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Gay History: The Hon. Percy Jocelyn (1764-1843); Bishop of Ferns, Ireland.


The Right Rev. and Hon. Percy Jocelyn was Bishop of the Diocese of Ferns from 1809-1820. Percy’s mother, Lady Anne Hamilton, was a member of the Clanbrassil Hamiltons, on whose land the Battle of Ballinahinch was fought in 1798, and her distant kin included the United Irish leader, Archibald Hamilton Rowan. In 1752, Lady Anne Hamilton married Robert Jocelyn, son of the Lord High Chancellor of Ireland. Through his father’s political success and his wife’s aristocratic connections, Robert Jocelyn attained high honours and became Earl of Roden. A year before the Rising, in 1797, Lord Roden’s eldest son, Robert Jocelyn (1756-1820), succeeded as the second Earl of Roden. The second son, George Jocelyn (1764-1798), was the father-in-law of both Walter Hore and James Boyd. But it was the third and youngest son, Percy Jocelyn (1764-1843), who proved to be the most interesting character in that generation of the family.

He graduated with a BA from Trinity College Dublin. At Trinity, he was regarded as something of a bookworm, spending much of his time in his rooms on Library Square. He was later described as “a tall thin young man with a pale, meagre and melancholy countenance, and so reserved in his manners and recluse in his habits that he was considered by every body to be both proud and unsociable”. Percy Jocelyn was born on 29 November 1764. Immediately after graduating, he was ordained deacon at the age of 23 and then priest. He quickly acquired a number of ecclesiastical positions, not because he was able and capable, but due to the cunning ambition that had made him a corrupt pluralist who amassed many posts, enriching himself with the income from accumulated tithes and endowments.
For all the offices he held from a young age, Jocelyn gave very little back in return to the parishes that sustained his lifestyle. He failed constantly to provide for the pastoral care of his parishioners or to take services in the churches and cathedrals to which he had been appointed. Between 1787 and 1809, he was Treasurer of Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork (1787-1795); Rector of Creggan, near Dundalk, Co Louth, and Rector of Tamlaght, Co Derry, two parishes at opposite ends of the Diocese of Armagh (1788-1790); Archdeacon of Ross, Co Cork (1788-1790); Treasurer of Armagh Cathedral (1790-1809); and Rector of Disert, Co Waterford, in the Diocese of Lismore (1796-1809). Not even the holiest and most energetic of men could give due attention to these posts in four dioceses spread across five counties and three provinces while maintaining a city residence in Dublin at the same time.
Jocelyn’s contemporaries realised that he was incapable of giving due attention to his pastoral responsibilities and that he was idle to the point of negligence, seldom taking services and never preaching. Rev Thomas Hore said Jocelyn that he was the “most idle of all reverend idlers” and asked him rhetorically: “Do you ever write a sermon? Most worthy Rector of Creggan – not you.”

As a consequence of the events in 1798, Percy Jocelyn was elevated to the bench of bishops in the Church of Ireland. During the Rising, the Bishop of Killala, Joseph Stock, had suffered bitterly at the hands of the rebels, the French invading force, and the British authorities in Co Mayo. Once the Rising was over, Stock was naturally disillusioned with his see and was soon pursuing every vacant episcopal appointment. However, Stock was disappointed as he was passed over for preferment when the mad Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin, Euseby Cleaver, became Archbishop of Dublin in 1808. Stock had hoped to become Archbishop of Dublin, but now resigned himself to moving to Co Wexford, writing to his son: “If I cannot be Dublin, I shall be content with Ferns.” He must have been convinced of his chances of moving to Co Wexford, for four days later he wrote in similar terms: “I think I must have a chance of Ferns.” Despite his expectations, all Stock received was a polite note from the Lord Lieutenant, the Duke of Richmond. Instead, he was transferred to the Waterford and Lismore, and eventually, in 1809, the See of Ferns, vacated by Cleaver, passed to Percy Jocelyn. When he became Bishop of Ferns, Percy Jocelyn found himself in good company alongside the scandalous Chancellor of Ferns, Sir Henry Bate Dudley. But Jocelyn, for his part, spent very little time in his dioceses, seldom visiting those parishes in counties Wexford, Wicklow and Carlow that formed his diocese.

In 1811, Jocelyn’s brother John’s coachman, James Byrne, accused him of “taking indecent familiarities” (possibly buggery) and of “using indecent or obscene conversations with him”. Byrne was sued for criminal libel by Jocelyn and on conviction was sentenced to two years in jail and also to public flogging. In court, the bishop’s counsel was Charles Kendal Bushe (1767-1843), Solicitor General of Ireland and later Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, who was a clergyman’s son. Bushe confounded Byrne’s allegations by claiming the sexual practice the Bishop of Ferns was alleged to have indulged in was a “contagion” that had never reached Ireland. “There is no instance of its existence in the memory of any professional man,” Bushe told the court. Therefore, by deduction, the bishop must be innocent. At the trial, Byrne hardly bothered to defend himself for making what the judge called “so wicked a calumny that no idea is too horrible to be informed of you.” Jocelyn was described as “an exalted and venerable character, who, though raised to one of the highest dignities of the Church, is still less exalted by his rank than he is by the uniform piety of his life.” The bishop was virtuous, pious and devout, Mr Justice Fox agreed. Regretting that he could not pass harsher sentence, he jailed Byrne for two years and ordered that he should be whipped three times through the streets of Dublin. Byrne was whipped to within an inch of his life, and also spent the full two years and an extra 85 days in jail Recanting his allegations at the prompting of the bishop’s agent, the floggings were stopped. A public subscription was raised in 1822 to raise money for Byrne to try to make up for this miscarriage of justice.

Soon poor Percy put all these sordid events and Byrne’s allegations behind him. Others appeared to have had short memories too, including family members, and when the bishop’s nephew, also Robert Jocelyn, succeeded as third Earl of Roden in 1820, he actively sought the promotion of Percy from the Diocese of Ferns to the See of Clogher. Despite the image that had been bolstered by his family and in court, by the time Jocelyn moved from Ferns to Clogher there were rumours that the bishop was mentally imbalanced. Within weeks there were reports that he was selling off the furnishings of his new palace, a four-storey Classical mansion built only a year earlier by his predecessor, Lord John George Beresford. Worse was to come.

On 19 July 1822, at the age of 58, Percy Jocelyn was caught in a compromising position with a Grenadier Guardsman, John Moverley, in the back room of The White Lion public house, St Albans Place, off The Haymarket, Westminster. Jocelyn tried to escape, but his trousers were still down around his ankles, and he was arrested. Although dressed as a clergyman, he refused to reveal his identity. However, once in custody his name was soon discovered and the news of his arrest caused an immediate sensation in London’s clubs and coffee houses. He and Moverley were released on bail, provided by the Earl of Roden and others. The 22-year-old John Moverley was eventually committed to jail. The sordid details surrounding Jocelyn’s arrest were conveyed to the newly-appointed Archbishop of Armagh, Lord John George Beresford, by George Dawson, private secretary to the Home Secretary, Robert Peel. Only after lively correspondence involving the viceroy, the prime minister, the chief secretary, and Archbishop Beresford, was an ecclesiastical court summoned. The court, consisting of four bishops, George Beresford of Kilmore, William Knox of Derry, James Saurin of Dromore and William Bissett of Raphoe, met in Armagh in October 1822. Citations demanding Jocelyn’s appearance were posted on the doors of Clogher Palace and Cathedral, and on the doors of his townhouse in Dublin, but when he failed to appear in court, the process was begun to deprive the bishop of his ecclesiastical office.

But, even while the trial was proceeding, Jocelyn’s capacity for corruption remained unbounded. When he should have been appearing before the four bishops in Armagh, he was auctioning off the last remaining contents of his palace, so that the court ruefully recorded: “That splendid appendage of his dignity has been left as naked as a ruin.” Jocelyn was declared deposed by the Metropolitan Court of Armagh in October 1822. He was deprived of his bishopric, his holy orders and his authority “on account of divers crimes and excesses and more especially for the crimes of immorality, incontinence, sodomitical practices, habits, and propensities, and neglect of his spiritual, judicial, and ministerial duties.” It is, perhaps, the only example ever of a bishop in the Church of Ireland being reduced to the lay state. James Byrne, once flogged and jailed for his allegations against the bishop, now felt vindicated. The Times of London demanded he should receive public indemnity, a great dinner was organised in his honour in London, and a public subscription raised £300 for him.

Moverely had disappeared by now, and there were rumours that Jocelyn’s nephew had him bought off or even had him murdered; other reports said he had been executed. However, the records show that Moverly deserted on 7 August 1822. There is reason to believe that the government, rather than to have a bishop found guilty of the crime of sodomy, was willing to let him escape. There appear to be no documents in the regimental archive relating to a courts martial so possibly he was never caught. Meanwhile, Jocelyn had broken bail. The fugitive bishop first fled to Scotland and from there to Paris with the money he had extracted from his Episcopal Palace, and perhaps with the help of his nephew, Lord Roden. Two years later, in December 1824, the disgraced bishop was formally declared an outlaw. 

The last days of Percy Jocelyn were spent as a character who, by some standards, might be more pitied than despised. It is generally accepted that he ended his days in Scotland, working as a butler under the assumed name of Thomas Wilson. He died in Edinburgh in December 1843, and was buried there in the New Cemetery, with only five mourners present. The Latin inscription on his coffin is very telling: “Here lie the remains of a great sinner, saved by grace, whose hopes rest in the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

However, a contrary end is provided by the English writer, Rictor Norton. After he writing a short sketch of the bishop, Norton was contacted by the Hon James Jocelyn, a brother of the current Lord Roden, who claimed that Percy Jocelyn did not die in Scotland as a disguised butler, but returned to his family in Co Down to live a quiet life. The bishop left most of his fairly large estate to his sisters, but his will also contained a dozen bequests to named individuals ranging from £100 pounds to £2,200, including £300 “to my good friend and relation The Reverend James Hill Poe of Nenagh … as token of Remembrance for all the Kindness and attention which my beloved sisters and myself have uniformly experienced from him for many years past during a period of extreme calamity and misfortune.” The will includes the following clause: “I desire and request that my remains may be committed to the Grave in the most private manner at a very early hour in the morning and that no Publicity whatsoever may attend my funeral, also that no name be inscribed on my Coffin and my age. And I desire no publication of my death to be inserted in any public paper.” Some years ago, the Jocelyn family vault at Kilcoo Parish Church in Bryansford, Co Down, was opened for structural repairs to the church, and when James Jocelyn went inside he found one more coffin than the number of grave markers indicated. This extra coffin was unmarked, and he argued that this belonged to the former Bishop of Ferns.

It is not surprising that Bishop Jocelyn never married. His closest family relations were the daughters of his nearest brother, George Jocelyn, and two of them married into prominent Co. Wexford families during Percy’s eleven-year tenure as Bishop of Ferns. In 1812, Harriet Jocelyn married the Rev Walter Hore, Rector of Ferns. Walter Hore, who was the son of Walter Hore of Seafield and grandson of Walter Hore of Harperstown, died on 28 September 1843. In December 1813, Georgiana Jocelyn married Major James Boyd of Rosslare, Co. Wexford. She died in July 1819, and Boyd died forty years later in 1859.

