I’m on tour. Normally what happens on tour stays on tour. But since the only thing Trappist about me is the beer I drink, I will definitely be spilling what beans there might be about this particular holiday. I’m wintering in Australia. I call it a sabbatical though my Australian wife thinks of it is emigration. We may come to blows in February. However defined, this is my first break in a quarter century, though being a workerist nut with puritan tendencies (well hidden in a sybaritic frame), I’m also doing some consultancy in Oz. I’m not very good with holidays.
Australia is booming while Blighty suffers. That’s interesting. It didn’t really have much of a recession, though I notice that neither the federal Labor government nor the state premiers seem to be getting much respect for this notable achievement. In my experience no good turn goes unpunished so I shouldn’t be that surprised. Also, as my Aussie-phile mate (see, I’m getting there) John McTernan points out, governments need more than their record to get re-elected. They still need to sell a vision of the future – a vision made more credible of course by good performance in power. Still, I’m not sure that Aussies understand quite how fortunate they have been to withstand the credit crunch. This was called ‘the Lucky Country’ decades ago, both by patriots and satirists. Its luck hasn’t got worse since, it seems to me. But then I’ve only been here four days although given my capacity to generalise from unique events this is a very scientific sample.
I shall be giving up the column in Regeneration and Renewal in December – after ten years of noble effort on behalf of the commonweal (not that they noticed). However, I will be continuing with this blog, until I’ve got nothing left to say on Britain, Australia, Wales, the human condition and Arsenal – or until fellow bloggers or readers physically prevent me.
A bientot as the say in the western suburbs of Sydney!