Jonathan Swift – evidence that he was involved in a murder in 1724

Jonathan Swift, privy to a murder? Could the author of Gulliver’s Travels, the champion of the Irish people and the man widely considered the greatest ever prose writer in the English language, have been party to the purposeful killing of another human being, his own printer? This is what I am asserting in an aspect of my research which has grown from my 2015 thesis, which was concerned with Swift’s dealings with the Dublin print industry in the 1720’s. It seems a preposterous notion. Evidence that has never been seen in almost three hundred years? Of a murder that implicates a writer who has been universally revered from before his death in 1745 through to and including today? This evidence, in my view, has been on the face of the record all this time.

Continued on Tinteán: a magazine for Irish Australia.

Ode to a patch of MCG turf

Farewell, we bid thee, piece of turf three metres by one,
As thou travelleth up the Hume, the truck that transports thee, we cannot outrun.
For as long as the sun has risen in the east, thou hast glistened with morning dew,
Now, as thou truckest, may thou receive the care that is thy due.
May thou be tended with waters and fertilisers, to ease thy weary load,
And heaven help the driver should he fail to avoid any bump in the road.
Oh turf, oh turf, our Melbourne soil, thou art so good, so great!
The more for having tolerated imposter feet from interstate.
And though the quest thou now pursueth be imbued with virtue and grace,
Forsooth, to remind the northern people of their rightful place,
Knowest as thou leavest, your departure is a killer,
With holes in Melbourne hearts that cannot be fixed with poly filler,
And though your holy house be made only of bricks and mortar,
We worship thee, and it, forever as we oughta.

 

The revolution is being televised

In his 1971 cult classic, ‘The Revolution will not be televised’, Gil Scott-Heron envisions the African-American uprising in a song that oozes power, rhythm and classic African-American cool. ‘You will not be able to stay home, brother,’ he sings in the call-to-arms refrain, ‘because the revolution will not be televised.’ Fifty years on, the revolution is being televised and it is being conducted almost entirely by progressive whites. People of colour may as well stay home and watch on tv.

Continue reading “The revolution is being televised”

The clear sky of these football-free days

How good is this break from football? I say that as someone who has followed the game since the age of three and who still thinks it is one of the best spectator sports in the world. But of all the incidental benefits that have stemmed from the coronavirus, is there any more valuable than this hiatus from football? Not for mine. I hope common sense prevails at the AFL and it lasts the whole year, although I know there is as much chance of that as there is of the Adelaide Crows being given an earnt home grand final at Adelaide Oval.

The lockdown has reminded us of a time when football was in its proper place. Anyone on the wrong side of fifty can remember it well. Life was more about neighbourhood. If you needed bread or milk or wanted to buy the paper you walked or rode to the deli. People worked five-and-a-half days a week to earn an honest keep, most often in a trade or profession that they stayed in for life, and football was a Saturday afternoon entertainment. The game was an important part of the week and was looked forward to, but the players too held Monday-to-Friday jobs, the kind that kept the wheels of the community turning. Continue reading “The clear sky of these football-free days”

High Court sport

We are approaching a period in which four of the seven judges on the High Court will have to retire. Two reach the mandatory retirement age within the next twelve months, another in October 2022, then the Chief Justice herself in January 2024. Not since the latter half of the 1990’s has there been a period of such turnover. At that time it had been anticipated that John Doyle, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, would be appointed. Doyle was widely considered to be one of the best legal minds the country has ever produced and was seen as a future Chief Justice, not simply a puisne, of the Court, but the five vacancies in those years went to three from New South Wales, one from Victoria and one from Queensland.

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MH370 – the lead that vanished

Now that the “shocking” new evidence in the Sky News documentary MH370: The Untold Story has been revealed, I write to report a disappearance. Of the various theories and leads that have been advanced since the tragedy on 8 March 2014, there is one that has gone missing, never sighted by any investigating team including, now, Sky News. I refer to an early lead offered by an Australian scientific exploration company which was presented in good faith but which, irrespective of its merits, fell prey to cancel culture.

Continued on The Spectator Australia here.

 

My kingdom for a horse in Australia

In his new book, The Brothers York: An English Tragedy, Thomas Penn patches over an important detail relating to Edward IV, who reigned from 1461 to 1483. Penn describes Edward as having been the legitimate son of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, and his wife Lady Cecily Neville. However, Edward’s legitimacy was a point of contention even in his own time and evidence discovered in 2003 goes a long way to proving, firstly, that Edward could not have been fathered by Richard, and secondly, that if the monarchical line had followed its true genealogical path through Edward’s younger brother, George, it leads eventually to rural Australia. Continue reading “My kingdom for a horse in Australia”

School Council Diary

As a member of the School Council of the public primary school in suburban Melbourne attended by my two boys, I supported my fellow councillor’s motion to arrange for a sex education speaker to give a talk for parents on how to speak to their children about sex. The speaker in question came highly recommended and on the night itself I arrived early, introduced myself, helped her set up, and took a seat in the front row. Then as she began, eager for her to feel welcome, I gave little nods of encouragement whenever she glanced my way. Continue reading “School Council Diary”