Jocelyn’s arrest sent ripples through both state and church. Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, who was both the Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons at the time, had an audience with King George IV on 9 August 1822 to reveal the fact that he was being blackmailed, and confessed: “I am accused of the same crime as the Bishop of Clogher.” The King is said to have advised Castereagh to “consult a physician.” Instead, he went to his English country seat in Kent, and three days later he slit his throat with a pen-knife. The reputation of the Irish clergy suffered as a result of the case, and Peel wondered whether it was advisable to appoint any of the Irish clergy to a vacant bishopric in the future. Shortly after Jocelyn’s arrest, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners Sutton, claimed “it was not safe for a bishop to shew himself in the streets of London.” The former Bishop of Ferns was the most senior churchman in either Ireland or Britain to be involved in a public homosexual scandal in the 19th century. Initially, there was reluctance to discuss the case in the media, and a writer for The Times of London noted that “[m]ingled feelings of sorrow, humiliation, and disgust” had almost prevented him from writing at all. But Jocelyn was soon being ridiculed as the “Bishop of Sodom” and he became a subject of crude satire and popular ribaldry, resulting in more than a dozen illustrated satirical cartoons and numerous pamphlets and limericks. However, it is agreed generally that the case had many positive consequences, for it strengthened Archbishop Beresford’s hand in enforcing higher standards and instituting reforms of abuses brought about by lax and worldly clerics in the Church of Ireland. Nevertheless, the indiscretions of this former Bishop of Ferns have remained an embarrassment for generations. Percy Jocelyn rates a short and dismissive three-line entry in Leslie’s list of the Bishops of Ferns. Leslie’s separate eleven-line entries for him in the Armagh and Clogher lists of clergy and parishes merely state that he was deprived for by a court without hinting at the nature of his offence. There is no separate entry for him in the Dictionary of National Biography, and he is seldom referred to in the Roden pedigrees in Burke’s and other peerages. 

The Jocelyn case was a sensation at the time, as it would be even now, and researchers might expect to find details of the scandal in church archives. However, the Clogher Diocesan archives in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast, are essentially a record of the day-to-day running of the diocese and are silent about the deposition of Percy Jocelyn. For almost two centuries, the relevant papers in the Armagh Diocesan Registry Archive remained under an interdict imposed in 1822 by Primate Beresford. In the 1920s, Archbishop Charles Frederick D’Arcy, a former Bishop of Clogher, asked for the papers to be burned, although his instructions were never carried out, and the papers were released from closure only recently. An ecumenical but oft-forgotten twist to the tale is that Clogher Palace, which was quickly pillaged by Jocelyn after this move from Ferns in 1820, served as a convent for the Sisters of Saint Louis for most of the 20th century.

Tim Alderman (2017)

References

Flat Earth Politics!

This article has been in the “thought” phase for quite some time now. I originally intended it to be an indictment of the Trump Presidency – and for the insularists who think American politics only affect America, and have nothing to do with us…do some reading, study some history and grow up – but in the face of the current political climate globally, its scope expanded so much that I was  losing track of its reach! On reviewing the current thinking vomited out by so called right-wing conservative extremists, the first thing that flashed through my mind when wanting to write about them was that they had a Flat Earth Mentality…a narrow, self-serving view of the world; a blinkered view in which the wants and needs of those who, thinking they were initiating change, put them in control. I had naively thought the stupidity I was witnessing would diverge into common sense – but that hasn’t been the case! It has only been since the recent French elections, and the rejection of the right wing extremism there that I am starting to hope that change is starting to happen as people begin to realise the dangers inherent in current conservative politics. This article is not about a solution, nor is it a definitive  observation of all that is concerning at this time – one would need a novel to cover that! It is purely a personal observation of the dangers of Flat Earth thinking!

Flat earth theory is still around. On the internet and in small meeting rooms in Britain and the US, flat earth believers get together to challenge the “conspiracy” that the Earth is round.
“People are definitely prejudiced against flat-earthers,” says John Davis, a flat earth theorist based in Tennessee, reacting to the new Microsoft commercial.

“Many use the term ‘flat-earther’ as a term of abuse, and with connotations that imply blind faith, ignorance or even anti-intellectualism.”

Mr Davis, a 25-year-old computer scientist originally from Canada, first became interested in flat earth theory after “coming across some literature from the Flat Earth Society a few years ago”.

“I came to realise how much we take at face value,” he says. “We humans seem to be pleased with just accepting what we are told, no matter how much it goes against our senses.”

Flat Earth Societies go back to the Victorian era, and though basically of Christian origin, the fact that there is a recent (tongue-in-cheek?) resurgence amongst those of an Atheist inclination   shows that narrow-minded and non-investigative thinking survives the passage of time.

We have known for centuries that the earth is not flat, that by sailing in a straight line the horizon will never disappear, so you won’t suddenly sail over the edge into oblivion! But the really fascinating aspect of Flat Earth Societies isn’t  that they exist, but that they can – against all reasoned thinking and knowledge – convince others that the earth is flat, and can even produce writings, drawings and arguments to back the theory up! In other words, they can prevail against common sense and observation, and make people believe that lies and deceit are real. However, the ignorant thinking that created the Flat Earth Societies in the first place is now a sad reality in our political lives. The notion of government “of the people, by the people, for the people” has morphed into government “of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy” is our new reality!

Flat Earth map drawn by Orlando Ferguson in 1893. The map contains several references to biblical passages as well as various jabs at the

In supposed enlightened countries such as Australia, America & the United Kingdom, the swing towards conservative, riggt-wing (rxtremist) politics, and the dross that this leaning brings with it is particularly concerning, and the foolhardiness of allowing this thinking to permeate our political systems is rapidly showing a divisive and reckless disregard for social fairness, truth, justice and common sense. The propagators of this system of thinking are rapidly back-peddling us towards oblivion with their flat earth mentality!

In Australia, we are all yoo familiar with Flat Earth politics -we have now had decades of it, and it’s wearing us out! From the Howard years, with its total disregard for the dignity and worthiness of our immigrant populations – including so-named “boat people”; it’s total ignoring of the needs of elderly & disabled populations (I clearly remember budget after budget with not even a mention of pension increases, despite the cost of living rises leaving us far behind); the usual right wing panderings to the wealthy – both individual & corporate; and their eventual demise thanks to flogging their dead horse…WorkChoices, which in reality gave no worker a choice at all – to the disillusionment of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years! 

Instead of giving the hard-pressed, ignored people of this country a hoped for government that would be fair and equitable, we ended up with a rabble! Despite great promise in some areas – such as a huge (badly needed) pension rise, and steering us strongly through the Global Financial Crisis by encouraging spending, and putting money into public works to keep employment rates high and money circulating – they soon decended into a politicking, rudderless (no pun intended!) mess, with a PM who was bever home to do his job, who micro-managed his cabinet, over-loaded himself with portfolios, and was too busy trying to be popularist to get things right! With the country being governed by the deputy PM, and with some good policies that were (unfortunately) badly thought out, and rushed – it was inevitable that in-fighting would rock the boat. But even with Julia Gillard – who was never given a fair-go – at the helm, what should have been easy legislation to enact – marriage equality for LGBTQ people…ESPECIALLY in a Labor government…became their Flat Earth stumbling block! Our first ever female PM; not married to her partner; an Atheist; a disappointment! Follow this with a second travesty of a spill, returning a now ineffective Rudd to power – no wonder the ultra conservative LNP was returned to power…despite having an inept clown – Tony Abbott – as its leader!

Abbott was the ultimate Flat Earther! Disbanding revenue-raising taxes legislated by Labor; a climate change denier; a misogynist; a practising Catholic who dragged religious ideology into his political life, thus his decision making processes; a nentality that belonged in the 50s – his resurrection of the antiquated  British peerage system was a low point of a patheticly short stint as PM; again, the inability…on supposed moral grounds…of marriage equality legislation though he tried to set in motion a plebiscite on the issue; disgusing treatment of immagrints fleeing wars & persecution, and setting ip what were basically inhumane detention centres to hold them; allowing the corrupt, immoral rantings of the Murdoch press to comment on his every word; his inability to accept blame for a rapidly rising deficit, producing one of the worst – and most controversial – budgets in Australia’s history…while all the time blaming Labor for their inability to rein it in; and finally bowing out as the worst polling PM in our history, leading the worst polling government in our history! Enter Malcolm Turnbull! Despite a reputation for being a left-leaning Liberal, he was – and is – a bitter disappointment to both sides of parliament! Having already ruined the National Broadvand Network…a technology that would have made us world leaders in this area…he then proceeded to disallusion  everyone by towing the party line on issues such as immigration; the handling of detention centres; same-sex marriage; privatisation; total neglect and disregard for those on welfare – including unemployment; the attempted dismantling of section 18C of the anti-discrimination act…which they still fail to see the immorality in, despite the attempt failing; continued pandering to wealthy & elitist individuals and companies…not ONCE has any of the LNP even suggested clawing back taxation not paid by many of the same businesses and corporations that the government loves to protect!! At the last election, they were returned by one seat – ONE! Next election, they’ll be out!

Unfortunately for our poor, battered (politically) country, our Flat Earthers are not limited to Howard, Abbott & Turnbull – we seem to be inundated with them at this point in time; Pauline Hanson, Bob Katter, Barnaby Joyce, George Brandis, Christopher Pyne, Nick Xenophon, George Chritiansen, Ian McFarlane, Warren Truss – to name a few – really point to a very low point in the Australian political landscape. These bastions of non-ethical, immoral, injust & prejudiced bias to a set of values entrenched in a distant past can now pride themselves of making us one of the few first world countriens to NOT have marriage equality! Good on you, guys!

Note that I am not even wasting breath on our latest promoter of “Christian” values, and biblical  ethics – Margaret Court! She could form a Flat Earth Society all on her own! From record holding national tennis icon to moronic foot-in-mouther…in one single step! If nothing else, she has proved the Flat Earthedness of religion at it’s most backward and inane.

This, in turn, leads to America! If Abbott was our ultimate Flat Earther…Trump is theirs! America, by their own admission, has had some dud Presidents – Nixon & the Bush’s for starters! But this is the first time they have had one who is truly dangerous! An Oligarch, an elitist, a brutish, rascist, misogynistic, self-serving businessman! And unfortunately for America, it’s outdated, and downright idiotic voting system is the only reason he is there! American (and indeed nany Australians) think that putting Trump into power really has no affect on us over here! Wrong! We are tied to America through treaties,  military involvement, and trade to a greater degree! 

