The biggest April Fools in Australian history

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Hilariously, David Flint and the ACM have shown themselves up to be perhaps the biggest April Fools in Australia’s history by falling hook, line and sinker for an obvious prank by the UK's The Guardian newspaper. Barry Everingham reports.

First half of the ACM "knockout blow" article

In today’s (Sunday’s) edition of Professor Flint’s personal blog (the crap written on it has either his by-line or his pseudonym “by ACM”) — it would be remiss of me not to share with IA’s soaring readership Flint’s lead story which he based on an editorial UK’s The Guardian newspaper on April 1.

According to Flint, this UK newspaper article has dealt the ARM a killer blow:
“It is a knockout blow to the Australian republican movement [sic]  – a mere shadow of itself compared with the formidable force it once was under the Turnbull-Keating ascendancy – as well as  the  minuscule United Kingdom,  Canadian and New Zealand republican movements.

“That respected voice of progressive politics, The Guardian, has returned to the monarchist fold.

“Probably the leading English language quality newspaper of the left, The Guardian has renounced the republican agenda it vigorously endorsed in 2000. The newspaper had even challenged the law in relation to the succession.

“The Guardian is the leading intellectual media source for Labour and similar parties in the sixteen realms over which The Queen reigns. This decision will have a considerable effect in these parties and beyond.

“It will make it acceptable for ALP politicians to admit that they support the existing constitution. After all a large number of the 72% of Australian electorates which voted No in 1999 were held by the Australian Labor Party.”

Beautifully written and crafted — and his lips would have been pursing like crazy as he put it together.

Trouble is, it’s all wrong, wrong, dead wrong! Note the date of the editorial: April Fool!

The Guardian was having a lend of it’s readers in it’s April 1 edition.

Second half of the ACM article

Of course, the ARM got the joke and immediately posted the Guardian article on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

So, bearing that in mind, here’s the funniest bit of Flint’s piece:
“Some republicans hoped this declaration by The Guardian was just an April Fool’s day joke, but there is no evidence of that.In its editorial “The magic of the monarchy: The royal moment has come, (1/4)” The Guardian finds that Prince William has shown that he can be a new kind of king.”

Now, let’s give Flint the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he wasn’t fooled? Maybe he just lied to deceive his readership? I note that the link back to The Guardian article didn't work, so his readers couldn't easily read the original to see if it really was an April Fool's joke. Well, it’s either that or he is so lacking in a sense of humour he didn’t get the obvious jokes interspersed throughout the obviously tongue-in-cheek piece. Whatever, he leaves with egg all over his face as we have reliable information that the popular press will be reporting this gaffe in all its glory tomorrow. It has already been reported in the UK today.

Indeed, here’s what Mark Colvin – the presenter for ABC Radio’s highly respected, and nationally broadcast, PM program – said about the blunder (in fact, he left several joyous tweets on the incident today):
@Colvinius: Happy and glorious. ACM fall for Guardian April Fools' joke. "no evidence" that it's a hoax (even the Burke/Morton line)"

(It should be noted that Colvin did later issued a disclaimer: "BTW I hold no position on the Monarchy vs Republican question. But I do love seeing pomposity punctured.)

There are so many obvious gags interspersed throughout the piece that any savvy reader would immediately have picked up on. Amazingly, some are even included in the portion of The Guardian piece Flint lifted to support his argument (note my highlighting):
“That is why, in a significant change of course, we today pledge our full-throated support for the British monarchy.”

“Let's face it: the current crop of world leaders is far from inspiring. Across the Arab world, dictators battle their own people; at home, attitudes towards Cameron and Clegg alternate between apathy and outrage. In America, the hope that greeted Barack Obama has long since faded.

"As The King's Speech so vividly reminded us, there are times when only the calming leadership of a hereditary monarch will do; and as the MPs' expenses scandal illustrates, it can be dangerous to trust power-hungry elected officials, who lack the security provided by land ownership and immense wealth.

" Amid all this, William in particular stands out as something unique: a bastion of tradition with a deeply modern sensibility –not to mention a helicopter pilot's licence. When the time comes, we urge Prince Charles to redouble his focus on his important work in the field of alternative medicine, and to pass the mantle of head of state to his son.”

“For too long, a hair-shirt tendency on the left has insisted that a commitment to progressive values is incompatible with an appreciation for the magic and wonder of royalty.”

That’s the thing about these sort of April Fool’s Day jokes—they catch people who want them to be true.

The ABC's Mark Colvin (photo courtesy SMH)

Here are some of the other gems that weren’t included in Flint’s “article”:

  • "William encapsulates our spirit of internationalism, thanks to his Greek and German heritage on his father's side, and his gap year in Chile.”

    • "Few things, after all, are as likely to lift the spirits of Britain's embattled public sector workers or benefit claimants than the sight of Kate Middleton's sure-to-be-spectacular wedding dress."

      • “...we have come to appreciate the crucial work done by Prince Andrew, using his personal connections to plant the seeds of democracy in repressive regimes worldwide.”

        • “We begin an unprecedented month-long, 24-hour royal wedding live blog, offering minute-by-minute coverage of the preparations. We will be recalling correspondents from some less newsworthy parts of the globe, such as north Africa and south-east Asia, so they can focus on palace matters instead. And we will shortly be making available to readers a range of attractive commemorative crockery.”

          • Great philosophers, from Burke to Andrew Morton, have argued powerfully for the institution's value.

          • How on Earth did Flint miss these? Or is it a case of deliberate deception? We don’t know, but either way it has backfired on him spectacularly.

            Flint ends his piece mawkishly welcoming The Guardian back to the monarchist fold:
            “A welcome back to the prodigal son.”


            And you can only imagine the embarrassment monarchists must feel. Surely it has to be enough for the ACM’s “supporters” to get rid of him and Tom Flynn — the ACM’s only voting members. There must be a legal loophole somewhere that can put an end to the pair’s ham-fisted mismanagement of the organisation. To give it the respect it deserves and which it lacks under the leadership of this pair of, dare I say, April Fools.

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            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
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