory. This was published in the early part of the 20th century and described Darnley’s own personal undercover investigation of slavery within the Abyssinian empire. Darnley published the book to make the public aware that the Abyssinians were still raiding British Uganda for slaves, and that the Ethiopian princes were destroying whole regions of their own empire through such raids. He wished to generate sufficient outrage that public opinion would swing behind a British invasion of the country. Dame Kathleen Simon, a determined foe of slavery, actually praised Mussolini and the Italian Fascists in her book on it for their invasion of Abyssinia, which she felt would at least extinguish slavery there. I do think there is a real need to teach this aspect of the slave trade to counter the notion that it was only Britain that was only, or primarily responsible for it. Britain wasn’t the first country to outlaw it – that was Denmark – but we were the leading country to do so and insist that other nations follow.

The East African Slave Trade in the 19th Century, from James Walvin, Atlas of Slavery (Harlow: Pearson Education 2006) 129.

Concentration on Western Slave Trade Product of Black Rights’ Movement

Research into the historic slave trade has been linked with the campaign for Black liberation since the time of W.E.B. Dubois. Hence the fixation on it by contemporary anti-racist activists. Driving this is the continued impoverishment and disadvantaged condition of the Black community as a whole. But real, Black chattel slavery has re-emerged in Libya and in sub-Saharan African countries like Uganda. There is little interest in combating slavery there. When right-wing critics urged western anti-racist activists to do so, the response has been that it should be ignored as a distraction from continued demands for racial equality here in the West. Kate Maltby, a White contributor to the I, made that argument in its pages a few months ago. She has a point, but it’s still no reason to ignore real slavery as it exists now in order to concentrate on angry denunciations for past crimes. There are books published on non-European slavery. Jeremy Black includes it alongside western slavery in one of his books. James Walvin includes maps of the African and Indian slave trade and routes alongside transatlantic slavery in his Atlas of Slavery. There are books on African slavery, and there is a particular study of the Islamic slave trade, Islam’s Black Slaves: A History of the Other Black Diaspora, by Ronald Segal. I think, however, that there may be some objection to teaching about these slave trades from some anti-racist activists, who may feel that it would somehow be racist or even islamophobic to do so.

Liddle Promoting Privatisation of State Education with Comments

But as you can hear from the video, O’Sullivan and Liddle were also determined to use the issue of slavery to attack other right-wing bugbears. Like the Coronavirus lockdown. This is there to save lives, but it’s too much for the right, who favour the economy at the expense of people’s lives. Hence the rant about footballers taking the knee for Black Lives Matter. Liddle also uses it, surprise, surprise! – to attack state education. We’ve been this way before. I remember the rants of the right-wing press under Thatcher, when the Scum, Heil, Depress and the rest ran stories about children in state schools being indoctrinated with left-wing propaganda, like Peace Studies, while anti-racist fanatics in Brent forced them to sing suitably altered nursery rhymes like ‘Ba Ba Green Sheep’. That was a lie put out by the Scum, supposedly, but I’ve met people, who swore they sang it at school. Thatcher used those fears to push through her creation of academy schools, telling the British public that it would put them in control of their children’s education. And this would be taken out of the hands of evil, left-wing Local Education Authorities. In fact, Thatcher’s academy school programme was a complete flop. It was being wound up by Norman Fowler before Blair took the idea out of the Tory dustbin, dusted it off and then made it official Labour policy. And unfortunately the wretched schemes been going ever since. In fact academy schools are not better than state schools and are far more expensive. They should be wound up and education renationalised. But this would upset the parasites running the academies. I don’t think it’s an accident that Liddle came out to rant against state education when he writes for the Scum, as Dirty Rupe would like to move into education as well.

Neo-Colonialism and African Poverty

As for the terrible condition of modern Africa and the legacy of British colonialism, it’s quite true that much of the continent’s problems don’t come from it, but from the rapacious venality and ruthless tyranny of their post-independence rulers. But we took over these countries partly to exploit their resources, and their poverty is partly caused by the Neo-colonial economic system that prevents them from industrialising and confines them to exporting raw materials to the Developed World. I can remember being taught all this in ‘A’ Level Geography nearly forty years ago from teachers, who were definitely not Marxists trying to indoctrinate us. As for the success of Singapore, this can be used to support the socialism Liddle and O’Sullivan fear and despise. Singapore’s leaders were influenced by the Fabians and their belief that the state should take a leading role in the economy. Singapore ain’t a socialist country, but its success does refute Thatcherite free market economics.

While O’Sullivan and Liddle thus are quite reasonable in their criticisms of the proposed Dictionary, they are using it as a tool to promote a wider, right-wing agenda. One that will cause further poverty and endanger lives, but will benefit their paymasters in the press barons and big business.

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