I have never seen a President parodied, and memed as much as Trump! To the point of embarrassment, as he does little to help the possible softening of social media blows!One is just staggered at the stupidity of an electoral system that can place a corrupt, mentally ill, uneducated, egotistical man in as POTUS! He has the attention span of a gnat, no plan for anything he’s doing, abusing his executive powers, evidently removing financial regulations (wonder who could profit from that!), has put his family into his administration (nepotism!), has put people in to head things like the EPO who are only in favour of making money and don’t give a fuck about the environment; has refused to separate his business dealings from his Presidency (causing conflict of interest); has…to date…refused to disclose his taxation records; creates policy on the run – then when the courts say it’s not legal…throws a tanty because he didn’t get his way…and the CIA are refusing to implement the policy as well; has made an enemy of the media – a big mistake, as nothing he does will go unreported; thinks a country can be run like a business! It can’t! Very few – if any – of his electoral promises will be fulfilled, including Making America Great Again! The only people benefiting from the Donald J Trump Presidency…are the Trumps!  His isolationist approach will, if it continues, see America cut off from most of the world powers! That will not stregthen America…only weaken it! He is already denounced by most of the European powers, his recent visit there nothing but a total fiasco for America, as he tried to bully and threaten his way through meetings and conferences! The only thing he managed was the alienation of world leaders of countries such as Germany & France! On the world stage, he is a total failure! His ignorance of the workings of international politics; his inability to be a public speaker; his constant obsession for inane tweets on Twitter; his inability to check himself; using the treasury like his own bank account…who pays for all those golfing weekends to Florida, and all the security surrounding Trump Tower vecause his family don’t want to reside in the White House; his firing of staff because they don’t fall into line with his demands…the list goes on…and on…and on…make him a true Flat Earther! The back-slapping that went on with the ultra right wing consrrvative British PM – Theresa May – was vomitous! Another Flat Earth politician, whose reign may be about to come to an end! The resurgence of white supremacist groups, the trend towards irrational thinking, the clutching to empty promises, and the belief in resurrecting what can’t be resurrected in America is worrying – particularly for the welfare of America.  

Theresa May, like Malcolm Turnbull, is a victim of thinking that the public – in general – are also Flat Earth thinkers! Very wrong! Like Turnbull, she assumed that by calling an early election, the ounlic would hand her a mandate to govern – at will – on a silver platter! Well, as here, that didn’t go as planned, did it! The voters, finally fed up with empty promises, warped thinking, and over-inflated ego’s almost lost her everything…as also happened here! A hung parliament is just one small step away from a total drubbing at the next election! And typical of the desperation to cling to power at any cost…she now tries to do deals with the devil! To attempt a coalition government with the DUP (created by the Rev Ian Paisley…the Flat Earthers Flat Earther) will pretty well spell the demise of the Tories, as a party to be even considered serious government. What a disterous mess for Britain! Welcome to the world of Clayton’s government! The government you have, when you don’t have a government!

However, it is not all doom & gloom! Emmanuel Macron winning the recent French election against the ultra conservative right brightened up an otherwise overcast international…and local…political climate! Other rays of hope and enlightenment – come from Justin Trudeau in Canada, and the potential new world leader – whose strength and forthrightness is to be  commended –  Angela Merkel in Germany. None of these world leaders suffer idiots well. Meanwhile, here in Australia, we continue to suck arse to Trump…all the while looking more and more foolish!

I do predict an end to extremist ultra conservative right wing politics! World wide, those suppressed and disadvantaged…the disenfranchised…are fighting back via the ballot box! Weary of supporting those who take advantage of us; weary of money dictating policy; weary of watching the “haves” get away with it yet again, and feeding none of their ill-gained wealth back into society; weary of shouldering the whole tax burden, while watching welfare stripped away, health care & education underfunded or disbanded; weary of religion creating factions, terrorism, social inequality, and dividing peoples & nations; weary of the environment being raped, ecosystems destroyed, whole species decimated or extinct; weary of no one caring about what is now very obvious climate change; weary of media who no longer see the validity of honest, open, accurate reportage from journalists that care about their job to report things as-is, but belittle it with trivia disguised as news (see Pipoa Middletons wedding, or Scharpelle Corby’s return to Australia); weary of media saturation of terrorist activities, and natural disasters, so desensitising us that we no longer care…do, in fact, change channels; and weary of social media stripping us of our individuality…making us double check ourselves everytime we post, repost, or comment! 

We can only spend so much time and energy being weary! It is only a matter of time before the scales tilt the other way…to us wanting to be awake, aware and happy again!

That day is coming! The reign of the Flat Earthers is coming to an end!

Tim Alderman (C 2017)

References:

(N)One Nation: The Politics of Stupid!


After its troucing in the WA election – where the projected 13% of the vote in pre-election polling dropped to 4.7% on the actual day – One Nation is once AGAIN in damage control! Despite this being a constant with them, one has to wonder just how one-eyed the people who vote for them really are! Of course, the question is – did Pauline’s rather startling preference deal with the Libs; her thoughtless comments on vaccination programs; Sandy Baraiolo being disendorsed for refusing to hand over access to her Facebook account after criticism of One Nation’s preference deal with the Liberals; Margaret Dodd quitting on the eve of the election, labelling the party a dictatorship; Dane Sorensen being dumped as another critic of the preference deal;  Stephen Piper being disendorsed over a disciplinary issue; or Ray Gould quitting,  complaining the party had been dishonest about its intention to do a deal with the Liberals – have anything to do with the slaughter…or are the voters starting to realise that far right conservatism is just that, and considering the current blatherings forthcoming from Canberra, they are never going to be given a fair deal unless they are wealthy, a big business or a corporation. I digress!

Considering the current state of gut-reaction politics that seems to be overtaking the world – Trump in The USA (a disaster of unparalleled proportions), and the Trumpesque Theresa May in Britain – one has to scratch ones head as to why One Nation are seen as a legitimate alternative in Australia! Their extensive litany of disasters, foot-in-mouth comments, corruption, and loose canon candidates shows a party in constant disarray, with no strong leadership, no clear policies, conflicting directions, and ongoing sell-outs by supporting the LNP on matters that one would have thought were contrary to their mission! 

Listing “the stupid” of this party shows a staggering array of disasters that, in any other reality than that which we are currently faced with, would see them not just disendorsed…but so on the nose that not even the most unread voter would support them! But like the proverbial Lazarus, they keep rising from the dead! 

The chronicle: March 11 1995 – Fish and chip shop owner Pauline Hanson begins her political career as an independent Ipswich City Councillor. She decided to run when Labor mayor David Underwood was thrown out of office by Labor councillors, with Ms Hanson saying: “How can a handful of people throw out a man elected by the people?” She was voted out the following year and subsequently joined the Liberal Party. January 6 1996 – Ms Hanson writes the following letter, published in the Queensland Times, about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: “How can we expect this race to help themselves when governments shower them with money, facilities and opportunities that only these people can obtain no matter how minute the Indigenous [sic] blood is that flows through their veins and that is what is causing racism.”How can we expect this race to help themselves when governments shower them with money, facilities and opportunities that only these people can obtain no matter how minute the Indigenous [sic] blood is that flows through their veins and that is what is causing racism.” January 27, 1996 –  Then prime minister Paul Keating calls the election and Ms Hanson starts campaigning to become the Liberal MP for Oxley. She has a tough margin to overcome — the sitting Labor member Les Scott was sitting on a margin of 12.58 per cent after his third term in the Lower House.   – February 14 1996 –  Just over two weeks from election, Ms Hanson’s letter leads to her disendorsement by the Liberal Party, led by soon-to-be prime minister John Howard. The Queensland branch president tells her she could keep her election posters if references to the party were covered up. She leaves the meeting in tears. Ballot papers had already been printed and voters would see her listed as the Liberal candidate when they went to the polls. March 2, 1996 –  Ms Hanson is elected to Federal Parliament and John Howard leads the Coalition to victory. September 6 1996 – Ms Hanson makes her maiden speech in parliament and famously says, “I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians”. October 13, 1996 –  60 Minutes journalist Tracey Curro asks Ms Hanson if she is xenophobic, she famously responds “please explain”.  – February 23 1997 –  Almost one year into her term, Ms Hanson forms the One Nation party with the help of co-founders David Oldfield and David Ettridge. Mr Oldfield was still working as a political advisor for backbench MP Tony Abbott when he started helping Ms Hanson in 1996. He left the Liberal Party in 1997 to become Ms Hanson’s senior political advisor before the party officially launched on April 11. June 13 1998 – One Nation wins 22.68 per cent of the primary vote at the Queensland state election — more than the Liberal Party — to pick up 11 seats at the election. It was the biggest win One Nation had in its entire history. July 2, 1998 –  Mr Abbott declares he will fight to have One Nation deregistered as a political party. He argues it is not a political party but a business. One Nation’s opponents argue it did not have the 500 members needed to claim party status and therefore has to pay back $500,000 to the electoral commission. October 3, 1998 –  Ms Hanson runs in the Queensland seat of Blair, instead of Oxley, but loses. She manages to pick up the largest swag of primary votes (35.97 per cent) but loses through preferences to her Liberal opponent. The Labor, Liberal and National parties preference each other ahead of One Nation. Her party only picks up one seat, with Len Harris being elected to the Senate. February 4 1999 – Fractures at the state level see three of the 11 Queensland MPs elected 8 months earlier quit the party. They think party administration has too much control. Three more would quit later in the year and form the City Country Alliance. One Nation loses its party status at the state level and the Queensland Electoral Commission chased them for the $500,000 given after the 1998 election. 27 March, 1999 –  Mr Abbott’s former adviser and One Nation co-founder Mr Oldfield is elected in the NSW Upper House. Ms Hanson expels him from the party one-and-a-half years later after a disagreement. He publicly accuses Ms Hanson of being irrational. “Bear in mind that since, you know, Pauline said a few things in Ipswich in the middle of 1996, everything including her maiden speech and every word of any consequence that she’s said since, has actually been written for her,” he said. He split the NSW branch from the rest of One Nation. 17 February, 2001 –  A week after picking up three seats in the West Australian state election, One Nation is reduced to three seats in the Queensland state election. 31 July 2001 – Ms Hanson appears before the Brisbane Magistrates Court charged with electoral fraud.  She pleads not guilty, saying: “I do believe that this is a political witch-hunt.” Mr Abbott takes the opportunity to knock back any suggestion of a preference deal with One Nation, saying: “My view is that we shouldn’t play footsies with One Nation.” March 22, 2003 –  Ms Hanson tries to gain a seat in the NSW Upper House as an independent. She fails, getting 1.9 per cent of the votes. July 15 2003 – Ms Hanson stands trial for electoral fraud in Brisbane with One Nation co-founder Mr Ettridge.She pleads not guilty to fraudulently registering One Nation and obtaining more than $500,000 from the AEC. There were 30 witnesses over 23 days, the jury takes a day to find them both guilty. Crown lawyers accuse them of falsely claiming more than 500 people were party members, when they were just supporters of Ms Hanson. They argue members have to have voting rights and that $5 is too little for membership fees. Ms Hanson is sentenced to three years’ jail and yells: “Rubbish, I’m not guilty… it’s a joke.” August 20 2003 – Ms Hanson cries as she hugs her co-accused and two sons. Three days later, federal Liberal backbencher Bronwyn Bishop says the case is something you would expect to see under Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe regime. “It’s gone beyond just political argy-bargy of political opponents … I’ve been very critical of her and her party, but this is something that is above and beyond that political argument — this is someone who has been sent to jail because she spoke her views and that is not acceptable in this country,” she said. “Very simply, for the first time in Australia, we now have a political prisoner and I find that totally unacceptable … in a country where freedom of speech and freedom to act as a political individual is sacrosanct.” 26 August 2003 – Mr Abbott admits to setting up a $100,000 fund to help build a case against Ms Hanson. The Australians for Honest Politics fund was set up in 1998 and its purpose was to help fund civil cases against One Nation. Mr Abbott met with multiple One Nation dissidents when it was set up to try to bring down the anti-immigration party. One of the cases was from Terry Sharples — he fought to have the party deregistered through a civil case and it made him bankrupt. Mr Abbott says he acted alone and offered Mr Sharples $10,000. The former One Nation member has a different story: he says the then prime minister John Howard knew of the fund and that he was offered around $20,000. November 6 2003 – Ms Hanson successfully appeals the conviction and she is released from prison. A week-and-a-half later, she threatens to run against Mr Abbott in his Sydney electorate. “I hope Tony Abbott never becomes prime minister. I detest the man,” she said. May 24 2007 – Ms Hanson launches Pauline’s United Australia Party and fails in her run for the Senate in the 2007 federal election. 7 March, 2013 –  Ms Hanson announces she will run for a Senate seat for NSW at the upcoming federal election. She rejoins the One Nation party after flagging interest in rejoining the Liberal Party. She fails in her bid, getting 1.14 per cent of primary votes. August 8 2013 – One Nation candidate for the Brisbane seat of Rankin has a disastrous interview on Channel 7. Stephanie Banister mistakenly calls the Koran “Haram” and confuses the three Abrehemic religions saying, “Jews aren’t under haram, they have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ”. July 2 2016 – After another failed bid to gain a seat in the Queensland Parliament during the 2015 election, One Nation runs 27 candidates in the 2016 federal election. During the campaign, she calls for a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia, a royal commission into Islam and a ban on new mosques. While votes are sill being counted, Ms Hanson looks assured to win a spot in the Senate after securing more than 9 per cent of the vote in Queensland. 18 December 2016 –  Rod Culleton (WA) left the party after months of legal troubles and party infighting to sit as an independent bringing the number of party senators to 3. Party leader Pauline Hanson responded that Culleton was a “pain in the backside” and that she was “glad to see the back of him” 3 February 2017 – The High Court of Australia ruled that Culleton’s election was invalid due to a conviction for which he was subject to being sentenced at the time of the election, notwithstanding that the conviction was subsequently annulled. The resulting vacancy was filled by a recount of the votes at the election, which resulted in Peter Georgiou taking the seat and returning the One Nation representation in the Senate to four. 13 February 2017 – Several WA One Nation candidates say they will refuse to preference the Liberal Party, contrary to a statewide deal announced on the weekend. The WA Liberals will preference One Nation above the Nationals in the Upper House in regional areas, with One Nation preferencing the Liberals in all Lower House seats in return. High-profile One Nation candidate Margaret Dodd, who is contesting the Liberal-held seat of Scarborough for One Nation and is the mother of murdered teenager Hayley Dodd, today condemned the decision and accused the party of bullying its candidates.Speaking outside a Perth court where her daughter’s alleged murderer, Francis Wark, appeared today, Ms Dodd said she had “not been informed of any [preference] deal whatsoever, and I’m sure all the candidates haven’t”. “I will make my own choices on who I will give my preferences to, and it certainly will not be the Liberal party,” she said. 26 February 2017 – One Nation has removed two of its West Australian election candidates just weeks out from state polling day. Pauline Hanson’s party scrapped North West Central candidate Dane Sorensen and Thornlie candidate Sandy Baraiolo for critiquing the party’s preference swap deal with the Liberal Party, AAP reports. One Nation’s WA leader Colin Tincknell said the pair had not met party standards. March 8 2017 – Ms Hanson makes crazy comments about childhood vaccination “Parents are saying vaccinations have an effect on some children. Go and have your tests first. You can have a test on your child first,” Senator Hanson told Insiders. The comments were condemned by the medical community and Senator Hanson today conceded she was “wrong” about a test for vaccinations. She was forced to apologise for the comments. March 13 2017 – Despite not getting anywhere near the 13% of the votes predicted for ON in the WA election, Pauline Hanson defended One Nation’s performance this morning, saying the party had a “fantastic” result despite winning less seats than foreca Senator Hanson blamed a Labor “scare campaign” over the One Nation preference deal with the WA Liberals for the party not claiming more votes. The One Nation leader also rejected suggestions Malcolm Turnbull had nothing to do with the Liberal’s landslide election loss in WA in an interview with Channel Seven’s Sunrise program this morning. She placed the blame squarely on Premier Colin Barnett. 

