A view from Australia

Leaves on pathAustralia is having an unusual double dissolution election, where every member of both houses of the Federal Parliament is up for re-election. Usually, only half the Senate is contested at a federal election. So, this one could be interesting.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived back in Australia from the USA on Monday, and watched the TV coverage in the lounge at Melbourne airport while waiting for my connection, was the difference in the tone of the campaign being waged here. Continue reading “A view from Australia”

A short history of walls

Walls are not new to Americans. There used to be one on Wall Street.

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Some Ancient History

The Chinese built a wall. We know it as the Great Wall of China. They’ve had their wall for more than a thousand years. It didn’t keep out the Manchurians – they came in through a gate, and it didn’t keep out the Europeans – they came by boat. It’s probably been more successful as a tourist attraction than as a defensive barrier. In fact, they’re restoring parts of it so that we can marvel at the engineering feat that created it. Continue reading “A short history of walls”

The Office of High King

I’ve been in New York for the last couple of months working on my next book, listening to public radio and reading the occasional edition of the New York Times.

America is an interesting place, and the commentary on things going on in the political sphere got me thinking about another time and place: Ireland, ‘the land of the kings’, in the times of Brian Boru, who is regarded as the last High King of Ireland. Continue reading “The Office of High King”