New Reserve Bank board member Heather Ridout has upset some in the antimacassar crotcheting crowd by suggesting Australia should become a fully independent Republic. Senior correspondent Barry Everingham reports.
Professor David Flint has been unusually quiet of late, leaving the running of ACM to the new boy wonder Jai Martinkovics who took over from Tom Flynn, who Dave very successfully knifed in the back.
He did have a very tired piece on his personal website lauding the tired Neil Brown’s clap trap in The Spectator, but today the old dear is out and about again dropping a bucket over the very popular and extremely talented Heather Ridout — whose appointment to the board of the Reserve Bank has been universally applauded, with one exception; the old pet is hissing that Ms Ridout, as a republican, is more or less unfit for public office.
What made Flint so foot-stampingly cross was what Ridout said on the Republican issue in her recent address to the National Press Club:
“Before winding up, I would like to add a personal view about the importance for our opportunities in the Asian century of us having an Australian head of state. Of course we are all aware of the strong following the Queen has. It was clearly on display again during on her recent visit. However, we really need to move on into the new century with an Australian head of state.
“We should embrace our history but we will not have a truly Australian brand until we allow ourselves to produce our own head of state. As Paul Keating once said, we need to cease being “the branch office of Empire”. While the polls may currently be against a republic, this will re-emerge as the mainstream view.
"As the Adelaide Advertiser editorialised last month:
“'It is inevitable that we will reach a point where a republic is needed. Not because we are anti-monarchy, but because it reflects who we are as a country. It better reflects our place in the global economy and system of government, in due course, a republic is in the best interests of a modern Australia.' "
And after her address, during the Q and A session, she made the following incisive statement:
“And frankly, I can't imagine my children, you know, wanting to be part of a country that still tugs their forelock to the old country.”
Flint is furious that Ms Ridout has hit the nail squarely on the head by pointing out that the monarchy is anachronistic.
And then he goes on and on about what he calls the “politicians’ republic” and makes the ridiculous claim that the monarchy is “above politics”.
Well, Davey old dear, it ain’t.
It is a politicians' monarchy; even Flint would know that Queen cannot publicly even say hello unless she has permission from the Prime Minister of the day.
He program is forwarded to the PM’s office for approval, the speeches she makes on the trade missions she undertakes on behalf of Great Britain – dressed up as State visits – are almost always written in Whitehall.
It should be noted that the Queen, as head of state of another 15 nations besides Britain, does not undertake any trade missions on their behalf — it’s all about Britain, and she is as a much a creature of politics as the Prime Minister she serves.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and cast our minds back to the year 1957 when Anthony Eden resigned as PM and it was left to EIIR to appoint a replacement.
These days, of course, the moribund monarchy has no say whatsoever in who gets the top post in the UK or any of the other countries of which she is head.
Back then, though, she was expected to do the choosing and while the Conservatives were tearing themselves to pieces internally, she heard warning bells and handed the decision of a replacement to a group of upper class twits to sound out the parry and they of course came up with Harold Macmillan — an Old Etonian married to a duke’s daughter.
It was obvious the monarch was party to some sort of aristocratic stitch up.
RA Butler was the obvious choice, but he wasn’t grand enough for the people the Queen consulted and the rest is history.
David Flint has a hide criticising the choice of Heather Ridout because she is at odds with our country continuing to go along with a hereditary fairy tale form of subservience to a gaggle of ethnic Germans playing undemocratic constitutional roles in a foreign country.
Ms Ridout is right and David Flint is wrong.
And in language even Flint would understand he should put a sock in it go back to what he does best – crocheting antimacassars.