And so on…and so on. Add to this a string of racist remarks from candidates, and Pauline’s constant denials that she is a racist – despite actually being one! There is no denying that she appeals to the right-wing conservatives in the community, along with those who think racism, prejudice & discrimination are “okay”, those who listen to her rhetoric, and think we are being “swamped” by Asians and people from Muslim backgrounds, and those who think immigration should be severely cut back, or curtailed altogether.  It is perhaps unfortunate that these same people also think that all blunders and bad overall performance is nothing to worry about, that the party will eventually prevail and the country will end up hunky-dory! Most worrying about this attitude is the absence of research, intelligent discussion and downright common sense!

Nobody is happy at the moment. Right-wing conservative politics are proving to be a dismal failure! As always, this path leads to policies aimed squarely at both well-to-do individuals, and corporations. Every time the question is asked by government “where is the money going to come from to pay our deficit?” The answer is never to tax the wealthy, or to chase up businesses and corporations who shirk paying a fair share of taxation – if any at all! In an increasingly secular society, taxing churches and religious organisations is still ignored. However, money is constantly geing pulled from health, education, family benefits and services, and the needy on welfare. 

In a time past, we could rely on the Labor party to support and devote policies to these very areas that the LNP robs to pay for their extravagances! But Labor is letting its supporters down by bad preference deals, disunity, the stink of corruption – especially in the Union sector – and a general lack of strength and leadership. With these scenario’s constantly being thrown at us by the media, is it any wonder people are looking for alternatives!

However, the answer doesn’t lie in the other extreme. One Nation, at its very heart, IS extreme right-wing conservative politics! Given its history of voting with the LNP on conservative agendas, one would think that would be a call to its supporters to rethink just where their vote is going! It is not the wealthy, nor big business, nor corporations that are voting for them…it’s the lower class workers, the battlers, the disenfranchised who are voting for One Nation – and they are – just as in Trump’s America – the ones who will get nothing! 

The politics of stupid lives on! 

Tim Alderman (2017)
REFERENCES:

But I’m not racist!

    Cubbie Station & Water Allocation Abuse!

    Cubbie Station in Queensland, the overallocation of precious water from our river systems, and the government neglect…both State & Federal…of this issue, would appear to have been flying under the radar for the last couple of years!

    This post appeared in my Facebook feed recently:


    I have a huge amount of family history in Broken Hill, and the Bourke region on the Darling River. For many years now, Cubbie Station has been controversially taking advantage of a massive water allocation, which has severe effects on the waterways, and creating water shortages in river systems as far down as the Murray River!
    What is really annoying is that under the original owners, Cubbie Station Group, the property used to be a cattle station, then in 1983 and then under the Japanese ownership, it was turned over to cotton…one of the most water use intensive crops there is…and really not suitable as a crop in this country!

    Cubbie Station on the map

    So, what is Cubbie Station…and well you may ask! According to Wikioedia, it’s located on the Darling Riverine Plains bioregion, near Dirranbandi in Queensland. Itbus the LARGEST irrigation property in the SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE! The property covers 96,000 hectares (240,000acres) and is managed by the Lempriere Group, on behalf of CS Agriculture, a joint venture betweenn Lempriere & Shandong RuYi Group, a textile manufacturer owned by investors from China & Japan.

    Cubbie Station in South Queensland, Australia’s major interstate water diversion issue.

    The station has significant water rights to flows along the Culgoa River, within the Murray-Darling basin.  The topography of the area is defined by channels & floodplains of the upper reaches of the Darling & Barwon Rivers. Cotton was originally grown in the area from the late 1970s. In 1983, Cubbie Station was converted from grazing practices to cotton growing. The property consists of both agricultural & non-agricultural uses, with approx 22,000 hectares (54,000 acres) presently developed, with a further 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) under development.

    The station was created by amalgamating twelve floodplain properties to give Cubbie a total of fifty-one licences. The station’s water storage dams stretch for more than 28 kilometres (17 mi) along the Culgoa River, within the Murray-Darling basin. In an average year the station uses 200,000 megalitres (7,100×106 cu ft) of water, in a good year as much as 500,000 megalitres (18,000×106 cu ft).

    The water is used to supply 130 square kilometres (50 sq mi) of irrigated cotton and other crops including wheat, which generates a net profit in the range of A$50 million to A$80 million a year.
    The station is licensed to take 460,000 megalitres (16,000×106 cu ft),[3] the equivalent of all irrigation entitlements downstream in north-western NSW. The property has the capacity to grow 200 square kilometres (77 sq mi) of cotton. In 2006, the dams on the property were filled to 1% capacity allowing for only 200 hectares (490 acres) of cotton planting. The station is often derided for its large water usage requirements in a time of extreme drought in Australia and damage to the Murray Darling river system.

    Scott Bridle: Picking Cotton at Cubbie Station.
    During his term as Minister for the Environment, Malcolm Turnbull did not rule out its possible acquisition by the Australian government, however he is now Prime Minister, and the acquisition of Cubbie Station has never occured. 
    On 29 October 2009, Cubbie Group Limited, the former owner of Cubbie Station, announced it would voluntarily enter administration on the following day. The company had incurred debts of over A$300 million, as a result of poor rainfall in the region in the preceding five years. Corporate recovery specialists, McGrathNicol, were appointed as Administrators of the Cubbie Group on 30 October 2009. On 31 August 2012 the Australian Government, on advice from the Foreign Investment Review Board, approved the sale of Cubbie Group, to a consortium comprising Shandong RuYi Scientific & Technological Group Co Ltd, a clothing and textile company owned by Chinese and Japanese investors, and Lempriere Group, an Australian family-owned company involved in wool trading and agricultural property management.[11] The approval provided RuYi with an 80% initial ownership interest on condition that this interest be reduced to 51% within three years. The interest is to be sold to an independent third party.[12] The consortium are bound by existing water licence conditions[12] and the property is operated and managed by the Australian company using the existing workforce. At the time, the Liberal Party were in opposition, and supported the purchase. However, there was dissension amongst some members of the Nationals, who had concerns with foreign-ownership of agricultural land and water rights, claiming that the sale is not in Australia’s national interest. The purchase of Cubbie Group by the joint venture CS Agriculture was completed on 25 January 2013, for an estimated purchase price of A$240 million.

