Friday, December 08, 2006

I have now been in England for three hours. The first hour was spent waiting for a stand for our aircraft to park in at Heathrow. Already I have been exasperated at English attitudes and pissed off by ex-Australians.

I have been travelling for nearly three days and did not hear that the English cricket team had completely cocked-up the second cricket test and lost. So I watched the summary. Two things stood out - the first was that the English captain, in an interview on the morning after the loss, said something about starting the day playing for a draw. Sorry, but you never start a day's cricket playing for a draw. You were 50 or so runs ahead with 10 wickets in hand. Go all out and score as quickly as you can until tea, then declare and see what happens. The pitch was deteriorating and you never know what might transpire.

The second was that the captain said they had lost the first two tests of the five test series and so needed to win two of the remaining three tests to retain the Ashes. What sort of attitude is that? You should be stating that you intend to win the next three tests and win the series - not play for a draw!

I was amused by a voice-over that talked about "snatching defeat from the jaws of a certain draw". Mind you, it still showed a less-than-positive attitude. If you view a draw as a positive thing, you will settle for that and not take the extra step of actually winning. Play to win, like the Australian team does - that's why they beat you yesterday.

After the cricket there was a show called "Oz and Them", a show comparing and contrasting Australia and England, where Australia's position was put forward by the likes of Cathy Lette, Germaine Greer and Clive James. Clive James began by defining the alleged Australian national identity by recounting what happened when he was a schoolboy in 1953 when the Queen visited. Clive, as much as I think you are a genius and I really, really enjoy your work, that was more than half a century ago and those of us who actually live in Australia have moved on.

As for Cathy Lette and Germaine Greer, neither of you have lived full-time in Australia for a really long time and you have no more right to speak for me than I have to comment on English society. Never mind that I think both of you, along with the likes of the inexplicably revered Richard Neville, are limited-talent hacks who happened to have the ability to make people think that not only were you on the cutting edge, but that you possessed an opinion that meant something. Both of you are extraordinarily well-off English people who have absolutely no idea what it is to be like a working Australian today.

It's 2006. Gough is no longer Prime Minister of Australia, thank goodness, and you really need to piss off and live your lives as privileged English people and stop pretending that you are Australians, or indeed that you know anything about modern day Australian society.

For the record, I love visiting England. England and Australia are two countries with a shared tradition and still very close ties, which is why the Ashes remain such an important event. But the '60s and '70s were a long time ago, and are irrelevant to most current-day English and Australians.