Soapbox Speakers

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 2nd July

In News for Speakers' Corner on July 3, 2017 at 12:11 pm

“We can’t all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the kerb and applaud when they go by.”

American humorist, Will Rogers

1. It was a cold day but it was hot in the sun. Figure that out.

As usual, the speakers were Ray, Mr Bashful, Steve Maxwell and Helmut. Plus, we had guest speaker and Radio sensation, John August get up to speak and answer questions.

Mirko was at his “effervescent” best.

Mirko was once probed by aliens and given advanced science tips. When the aliens chose Mirko to spread the word they chose wisely.

2. Some regulars claimed that last week’s post about Mr B’s excursion was a fabrication. I think we have a trust issue going on here.

3. Occasionally you will find advertisements on this blog. This scribe wants it noted that he makes no money from those advertisements and doesn’t get to choose them. The advertisements you find on this blog are put there by the company that created its infrastructure: WordPress.

Except this advertisement below. I put that there. I like the colours.

WordPress: I wish you didn’t place advertisements on this blog but I understand why you do. Thank you, WordPress, for providing this scribe with the free tools to create this blog. Much appreciated.

4. This blog received a visit from The European Union. It seems they have their own flag.

128 visits from Australia? A fluke. This blog only averages 20 visits a day.

5. Three people spoke on our Ladder of Lament and expressed regrets: an unbought mattress; being hit by a car while riding a motorcycle; and remarks left unsaid when getting the strap in school.

It’s an interesting segment. And, we were given a bonus: when the grasshopper spoke about his motorcycle incident, he also recounted his extraordinary experience while laying unconscious on the road.

Regrets, I’ve had a few.

6. The ‘Something Nice’ segment. To charm some and irritate others.

7. We had our Jokefest segment too, which got laughs. The joke below was NOT told.

The wife of a businessman was told their housekeeper wanted a raise. This upset her, and she decided to talk to her housekeeper about it.
 She asked: “Maria, why do you want a pay increase?”
Maria: “Well, Señora, there are tree reasons why I wanna increase. The first is that I iron  better than you.”
Wife:  “Who said you iron better than  me?”
Maria: “Jor huzban he say so.”
Wife: “Oh yeah?”
Maria: “The second reason eez that I am a better cook than you.”
Wife:  “Nonsense, who said you were a better  cook than me?”
Maria: “Jor hozban did.”
Wife, increasingly  agitated: “Oh, he did, did he?”
Maria: “The third reason is that I am better at sex than you in the bed.”
Wife, furious, through gritted teeth:
 “And did my husband say that as well?”
Maria: “No Señora . . . the gardener did.”
Wife:  “So Maria, how much did you say you want?”

8. Other subjects discussed:
– In 1983 The San Diego Yacht Club purposely lost the American’s cup to Australia II, so that they could win it back the following year and display it in their own yacht club in San Diego.
With all the interruptions the speaker received this quick five minute point was stretched to twenty minutes.

– In 1987, New Zealanders lost the right to criticise Australia for Greg Chappell’s notorious under-arm bowling incident in 1981 when they tried to cheat the San Diego Yacht Club using an onerous technicality.

-The Federal government has announced that it will be creating a cyber-force for its Armed Services, beginning with 100 people. It aims to have 900. The speaker wondered why the hell we don’t have a cyber-force already! (One grasshopper suggested we probably do, and that the government is just making it official.)

– “Let’s treat terrorists well when we catch them,” suggested the speaker. He gave his reasons why.

– In a question-and-answer website called ‘Quora’ the question was asked, “My wife and I are atheists. Our child wants to go to church. What should we do?” The speaker proudly stated that every one of the fifty atheist answers he read suggested that the child be taken to church. “It’s a shame,” he added, “that most believers don’t give their unwilling children the same respect.”

– John August spoke about the need to reduce Australia’s population and gave recommendations on how it could be done. He punctured a few myths along the way. When someone claimed that we could divert rivers and create a gardens in our dry areas, debate raged amongst the grasshoppers. It was like having a sudden flush of locusts.

– “Should we seriously consider nuclear power?” asked one grasshopper. Arguments for and against were made about nuclear power stations, coal seam gas and other fossil fuels, batteries, and renewables (geothermal, windmills, solar). Even the old perennials, the “imminent” fusion power and thorium power stations, got a mention.

– Someone asked why nearly all the regular grasshoppers attending each week are men. Then it was asked, “why do men outnumber women in most areas of interest?” A few reasons were put forth, and the predictable claim of “Misogyny!” arose (from a man).

– Has Donald Trump permanently changed what it means to be presidential? Is he giving the role an overhaul? Could he end up doing a good job? In what way is Paul Keating’s 1992 touch-up of the Queen relevant?

9. Our Domain legend, Steve Maxwell, has written another article for his popular ‘Passing Parade’ series. You might be surprised at how troubled and violent our society used to be.

Steve Maxwell’s Passing Parade.

The Red Flag Riots

After World War I, Military Intelligence organised loyalist groups from returned sailors, soldiers, and airmen.  Their aim was to stop Bolsheviks in Australia.

Trouble began on July 29, 1918 when George “gunner” Taylor, a returned soldier and radical, raised the first red flag in Australia while addressing a large crowd of 1,500 in the Brisbane Domain. The Domain is located directly under the Captain Cook Bridge at Garden Point, behind Queensland Parliament House.

Taylor was attacked and knocked from his platform by six returned soldiers. A riot ensued. Police restored order while Taylor’s supporters sang the radical song “The Red Flag” and the attackers sang ‘Rule Britannia” and “Australia Will be There”.

The riot escalated when 5,000 returned soldiers rallied and marched on to the North Quay (also a regular Speakers’ Corner) and attacked the Industrial Worker of the World (IWW) platform. More returned soldiers, some armed, then marched across the Brisbane bridge to the Russian Headquarters in South Brisbane. Some of the Russians in the Headquarters fired shots in defence. Next day, newspaper headlines made sensational reading: “Police and soldiers badly mauled”.

Loyalists rallied from far and wide 8,000 (many armed) marched on the Russian Headquarters again. This time, police cordoned off their approach. The police were armed with bayonet rifles. Mounted troopers then attacked the crowd without reading the riot act. The troopers whipped and charged through the mob. A two-hour battle ensued.

The police, though outnumbered, kept to their lines despite many being injured by hails of bricks and timber fencing. Returned soldiers fired shots, narrowing missing many troopers. Hand to hand fighting was so close that the Police Commissioner Urquhart was accidentally wounded with a bayonet. 14 police and 100 demonstrators were wounded. The riot subsided, but the anger of the returned soldiers manifested into a week long series of anti-Bolshevik rallies and parades.

One of  the main political outcomes of the riot was the rise in popularity of the RSSAL (Returned Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen League) which later became the RSL.

Both Taylor and Urquhart survived.
 George Cuthbert “Gunner” Taylor (1886-1957) later became the Labor member of Enoggera in Brisbane between 1932 – 1944, and the State President of the RSL. Frederic Charles Urquhart (1858 – 1935) was appointed as Administrator of the Northern Territory in 1921.

References:
George Cuthbert Taylor (Wikipedia.)
Frederic Charles Urquhart (Australian Biography)
‘Long Blue line’, P190. 23 march 1919.
Daily Mail correspondent in September 1918.
The Red Flag Riots by Raymond Evans. University of Queensland Press.

Steve Maxwell.

 

 

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