    So, we now have an Austealian agricultural enterprise, with huge water allocation rights, owned by foreign companies…and let’s be realistic – are they really concerned about destroying viable and much needed river biosystems…compared to making profits! 

    In his “Crikey” article “How Cubbie (and Labor) Consumed the Murray Darling (August 21, 2008), Bernard Keane rather pointedly noted that the story of Cubbie Station is “an incestuous saga of arrogance & influence”! He further notes “The extent of the Queensland Government’s parochial and profligate attitude to water management continues to attract criticism. Put simply, the Queenslanders couldn’t care less about the health of rivers either on their side of the border or beyond. Penny Wong can only wring her hands and sympathise with farmers downstream.

    The Queenslanders continue to trot out the line that they take only 5% of water from the Murray-Darling. It’s literally correct — that’s what they take out. It’s what they prevent from entering from run-off that is the key — and that is much more. The CSIRO’s recent report on Water Availability in the Condamine-Balonne reveals a vast and unsustainably over-allocated system that sees over 50% of water extracted from the Balonne-Culgoa before it reaches NSW.” One doesn’t need to go into the Darling or down into the Murray to see the environmental havoc wreaked by this water “mismanagement”! Thousands of hectares of dead trees on the Culgoa floodplain and a system approaching tipping point! For years, Cubbie Group — the vast cancer on the Balonne-Culgoa which exemplifies all that is wrong with the states’ management of water — has maintained that it only extracts 0.2% of Murray-Darling water. Fair Water Use Australia has pointed out that this ignores the bulk of Cubbie’s water — from overland flows prevented from entering the Balonne and Culgoa Rivers — and that the 0.2% is based on average flows anyway, rather than conditions following heavy rains.
    On August 19 2009, the Sydney Morning Herald ran an article – in the Federal Politics section – titled  “Cubbie Station sums up Murray-Darling tragedy”. It calls Cubbie Station a case study in (water) overallocation. The station has long been cast as the villain in the slow death of the Murray-Darling river system. At this time, the 93,000 hectare property was up for sale, and there was debate about the Commonwealth purchasing its water reserves, and is a reminder that the Murray-Darling story is an environmental and economic tragedy involving many villains. As the Federal Government is cautioning, buying these water entitlements is not a simple matter. This, in turn, reflects the failure of governments, irrigators and water authorities to establish nationally consistent rules for the Murray-Darling system. 

    The first sticking point is that Queensland law on water entitlements is different from that of other states because the water cannot be sold separately from the land entitlements. Queensland is moving to enable separate sales, but faces a legal challenge from irrigators along the Condamine-Balonne river system, from which Cubbie draws its water. Clearly, though, uniform rules are essential if the Murray-Darling is to be managed properly. Despite Queensland’s government being responsible for the overallocation, Anna Bligh (the Premier at that time)  was right in saying that the Cubbie sale offered an opportunity for the Queensland, NSW and federal governments to reconsider water allocations. 

    As things stand, the main beneficiaries of a water release from Cubbie station would be farms across the border in NSW, whose licences permit them to pump more out of the river as levels rise. The Commonwealth might have to buy back Cubbie station’s entitlements and matching amounts from NSW irrigators to achieve an extra, and expensive, environmental flow.

    The lesson of Cubbie station is that there isn’t nearly as much water available as once expected, particularly if climate change has taken hold. Federal and state governments need to go back and review all licences and rewrite the rules of the current highly compromised national water plan to arrive at a system capable of sustaining the environment and agricultural ventures for years to come.

    In “The Land” (15 March 2013), Matthew Cranston wrote an article “Cubbie’s new owners look at water sale”. He noted “THE new Chinese and Japanese ­owners of Cubbie Station are looking at selling water back to the federal government less then two months after paying $232 million for the debt-laden cotton farm.The 96,000 hectare property in south-western Queensland has been the centre of controversy because of its huge water entitlements within the Murray Darling Basin system. It officially changed hands on January 15 after being bought by CS Agriculture, a company backed by Chinese group Shandong Ruyi, Japanese trading giant Itochu, and fifth generation Australian wool trader Lempriere Group…”We have committed to consider the option of selling any excess ­entitlements into water buyback schemes,” Mr McKenna said at the Rural Press Club in Brisbane.”.

    To date, nothing appears to have happened, and if water buy-backs are being considered, there certainly doesn’t seem to be any rush to complete them…much to the detriment of the river system!

    My Great Grand Uncle, Captain George Rickinson Swan Pickhills, captained steamers up and down the Darling River from the second half of the 1800s up until the early 1900s. He was an unintentional environmentalist, and protector of the waterways, long gefore it was fashionable to be so! He was an outspoken man, and wroye many letters, and written observations, to both state government river authorities and newspapers regarding many issues of water management, and infrastructure building, particularly aling the Darling. The seasonal ebbs and flows if the river are well noted in his ibservations, including oeriods where, for NATURAL reasons, the river was not navigable due to the drop in water levels. He would be horrified to learn if the actual ssle of this precious commodity, in huge golumes, to properties that not only witheld the excess water from the tiver system, but were openly growing croos that consumed enormoys quantities of same water! It is perhaps due to his agitation and outspokeness that it vould be of enormous benefit to have him around today! Do not rake on rough, tough Yorkshire men!

    That aside, this issue of overallication of water rights, and the inability to vontain them has been going on for a long, long time now. In a country where droughts are as prevalent as floods, one has to wonder just what the hell is going on! It raises a lot of issues, and one has to question just how much influence does money have! 

    • Considering the well documented historical records of the ebbs and flows of the Murray-Darling river system, one has to question the validity of EVER selling water rights from them in the first place!
    • Considering that the property was bought in recent years by FOREIGN investors, who had to be granted permission by the government of the day for the purchase, why was not a huge cut-back on the size of the water allocation part of the deal!
    • Of great concern has to be the question of, with the investors living in other countries, whether the environmental concerns regarding these important river systems is of any concern to them whatsoever!
    • Considering that Cubbie Station KNOWS that it takes far, far more water than it needs in allocations, in times of duress (as far as water flow goes on the rivers), could they not voluntarily instigate negotiations with the government to either (a) sell back excess water or…and far less likely (b) voluntarily just return water to the system purely for the sake of the environment, and saving the river system! If nothing else, considering that Cubbie Station is seen, in the public eye, as a giant, grasping, greedy, self indulgent property, that has a total disregard for the environment…it would be a great PR exercise!

    The government really does need to step in, and not only massively cut back their water allocation, but look at the detrimental effects on the environment & waterways caused by Cubbie Station! But the problem is also about more than water allocations! It is about unsustainable farming practises in general, growing crops along the river ststems that require massive amounts of water to irrigate them. The government needs to promote and reeducate our farmers about adopting sustainable crops and farming methods…and not just there, but along all of our water systems as well! The effects if vlimate change arebecoming  more noticable as time goes on, and the next period of severe drought – if not happening already – is probably not far away! In a country of climatic extremes, we need more foresight, and a more insightful look at how we manages our very precious resources. Greed and ignorance are not yhe answers to these very complex questions!

    Cubbie Station flyover

    REFERENCES;

    Tim Alderman (2017)

      Rumination of the Day (28th January 2017)

      NEWS AND GUTS

      Seriously America – what the fuck is going on over there! First of all, you hand a maniacal, egotistical, hedonistic man – with very obvious mental health issues – the total control of your country! Even give this same person the title of Commander-In-Chief! Somebody who lives in a world of denial, falsehoods, and indecisions! Somebody who has rushed into power, and is making decisions involving the health and wellbeing of your country on the run! Somebody who is abusing the executive powers handed to him as part of his position, using these powers to enforce his own agenda, and by-pass the machinations of government to enforce same!  Someone who does not want to be accountable, or criticised, or called to task! Someone who is, despite your Constitution – which seems to be invoked at the drop of a hat, as a general rule – is trying to control the media to highlight only what his administration want highlighted…be it right, or wrong!  The fiasco involving the attendance at his inauguration – which WAS less than for Obama’s – and his accusations of electoral fraud regarding him not achieving the popular vote, are two examples of areas whereby they are trying to control what the media reports.

      Unfortunately, we live in an era of weak, unresearched and downright lazy journalism! Too many news mediums no longer report things in an unbiased way, but choose to take sides, which distorts their reportage! Social media – too often a source of news these days, much of which us inaccurate, distorted or just made up to satisfy the blood lust of gullible consumers – has too big an influence, and is – sadly – often used as a “reliable” source by lazy journalists who no longer see their job as reporting the truth! What a sad state of affairs! Thankfully, honest reporting does still exist – not everyone can be cowered by threats – and the glimmer of light is there for those who really care about what goes on around them! Any country who allows its news media to be manipulated, downgraded, and churning out outright lies to its readers/listeners should be ashamed of itself! The right to know what is going on around us, the highlighting of injustice, government and corporate distortions , cover-ups and lies, the peddling of misinformation, and elevating what was in the gutter onto a pedestal is not a privilege – it is a right!   

      When highly respected – and, until now, retired – journalists like Dan Rather throw their hat back into the ring…you know things are deadly serious. Sick of the lies, distortions and cover-ups of the new…and not very old…President and his administration (if that is what it can be called), Dan Rather has set up his own Facebook page called “News and Guts” to counter the misinformation currently being vomited out by biased news services. Not just journalists, but news consumers themselves need to stand up and demand a “hands off” position in regards to the honest reporting, and holding to account, of the words and actions of those elected to public office! All too often these days we allow those in government, and in the media, to side-step the fact that WE elect these officials!They are   answerable and accountable TO US! They ARE NOT there to enact their own agenda’s, to lie, to cover up, to manipulate the systems – or the media – to their own ends. We have allowed this disempowerment of our rights, of our own power as voters, as people who must live under these administrations to do what they please, when the please, for way too long now. Our expectations should always be for honesty, integrity, morality, ethics, transparency and fairness from elected officials, irrespective of their position. Likewise, our media dhould be held to the same standards.

      I wish Dan Rather well. I will br watching with intense interest! The return to honesty and integrity in reporting! And bugger the gutless wonders!

      Tim Alderman (2017)

      Rumination of the Day (30th November 2016)

      SOCIAL MEDIA

      Social media has become, in some senses, the monster that ate itself! We all post and repost items (it happens on all, not just FB), and use status updates to vent, amuse, inform, educate, be tongue-in-cheek, and spread news. However, there are those who use it to post information on themselves that is often …more information than we want, or need, to know. If the subject isn’t something you would discuss with your parents, or over the counter at your corner store – then it shouldn’t be on FB! The miniscule, intimate details of your life…spread to everyone near or far on your friends list…can have serious repercussions on both yourself, and those commenting, even if done for the best of intentions.

      This morning was a very good example. I rarely scroll through my FB feed – generally because I don’t have the time to meander – but today I did. There was a status update from someone on my (not very large) friends list, extolling their exasperation at…at the grand age of 36…not having had sex with another person for 10 years, and at their age was highly unlikely that anyone would want to have sex with him, then deriding his own body etc…you are probably familiar with this sort of thing, so get the gist. What I would call a cry-for-help update! Now, just to give this some persoective, this is someone who SENT ME a Friends request, after having seen me comment on another friends posts. I rarely accept friends requests from those I don’t know, but we had two mutual friends, and I also had seen him comment on the same friends posts, so I accepted it. 

