Features Australia

Cry me a river

9 September 2017

9:00 AM

9 September 2017

9:00 AM

My local council – Yarra City – is a grab-bag of inner-urban ‘brie and chablis’ lefties from central casting. It boasts four Greens, two Labor and two independent councillors, all tripping over each other in a race to ‘out-progressive’ their peers.

And then there’s the commie, in the most literal sense of the term. Councillor Stephen Jolly is a proud red-banner waving member of the Socialist Party of Australia, a self-described ‘Trotskyist’ group dedicated to ‘the overthrow of capitalism.’

I’m sure the switched-on readers of The Speccie Oz are aware that Yarra City has been at the forefront of the ‘dump Australia Day’ movement. Its wannabe politruk councillors are resolute in their leftist determination to debase the foundations of Australia’s English common law traditions and civilisation.

Needless to say, I was less than enamoured with the antics of those who claim to represent me at the local government level. And I thus felt compelled to gird my loins and venture forth into battle on behalf of sanity, sobriety and fact over fiction.

I had entered the fray once before, back in January when this imbecilic proposal was first mooted by Yarra City. And given that my impeccable arguments – grounded in irrefutable history and ethical coherence – fell on deaf leftist ears, this time I opted for pasquinade. While speaking truth to aspiring totalitarian power, I might as well have a bit of fun.

And so, what follows is the gist of remarks I made to the Yarra City Council at its meeting on 15 August 2017:


‘My name is Ted Lapkin and I reside in Fitzroy. I’ll begin by noting that Members of Yarra City Council have not been shy about engaging in debates on international affairs. Back in 2003, Greens Councillor Gurmeet Sekhon used his office printer to churn out flyers advocating that Saddam Hussein’s reign of terror should continue unabated. And in 2012, Comrade Stephen Jolly wrote a statement of support for protestors who brought the Middle East conflict home to Melbourne by blockading access to a Jewish-owned business – in the finest brownshirt tradition. Building upon this tradition of international activism, combined with the logic of your euphemistically named “January 26 Project”, I note the following:

On the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av in the year 70 AD, four Roman legions commanded by Titus Flavius stormed the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after a siege lasting many months. These legionaries overwhelmed the emaciated Jewish defenders, sacking the city, slaughtering its inhabitants and destroying the Temple.

Contemporary historian Josephus put the number of Jewish dead at 1.1 million, with hundreds of thousands more cast into slavery. And those Jews not killed or enslaved were expelled from the Land of Israel into the Diaspora, setting in train a 2,000-year saga of anti-Semitic persecution that culminated at places like Auschwitz and Treblinka.

On his return to Rome, Titus did what all victorious generals did in those days. He built an arch to commemorate his triumph over those pesky rebellious Jews. It’s still there today, on the Palatine Hill, only 150 metres from the Coliseum. And carved into its side is a frieze portraying Titus’ triumphal procession of booty and slaves – including the giant menorah stolen from the Temple. The sacking of Jerusalem on Tisha B’Av – as that date is known in Hebrew – is observed through mourning rituals that include a 25-hour fast. It’s the most sombre day of the Hebrew calendar.

When I last spoke on this topic back in January, Mayor Stone explained that the current observance of Australia Day is objectionable because it makes indigenous Yarrans feel sad. So in keeping with the thrust of the Mayor’s argument, I hereby ask Council to join me in demanding that the Arch of Titus be destroyed. After all, the historical event it commemorates is a major Jewish bummer.

If you’ve inferred from my tone and elocution that these words have been uttered tongue in cheek, you are quite correct. In the satiric tradition of Swift’s A Modest Proposal, I have used the rationale of your Australia Day policy to highlight its absurdity. Unless you believe that Jews aren’t entitled to the same rights and privileges you seek to confer on others. And there’s another term to describe that phenomenon. But, satire aside, I have another point that is quite serious in intent. And at last year’s federal election, the Liberal Party earned 32.04 per cent of all first preference votes cast at the Richmond booth. At Collingwood North that figure was 21.05 per cent and at Burnley it was a whopping 36.62 per cent.

Even in my mean Green neck of the woods, Liberal candidate Le Liu garnered 15 per cent of first preference votes at Fitzroy East and Fitzroy North booths.

It’s a reasonable working hypothesis that most Coalition voters would agree with me that this Project is an asinine exercise in Leftist political onanism. In other words, a substantial minority of your constituents are presumptively opposed to this proposal.

Last May, Marine Le Pen won an unprecedented 34 per cent of the ballots at the second-round election for the French presidency. In Hungary, Victor Orban has curtailed press freedoms under the banner of “illiberal democracy”. Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson exemplify milder versions of what I call “blood & soil” populism. And as a small-government constitutional conservative, I detest this phenomenon no less than you. But this populist “rage against the machine” is fed by precisely the sort of PC imbecility exemplified by your January 26 Project.

What will it take to make you understand that, by telling Australians the country they love was founded in original sin, you’re serving as a recruiting sergeant for Pauline Hanson? If you want a larger One Nation contingent in parliament, just keep on keepin’ on. But let it not be said you went un-warned.’

Needless to say, my contribution to this debate went over like ham hocks at a rabbinical convention. The only responses I managed to elicit were purse-lipped glares, sotto voce growls and catcalled complaints about relevance.

Like their kindred spirits of the Red Guards, the dour avant-garde cultural revolutionaries of Yarra City Council don’t do satire. Of course, in the end this ‘dump Australia Day’ motion was approved unanimously. But I seem to recall a bloke named Edmund Burke saying something about good men and the triumph of evil. At least I tried to do my bit.

Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator Australia for less – just $20 for 10 issues


Show comments
Close