If you think politics is puerile in Northern Ireland…

Dimbleby over on SOT is crying a river about the state of politics and the ‘system’ up in Stormont at the moment. Oh, if only we would listen to people like him and the guys over at Platform for Change, what a wonderful world would we be living in?

Any way, you’ve probably noticed me being ever so slightly quiet of late and to be fair, that’s been very deliberate on my part. Aside from enjoying myself more down here in Aus I have found being away from the North and her politics I have become something of an outside observer and I have also found myself switching off from what I was seeing. The SpAD bill was a tipping point for me in many ways and rather than get angry about the official creation of a hierarchy of victims I just decided to sit this round out, pick my battles etc.

Back to things here in Australia, the current Prime Minister Julia Gillard is facing a massive uphill struggle to try and stay in power with many observers thinking the jig is up and they (Australian Labour) face wipe out at the polls. Australia is a country I do love, honestly, I have enjoyed my time here so much and hope to stay for a number of years, but this country does have some serious issues whether it is racism or misogyny. This week, Julia was being interviewed by a ‘shock jock’ (that’s usually code for what I like to term a mouthy wanker who is one punch away from being put in his place (apologies for the crude language folks)) in Perth, Western Australia by the name of Howard Sattler who asked the Aussie Prime Minister if her partner, Tim Mathieson, is gay. She was clearly taken aback by this and he proceeded to ask this again and again because he (Tim) is ‘a hairdresser’ (I didn’t know a qualification to cut one’s hair was based on sexuality, perhaps it is out in WA?) and though Howard was not saying it (he asked Julia if Tim was gay a number of times and insinuated that because Tim cuts hair he may fancy men) but he was just being a good journalist and wanting to get to the bottom of the truth, right? I leave you to decide for yourself:

This week also, here in Brisbane, at an LNP fundraiser the menu for organised by Mal Brough at the restaurant Richards and Richards owned and run by chef Joe Richards had a menu that included Julia Gillard quail as it has ‘small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box’, you can see it below by the way.

A photo of the menu from a fundraiser for Queensland Liberal National Party candidate Mal Brough


Honestly, I ask you, if a serious politician tried this in Europe would they get away with it? Nowadays, maybe? Lest we forget ‘Just call me Dave’ and his rather sexist put down in the Commons?

So whilst I have moved to a country that feels young at heart (and it is) where it has that same feeling I felt when we lived in the South in the late 80s and early 90s and Ireland was turning a corner, where we were becoming something modern, Australia too has some attitudes which I wish were more modern and less insanely stupid and pig headed, where treating someone who is not like yourself with something approaching respect or even better, complete and utter antipathy, should be the ideal. When a friend came out as gay to me and said it like it was a big deal (I know it is btw) I told him the truth of what I felt; I didn’t care, it was not an issue for me and this I felt was the best answer I could give him because ultimately he was the same person to me. Unfortunately that is not the case for a lot of people and their attitudes here in Australia or back home though hopefully it will get better.


2 responses to “If you think politics is puerile in Northern Ireland…

  1. The Gillard thing is certainly getting plenty of attention over here. I know from a number of friends who have visited/work in Australia that in some ways it can be quite old fashioned in certain social views yet can be extremely liberal in others. Though there are considerable geographical differences. That said I’ve never met an Irish person who didn’t love the country and didn’t at least consider making it their permanent home 🙂

    • Seamas, I think you hit the nail on the head in relation to geographical differences, but I would also factor in something which, I don’t want to use the term ‘ghettoisation’ but it’s more akin to what you have in the US where you can have an area that is predominantly of a certain ethnic or national background due to people from say a certain country settling in areas once they arrived in Australia.

      Examples, Greater Western Sydney would have a huge community from the Levant and Middle East, parts around Adelaide or up here in SE QLD have former German settlers (Loganlea’s streets are all in German for instance) and then. Each city has its own Chinatown. So certain attitudes may prevail in these communities though it’s not a strict adherence.

      As for myself, I would love to stay for a number of years, it’s the bloody visa situation that is pestering the hell out of me 🙂 I simply don’t want to have to go and do regional work as a 30 yo so that I can stay another year and increase my chances of getting a semi permanent job. Watch this space I suppose…

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