      So, we are not friends…and certainly not close friends…in the true sense of the word. So, I liked the post to show that I had read it, and started a comment. I could feel some empathy for him, as I’m sort of in the same place, only 27 years further down the line, and under different circumstances. As I was typing my well considered reply – mind you, at one stage I questioned myself on whether I should reply – Messenger notified me of a message. I had messaged another friend earlier, and thought it was a reply from him, so posted my comment and went to Messenger. Imagine the look on my face when I encountered the folliwing message from the person whose post I had just commented on…”gee thanks for liking my current situation you fucking asshole! I hope you have a life if fucking misery. you deserve it you shallow asshole!”. Taken aback isn’t quite the word, and though it didn’t make me angry, it certainly cast a shadow on the day! Not only was this from someone I didn’t personally know…and would have been unacceptable from someone I knew…but from someone who, 5 minutes earlier, had been basically begging for understanding and advice! I shouldn’t have to point out that not only is this an outrageous over-reaction, it is just downright rude, and degrading! Surprisingly, I sent a very polite reply, saying I liked the post just as an acknowledgement, I had commented empathetically, and I was sorry he had taken it the wrong way. 

      Just above his current, abusive message was another message I had received from him…the only other message, I will point out…at 9.30pm in August…”you is sux you cooel marinated chicken dez khan with wings and dryweave. reeeeeaally?!”. What it means, what it is about, or what it is in reply to, I have no idea! I do recollect that I chose to ignore it. I really don’t know what to think of it…full-stop! Drunk, and sent to the wrong person? Who knows!

      But it does prove the point. Be careful what you post, and if you do post intimate details of your life, be prepared for the fact that not everyone may be sympathetic. And an emoticon is just that! If you rule your life on what emoticons people respond with, you really do need to get a life! Social media isn’t there to be a minefield!

      So, its been a few hours now, and no apology, for what is basically an abusive, bullying message over nothing, has been forthcoming. For my part, I’ll remain polite and inform him that he is now not in my good books and is, in fact…

      Unfollowed, and blocked. I have just done myself a favour, and put the sun back in the day!

      Tim Alderman (2016)

      Daily (Or When The Mood Takes Me) Gripe: The Disgrace of the Tasmanian Salmon Farming Big Guns- Tassal!

      4 Corners Monday 31st October 2016 – Big Fish 

      On last nights 4 Corners, we were presented with an investigation into the big wigs of salmon farming in Tasmania, and what was revealed is everything that is wrong with big corporations, not just here but worldwide. The lack of accountability, and the culture of denial for these companies is no longer something that can be hidden in plain sight.
      To quote from my Facebook post just an hour after watching this  gobsmacking investigation where a serious  issue is treated like a game by Tassal –  “Lies, no transparency, lies, huge profits, lies, environmental vandalism to the once pristine waters around Tassie, lies, setting up “plants” for the 4 Corners interview, lies, ruining other businesses through their practices, lies, over-populating salmon farms, lies, denial of everything, and lies. Did I mention lies? And as to the WWF – just like the Heart Tick, it’s all up for sale under the guise of “donations” – provided the WWF can see fit to bestow its logo upon you…or as long as you can afford it. Corporate corruption is just par for the course these days, with government and its agencies seemingly turning a blind eye! Thank heaven for concerned citizens, whistleblowers, and those who are so fed up with it all that they just give the big FUCK YOU to them!

      Oh..and in case you didn’t know, your lovely pink farmed salmon is coloured chemically through the fish food…they even get to choose the shade of pink! 

      I am so glad I hate salmon, so not helping towards the profits of these unethical, immoral corporations. What an eye-opener…and unfortunately, none of it a shock! Let’s hope the pot has had a good stirring!”

      Tassal are currently in the process of gaining permision to expand their salmon farming in bays along the Tasmanian shoreline. The environmental impact of what will become over-farming is dividing the community, but as always local government, state govrrnment and related agencies appear to be ignoring impact reports, and personal attempted interventions from those both experienced in the industry, and in several cases those impacted on a oersonal level by the current aggressive actions by Tassal.

      The amount of fish excrement, and residue from feeding pellets, has to have a detrimental effect on what is currently a pristine environment, sitting on a knife edge. It doesn’t take a lot of common sense to see that things could – and have been – be tipped over the edge. That 4 Corners came to town obvioysly wasn’t a welcome intrusion “Four Corners doesn’t come down unless the community is concerned, I get that… I would be happier if we just slid under your radar and you hadn’t been here, but you’re here.” Company CEO. Obviously some Tassal employees are in the job just fot the pay – and not company loyalty – as several leaked documents from Tassal showed an attempt at subterfuge as far as the investigative team were concerned. Not only was a 50-page how-to-handle-Four-Corners manual produced by them, but most tellingly was a list of local big wigs who were “encouraged” to offer their support of Tassal in a contrived meeting that was rigged in their favour. One has to wonder just what inducements were offered by Tassal to gain their endorsement!

      Even worse was a mussel farming small business that had been put out of business by Tassal’s intensive farming methods. A deadly sludge produced by cleaning methods on the salmon farms had coated and killed the mussels. Not only did the farm go broke, but a marriage was destroyed. Tassal, obviously not afraid to take advantage of a situation, offered to buy out the mussel farm leases – but with caveats attached. Most notable was the requirement to silence on the matter, that it was never to be spoken about, nor were they to denigrate Tassal. The poor ex-owner of the mussel farm was sick of carrying the burden around, and broke the caveat by speaking out against them. We need more people like this in the world! 

      But perhaps the most disappointing – though not really coming as a shock – was the attitude and lack of ethics of WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Australia. We have known for some time now that organisations like this – and the Heart Tick is another – get funding from selling their logo to put on products distributed by corporations like Tassal – with no impunity! This organisation is supposedly about protecting the environment, and the wildlife within the environs. However, it would appear that money is more important than ethics, despite knowing that their logo on a product is, from the publics point of view, a reason to select that product for purchase. What a savage deception! The organisations we turn to to provide protection in the environment against the violations of big business (who only care about shareholders and profits) is disillusioning! They are really no better than those offering “donations” to procure an endorsement that is, as it turns out, just a joke. WWF Australia did a total fail with their attempts to validate why Tassal were allowed to use their logo!

      The sad thing is that once again, big business is bulldozing its way through the process, offering the community much needed jobs and money…but at what cost! Often, as we know, the end does not justify the means. Tassal are, like so many corporations now, using language and trends to portray their businesses in a positive light. They tout their transparency (at the opaque end of the scale) and their environmental “sustainability” and “best practice” like badges of honour, meanwhile hiding behind the semantics, and self-reporting (all in-house) to subvert the outcome to something that is less than desirable, or accountable  Producing salmon is big business and the industry is reaping big profits with plans to turn it into a billion dollar industry within 15 years. “”I would say that salmon farming is clean and green though it’s not a term that I’d like to use. I would say that it’s a responsibly farmed product and I think we do it in an environmentally responsible way.” Company spokesperson”.

      Thankfully, I do not like salmon, so feel I can assume the high moral ground…don’t take that seriously, please! However, finding out what went into the feeding pellets…some ingredients even unknown by the employee intervieed – would positively turn your stomach. I encountered a similar situation with dogs kibble several years ago, and I now read ingredients listings, and pay more for quality kibble. That there is a chemical colouring agent included in the feed should be of concern to everyone. “If a consumer were to see a salmon fillet that was a pale grey or a white, chances are they wouldn’t buy it.” Lawyer!

      There are those who care – members of the local community, environmentalists, ecologists, whistleblowers, and those whose livlihoods have been destroyed by the bullying tactics of big business like Tassal. While empty-mouthing platitudes about “the industry pulling  together”, are really just interested in their own profits, and giving shareholders a dividend. It is a sad state of affairs.

      Tim Alderman (C) 2016

      Daily (Or When The Mood Tales Me) Gripe: Has HIV Inc. Run Out of Steam!

      This year marks, for me, 34 years of living with HIV/AIDS…though now it is just HIV. I consider it a landmark, as back in 1996 I was admitted to Prince Henry hospital with chronic CMV retinitis, chronic candida, chronic anaemia, wasting syndrome (48 kg and going down), 10 CD 4 cells, and no immune system, and was not supposed to leave…at least not under my own steam. That  I did was only due to advances in medications at that particular time, very aggressive treatment, some great doctors and nurses –  and a lot of will power. I don’t give a fuck how negative many HIV+ guys are about life with HIV. For me, this was the great singular event of my life, a pivotal point that resulted in life-altering decisions, a mental overhaul, and the knowledge that there was a hell of a lot more to life THAN HIV. It altered the course of my life, and for better or worse I have never looked back. 

      I was a speaker for the Positive Speakers Bureau for 12 years before realising that when you continually tell a story you start doing it by rote. Time to get out before it became totally meaningless. I have also written for “Talkabout” magazine (the flag ship publication of Positive Life NSW – formally PLWHA NSW Inc) for 15 years, both as a features writer and a columnist. As a writer I see my role to be not just to inform people, but to provoke debate, at times to be opinionated, to raise questions, to address abuses and unfairness and to be, when required, controversial. Unfortunately, my time with “Talkabout” taught me that to get published in a HIV publication you need to walk the safe road. To be controversial is to be tolling your own death knell. Mind you, this censorship has nothing to do with the editors who, in my experience, have been nothing but supportive. Community Health and a certain AIDS council provide funding to the magazine, so to poke your nose into sensitive areas will ensure your censure and non-publication. As a HIV+ person writing about HIV issues I have always found my hands tied. I have written two extremely controversial articles on HIV issues over the years. One, on Options Employment Services using HIV clients as a free work force, in the guise of “work experience”, was so watered down by the editor after threats of suing PLWHA, the editor and myself (I truly wish they had) that by the time of publication it was a mere shadow of its original fiery tirade…despite the fact that I had evidence of this going on. The manager of “Options”even took me aside and “suggested” that I quieten down my opinions as they were providing a service to the HIV community. Shortly after this fiasco, they went broke and disappeared. The second article was amongst the best pieces I have ever written, and covered the controversial area of bug-chasing (HIV- guys who deliberately have unprotected sex with HIV+ guys in the hope of contracting HIV). The magazines working group deemed that by writing about bug-chasing I may have been promoting it amongst a certain sector of the community. Considering that the practice is well documented, is acknowledged and exists, I failed to see how being informative about it was in any way promoting it…oh shit! I forgot that community health and certain HIV organisations wanted to keep their heads buried in the sand about such unpleasant issues…and they held the purse-strings. Censorship is alive and well within the HIV community and always has been. Want to tell the truth about what is going on or want to expose something? Not on their watch!

