For most of its 175 years, The Sydney Morning Herald supported the constitutional system which came with self government. So did The Age, still published under a purloined version of the Royal Coat of Arms.
If they must endorse issues of absolutely no interest to the public – such as republicanism – or for that matter, bimetallism – can’t they do it calmly . Why do they have to be so frenetically, so childishly obsessive? Surely they do not wish to appear as vindictive and childish as the majority of the New south wales Legislative Council?
The Australian was like this years ago, but with editorial change it has matured, and although still believing some sort of republic inevitable, is much more relaxed.( However the opinion page on the very day of The Queen’s Birthday did contain an opinion piece by Barry Everingham so replete in fantasy it was easily shot to pieces by subsequent letter writers. )
Both the Herald and the Age often behave as if they were knitting under the guillotine. I can’t remember when The Age last had something to balance the succession of republican scribblers that have graced the opinion pages. But it was really scraping the bottom of the barrel when on 19 April, 2006, as The Queen’s eightieth birthday approached, a headline on The Age opinion page screamed :”The Queen Should Abdicate”.
Readers would no doubt have asked themselves who had written this. It turned out that the piece wasn’t by an Australian. Now of course newspapers do use pieces from overseas- usually from people with some standing. But this was from the campaign director of a miniscule UK republican movement which almost no one would have heard of.
Now where did this come from? Was it fed through the alliance between the ARM and the tiny republican movements of Canada , New Zealand and those who would take the kingdom out of the United Kingdom?
Did someone in the ARM, perhaps from a taxpayer funded politicians office ring up his republican contact at The Age and say: “ Have I got something for you! This will even bigger than Peter FitzSimons’ mate for a Head of State campaign!”
You can imagine the clicking of the knitting needles in what was once mischievously termed the Spencer Street Soviet.