      But despite this I continue to write, though I keep it to the more nondescript these days, and publish them on my blog. I have around 100 followers – not bad for an unknown.. I do enjoy being published! When I moved to Brisbane I began phasing out my writing for “Talkabout” (which after 15 years of being published in pretty well every issue, has gone unacknowledged by the organisation itself, though not by the editors), and had started writing for QPP “Alive”, the magazine of Queensland Positive People. Same story, different place as far as funding goes, I’m afraid. Nothing controversial would be coming out of there either. Nor did I get paid anymore – one advantage of “Talkabout”.

      34 years ago at the start of the HIV shit fight, people never questioned anything about treatments, definitions, philosophies, or courses-of-action. We were in crisis mode and anything was better than nothing. We let a lot happen that in more sane, accountable times would never have been allowed to happen. This far down the line it is time to start asking questions, time to demand investigations and redefinition into many aspects of treatment, time to look back at some of the historical record and say “we were wrong”, and set the record straight. I no longer allow my doctor, or the HIV establishment, nor the drug companiesi in particular, to dictate my path to positive health outcomes. I follow my own path, which is dictated to by knowledge and experience. 12 years ago I made a decision to halve my daily medications, and dose myself once a day only. Considering the negative impacts of huge amounts of HIV medication on the body I decided to take a risk. Well, this far down the line my health has never been better (though diet and exercise also contribute to that), my viral load has remained at undetectable, and not only has my CD4 count remained stable, it has in fact risen substantially. Considering the recent emphasis on drug regime “compliance”, and considering my own circumstances, I am forced to ask – controversially, naturally – if the compliance issue is being driven by HIV specialists, or by the drug companies who stand to make a fortune out of HIV drugs. In the same way, I question resistance testing. I will leave that question in the air for you to mull over and answer for yourself. This is a personal opinion, and one I am entitled to.

      I started “withdrawing” from the HIV community – in a generalised way – a number of years ago. It was starting to irk me, and was bogged down in academia, and a narrow mind-set. As stated earlier, the fact that something comes from the upper echelons of HIV Inc, doesn’t necessarily mean I believe or accept it. You tend to get a reputation for being obstreperous when you adopt this philosophy, and question everything that is thrown your way. There is little doubt that anyone from HIV Inc…or its sycophants (those who blindly follow and agree with every word from the mouth of) who reads this opinion piece will accuse me of negativity, and not being supportive or a believer in the end of HIV. This is not correct. It is a big step from negativity to a position of voicing reality!

      I have written on several occasions about my distrust of drug companies…though it is an area that many are now accepting. These multi-billion dollar corporations are as corrupt as – despite much denial from health practitioners, community groups, and the drug companies themselves. As long as there are stakeholders salivating at the stock price, this will never change. That we are over-dosed – a now acknowledged stand – is all to thebenefit  of the drug companies, who are, at the end of the day, just research, manufacturing & distribution companies, with no stakes in public health other than shoveling their massively over-priced medications down our gullible throats. Now that community pharmacies are handling HIV meds, I went to my local, and was probably the first to get my meds through them. They nearly had conniptions when they saw the price of them! Considering how many years some of these drugs gave been on the market for, the price has never come down. HIV was a regular little money spinner for the drug companies!

      Our larger HIV community groups have also been very good at wasting money over the years, and still continue to. I have seen so many ineffective campaigns churned out by them over the years that I’ve lost track. Nothing like churning out the same messages year after year, targeting the converted, and the blasé. When you are given advertising targets, you…well…spend it! The community groups themselves will tell you that no campaign is launched without the blessings of a focus group. What they don’t tell you is that it is pretty well a hard core group of people who attend these focys groups and forums, so in actual fact it is the same people – irrespective of the organisation arranging things – castings their blessings on every campaign that is tested. No wonder they all look the same!

      And don’t ever think you can rely on the same groups to be able to assist and support you as needs change, despite however much notice is given of situations changing. By the time they catch up with what is happening, hundreds will have fallen through the cracks, and others will have just given up, and end up fighting their own battles. At the time of the introduction of the then-named combination therapies, there were two major issues raised. One was assisting those who were resurrected from a porential death sentence, being cast back into a world ill-prepared for them, or their needs. The second issue was handling the massive volume of drugs being rammed down the throats of basically every HIV+ people at that time. At the height of new treatment regimes, I was shoveling 358 pills per week down my throat – antivirals, prophylactics,  and pills for side-effects. Wasn’t that fun, with the added value of time & dietary restrictions! The only group committed to the problem of compliance was “Caleo”, which had its funding withdrawn after 2 years – just when it was needed. HIV Inc. prioritising, .as usual. Bet there was plenty of money for yet ANOTHER wasted campaign on condom use! While they were throwing yet more money away, many like ne were negotiating unprotected sex with like-minded – usually other HIV+ – guys. Money would have been better spent advusing guys on this at that time, not years down the line…then treating it like it was a great revelation from the powers that be.

      Likewise when I worked for the Positively Working Project. Sonia Lawless & myself spent 12 months putting together a needs assessment for guys returning to the workforce after being returned to reasonable health via HAART. Nothing truly innovative was actioned after this very important report was released. Guys were basically given no assistance at all to help in the transition from DSP to a form of “work” that was beneficial to them in the long run. I was a speaker for the “Reconstruction” program for quite some time, and the most obvious negative from these programs was that many guys got recycled from one program into another. How many times can you be shown how to write a resume, or how to approach an intervuew before it becomes a lost cause? Considering the recycle rate, one would have thought that it clicked with someone that the approach was wrong, that maybe the guys were looking for inspiration and support to direct their lives in new directions – one of the key outcomes of the Positively Working report was that guys did not want to return to their old professions, but wanted to go off in new directions. No one listened!

      HIV Inc. has a bad habit of being dogmatic, of only expressing the narrow, popularist view! You only have to go to any HIV web site, or forum to see how prolific this attitude is. If you want help and support, then ensure you walk in the safe zone, looking neither left nor right. Don’t problem solve yourself, don’t question the status quo! Over the 23 years I have been on DSP, I have – perhaps to my detriment – never used many of the services and financial assistance available. I hate the victim mentality, and have always liked my independence and financial freedom, and have always managed to get by. If I truly needed the help, I would have gone for it. I always remember my anger at guys who used to attend the Luncheon Club. They would be given cheap meals, and access to cheap food through the Larder – yet after the lunch, you would see them in yhe pub drinking till all hours, and all smoking! Seems they weren’t willing to sacrifice anything at all – the more you gave, the more they took. I always thought it was wrong, that their priorities were skewed. I still think that. Add in bill assistance from BGF, and housing subsidies…and these guys had it a lot better than many pensioners in the general community.

      Anyway, times moved on. Now we have PrEP, and “Ending HIV”! According to HIV Inc, implementing the former will create the latter. According to a comment on a recent post placed on a FB HIV group page, during a discussion on PrEP, “if you have raw sex and take PrEP, no more HIV transmission, so no more HIV”. As simple as that! I was so angry at the naivety of it all Inever  returned to the post. The “Ending HIV” campaign is just ANOTHER example of HIV Inc. wasting precious money. There are several big problems here. One is the emphasis on sexual practice, and the assumption that because testing kits, and PrEP are available, that everyone is going to use them…another assumption being that everyone prepares for sex. Yeah, we all know about that! The only realistic fact I’ve read so far is that guys are sick of using condoms – are, in fact, not using them! I could have told them this 20 years ago!  The general discussion seems to be around eradicating HIV in Australia (no man is an island…) but logic decrees that is never going to happen. We have to account for the tyranny of distance often making both kits and PrEP difficult to obtain, people who are heavy drug users, bisexuality, guys who want to remain anonymous, cultural differences, worldwide travel, religious beliefs – these are just some of the obstacles. And as one guy pointed out, why should we be exposing perfectly healthy guys to the toxic effects of HIV drugs! It’s a good point. Most of us who take the drugs regularly are concerned about the long term side effects of same. I wouldn’t be taking them if I didn’t have to! It was also pointed out that new classes and alternate antibiotics are currently geing tested, and that these, along with PrEP will not only eliminate HIV, but STI’s in general. Evidently we are heading towards the perfect world. My immediate thought was…oh, new antibiotics…so, how long until STI’s make us resistant to these as well! Worth thinking about. This seems to be all HIV is about now – at least that’s all I seem to read about, and encounter through HIV groups. There is a lot of philosophising around both issues – good luck with that!

      There was a time about 10 years ago when I thought that a changing of the guard from the older to the younger generation would bring about new thinking and ideas. It may have worked, but the old guard hovered in the background, never really wanting to relinquish their hold. The new guard just became copies of the old guard, and nothing seems to have progressed. There is a certain degree of internalised discrimination towards some sectors of the HIV community, and that hasn’t helped things. Also a certain degreebof self-stigmatisation, and being a victim amongst a group of guys fairly recently converted who will, in all probability, never get ill. A current trend to outing their HIV status to employers – who rarely receive the news gratefully – then leads to a string of posts on what to do. I don’t quite get why there is a need to advertise you status to all and sundry. Even in pre-HIV days, if you contracted an STI, the only people you informed were sexual partners. In my 34 years of living with HIV, I have only ever informed one company of my status – and that was for OH&S reasons. It’s not like the 80s & 90s when people with AIDS looked very obviously ill, and there was no hiding it. That doesn’t happen anymore. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, and don’t believe in making a rod for my own back. I acknowledge that it is their lives to do with as they see fit, but common sense should decree that if you are going to travel that road, you should ask yourself – what can go wrong here! And if the worstcase  scenario presents, are you prepared to deal with the backlash. 

      So, right here and now, I’m an ageing HIV+ man. I see a lot of HIV funding been spent on a lot of things – but nothing that is of any use to me! I don’t see the funding assisting with an actual cure, or giving me a place to go should my current pathway be diverted! As someone with a disability brought about by AIDS, no one has ever asked me…what would you really like? What can we do to assist and support you? There was much to-do about a Long-Term Survivors Day earlier this year. I remember thinking at the time – Why? Nothing will come out of it! As usual, we will be left to fight our own battles! It was a nice bit of tokenism, I guess. We like to think that we are thought about occasionally, even as just a passing thought. You see, we are seen as HIV past, not as HIV present. No one really understands us, as few walk in our shoes. It’s a lonely path at times, and frequently alienating. But we have defied the odds, and will probably continue to. HIV Inc. doesn’t have us in their sights any more…but then…

      Maybe that’s just how we want it. It’s a no-bullshit world for most of us!

      Tim Alderman (C) 2016

      Gay History: Bandana Codes


      PIt seems like only a brief minute ago that on any night out in a gay nightclub, you would see all manner of guys there sporting bandanas and keys in their rear pockets, advertising to those in-the-know what they were into. Which pocket I used depended on my mood as I raced out the door at home, but there was no guarantee that that was the side it would stay on if the right guy showed some interest! Same applied to keys.

      It was sort of one of those things that we took for granted, without stopping yo think that there was a history behind it. In times where being gay, and trying to attract a sexual partner, could not be done blatantly, so things like earrings, bandanas, keys and language played an important role in advertising what we were looking for.

      Research seems to suggest that bandana (or hanky) codes originated in San Francisco after the gold rush. With a shortage of women, men danced with each other at square dances, and used coloured bandanas to denote what role they played – blue for the male, red for the female. Their hair would curl if they knew what they stood for now!

      These days, they denote fetishes, or preferences. Wearing a bandana (or keys) in one’s left rear pocket denoted an “active” or “top” position for whatever the colour suggested, whereby the right rear pocket denoted the “passive” or “bottom” partner. Despite what many straight men think, these are NOT male or female roles!

      There are some regional differences for some of the lesser practiced fetishes, though colours for the basics, or more common practices, are pretty well universal. The following list contains most of the basic codes, including some I wasn’t aware of.


      There is also this alternate list of – in my opinion – bizarre and impractical objects used for some very rare fetishes. How true-to-form this list actually is, I’m not sure. I have seen small teddy bears being displayed by guys who are into cuddling…but as for foil, ziplock bags, chamois, cocktail napkins, enema nozzles or doilies, I’ve never seen it – though perhaps because I wasn’t looking for it!

      I would have thought a celery stick denoted into vegetarians, so there you go!

      I put in this link to Cowboy Frank for those who want to check out some very comprehensive lists of colours and items. http://cowboyfrank.net/archive/hanky.htm

      Apart from the odd occasional leatherman – generally older – I haven’t seen people out and using bandana codes for many a year now. Its heyday was the 80s.

      I also was not aware that there was a Raver Code, so obviously the tradition is carried on in other areas.


      I believe, according to an article on hanky codes in the Village Voice, a twink bandana code exists, but I’ve not to-date been able to track it down. For nostalgia purposes, I include this list from Image Leather, which would seem to be a leather bar.


      Back in the day, bandana codes were useful for knowing what you were getting yourself into when you went home with someone, and prevented those “Oh…I’m sorry…I’m not into that!” moments, as the whips come out.

      Purely for both interest, and novelty value, I attach several other lists to peruse, at the end of this article.

      Tim Alderman (C) 2016
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      Steampunk’d

      “Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era; like “steampunks”, perhaps…”

      -K.W. Jeter[1]

      Have you ever liked a particular style of jewellery, fashion, or design only to find, further down the line that not only does it have a name, but that it is a trend or movement? That happened for me with Steampunk.

      Just prior to leaving Brisbane in early 2014, I was rummaging through the jewellery in a new gift store that had opened over the road from me, and picked up the following piece,  mainly because it was one of the few masculine pieces there, but also because I love things made out of cogs and gears. Unwittingly, I had entered the world of Steampunk! My final conversion was “Liking” a Facebook page called Steampunk Tendencies – the ephemera shown in their FB promotion was too much for me to ignore – I mean – fountain pens with intricate gold skeleton work wrapped around them! How could I NOT be addicted!


      So, you are probably asking the same question I did – what the fuck is Steampunk? According to an article in the Huffington Post Style blog “What the hell is Steampunk?” [2] “So what the hell is steampunk? The term itself comes from science fiction novels. It was allegedly coined by author Kevin Jeter as a way of distinguishing him and fellow tetro-tech sci-fi writers from future-loving “cyberpunks” like William Gibson. But it’s grown into a whole visual style, and even a philosophy. It’s all about mixing old and new: fusing the usability of modern technology with the design aesthetic and philosophy of the Victorian age. Or as US young fiction author Caitlin Kittredge put it: “It’s sort of Victorian-industrial, but with more whimsy and fewer orphans…”

      In its glibbest sense, it can be seen as a way of giving your personal technology a goth make-over. Imagine a top of the range computer pimped out to look like an old typewriter, or an iPhone dock that lets you answer your phone using an old brass and wood receiver. But at its deepest, it’s a whole way of looking and living: and a colourful protest against the inexorable advance of technology itself. And it’s a trend that’s sneaking its way into loads of different sectors: from fashion to film, interior design to video games…”

      According to an article on Wikipedia “Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk may, therefore, be described as neo-Victorian.

      Steampunk perhaps most recognisably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt and China Miéville. Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analogue computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.
      Steampunk may also incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it often a hybrid genre. The first known appearance of the term steampunk was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created even as far back as the 1950s or 1960s.
      Steampunk also refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures, that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th century. Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.”

      The Steampunk movement flourishes through inventive repurposing: old elements find new uses. ‘Nemo’s Steampunk Clock/Electrostatic Voltmeter’ is the time-telling creation of Roger Wood; see more of his designs at http://www.klockwerks.com. Image courtesy Klockwerks
      It is an odd – yet…not so odd – mixing of the technology of the now, the technology of the past, particularly Victorian, and the Victorian era itself. It expresses itself through history, gadgets, gizmo’s, literature, fashion, music, magazines, conventions, lifestyle. It is the true expression of a “movement”, a trend-in-the-making. In a recent documentary I watched titled “Vintage Tomorrows” [3], one interviwee mused that if Steampunk was to invent a WMD, it would be the size of a room, and be covered in levers, buttons, bells and flashing lights…most of which would do absolutely nothing. In a way, that describes Steampunk!

      Sam Van Olffen has an abundance of examples of Steampunk design featuring the stereotypical gears and brassy look.
      There is a very obvious bias towards romanticising the Victorian era, which is one of its more controversial aspects. Re-enacting and harking to this era is, to many – including Steampunk adherents themselves – is to base yourself in an era where the Industrial Era came to full fruition, along with its coal dust, choking air, its noise, its chimney stacks. It was a period of immense poverty, of workers being paid a pittance for long hours of work, child labour, women being denied the vote, slavery, and unconscionable wars and cultural destruction in places such as Egypt, India and Africa. Yes, it was an era of great inventions, ingenuity and forward thinking, but despite this it is not an era that should hold notions of romance, frivolity and purity. One woman in “Vintage Tomorrows”, discussing the wearing of Victorian clothing, noted that she had stopped wearing her pith helmet, as it brought to mind the savagery the British had inflicted upon both India & Africa as Colonial “masters”!

      steampunk iPhone dock
      It is for similar reasons that I see myself more an admirer and wearer of the Steampunk aesthetic,  more so than a lifestyle adherent. If one can single out the pure ingenuity and inventiveness of the era, as distinct from reliving the era through clothing and settings, then one can approach it with a clear conscience.

      The Movement also harkens back to the authors of the era – Jules Verne & H.G.Wells, who created fantastical machines, and undertook fantasy journeys.  Books such as “Joyrney to the Centre of the Earth”, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, “The Time Machine”, “Sleepy Hollow”, “Sherlock Holmes” and “Around the World in 80 Days” are steeped in the Steampunk aesthete. For more modern examples we only have to look to “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, modern remakes of the Victorian classics, “Faucalt’s Pendulum” by Umberto Ecco, “Blade Runner”, China Meiville etc to see where the Steampunk Movement draws its inspiration from.

      Original illustration of Jules Verne’s Nautilus engine room
      I am not even going to attempt to cover the whole field of Steampunk in this brief piece, but I will include a list of some of the links that you can use for further research into this old-but-new Movement. It is, in my opinion, and despite controversy, one of the singularly most intriguing Movements to come along for a long, long time. It caters to history freaks, those into fantasy & science fiction, those into costuming, jewellery, the lovers of gizmo’s, reality escapists, and those like me who just idolise it for its eccentricity, and inventiveness. In a word – Steampunk Rocks!

      For the fascinated, Steampunk has sub-genres [5] for those into specific areas:

      • Boilerpunk: The blue-collar answer to aristocratic Steampunk, incorporating the experiences and hardships of actually shoveling coal to gring steam to the upper classes. Vive la Revolution! “Ainsley threw the hot coals at his supervisors protective steam powered mask;the man didn’t even flinch, heing accustomed to it from the proletariat.”
      • Clockpunk: Clockwork technologies replace replace or supercede traditional steam power. “Ainsley got his finger caught in the gear and screamed even as he realised his miscue would throw all,of London off schedule.
      • Dieselpunk: A heresy wherein diesel fuel and nuclear power replace steam power in alternate histories that often have a political component “Ainsley pushed the baroque OFFLINE button, but the diesel fuel continued to feed the reactor, with devastating consequences.”
      •  Gaslight Romance: A mainly British term for the alternative histories that romantisise the Victorian era. Some Brits would argue that all American Steampunk is actually gaslight romance “Ainsley put on his monacle and, bypassing the door leading down into the boiler room and the brutes who worked there, went to the quarterdeck of the airship, there to enjoy a nice cucumber-and-prawn sandwich edged with gold leaf as the servants wiped the floor clean of the blood from the recent encounter with the enemies of the Empire.”
      • Mannerspunk: Fiction that may, or may not, be deemed Steampunk in which elaborate social heirarchies provide the friction, conflict and action of the narrative, usually in the context of endless formal dances. At parties. In Mansions. “Ainsley took the hand of Lady Borregard andswept her across the dance floor, away from that cad Bennington and his steam-powered shoes that never missed a step; ‘Darling’ he said, ‘what rumors do you hear of the Countess Automaton and her piratical sub-siblings in the boiler room; isn’t it scandalous?'”
      • Raygun Gothic: Though not strictly a subgenre, this type of retro-futurism based in part on Art deco and streamlined modern styles has been used for a number of science fiction settings, usually in movies. Coined by William Gibson, the term has become more useful in the context of Steampunk as the fiction has come to feature more and more tinkers and artists. “Ainsley soldered the door to the boiler room shut in an attempt to stall the Revolution a couple of hours more using his ultrachic GSG (Gothic Solder Gun), which he had baroqued-up on the orders of the Queen herself.”
      • Stitchpunk: Fiction influenced by the DIY and crafts element of Steampunk, with a prime example being the animated movie 9, in which cute Frankenstein doll-creatures stitched together by bits of burlap sack try to save the world. In a wider context, Stitchpunk emphasises the role of weavers, tinkers, and darners in Steampunk. “Ainsley was soon accosted by the homeless tinker-weavers living in the shadow if the boiler room. ‘Only through the loom may you ge free, comrade,’ they would say.”

      Very shortly, I will have the following two items in my hands. And I don’t think they will be my last!

      Steampunk Salvaged Apocalypse Watch
      Anatomical Rib Cage Pocket Watch from Steampunk Fans
      Tim Alderman (C2016)

      The fountain pens that first drew my attention to Steampunk
      Steampunk Movement Toad Sunglasses
      iRobot Pendant – Jewelled Watch Movement
      Steampunk Necklace – Bumble bee pendant with silver watch movement
      Steampunk Cufflinks – Steam Designs
      Steampunk Gold Filigree Ring Victorian Watch Movement with Clockwork Gears Topaz Blue Swarovski Crystal with Adjustable Band
      Steampunk Ying & Yang Pendant
       

      ESS Watch Steampunk Skeleton Watch

      Further Reading

      References
      1: Sheidlower, Jesse (March 9, 2005) Science Fiction Citations

      2: Huffington Post 17 December 2011

      3: July 12 2015 (USA). According to IMdB “Documentary · VINTAGE TOMORROWS examines Steampunk’s origins, explosive growth, and cultural significance. Is the Steampunk movement a homogenized, privileged subculture or a reclamation of technology …”

      4: Wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk

      5: The Steampunk Bible