On Sky News this week Tony Abbott said (and you can scroll to the bottom of the post to listen for yourself):
If you ask yourself what is the pinnacle of human achievement thus far, countries with democratic elections, with liberal institutions, with freedom and prosperity and a measure of fairness for all – in other words, western countries, particularly English speaking countries – this is the greatest human creation yet. We should cherish it, we should celebrate it. Unfortunately, too many of us are ignorant of that which has shaped us. We’re ignorant of the great books; we’re ignorant of Shakespeare, ah, the New Testament. We’ve forgotten so much of our history, particularly British history.
Different parts of that utterance will stick more strongly in different people’s craws. Here’s what I can manage in fourteen lines (I had to leave the tokenising of Shakespeare for another day):
November verse 10: Dear Tony
Come on, Tone, this great creation
was fought for, didn’t grow on trees
and it’s unfinished. Celebration?
Sure, but also honour, please,
the millions worldwide who’ve been murdered,
starved, betrayed, displaced or herded
cattle-like, by Empire Brits.
I know this thought gives you the shits
but how high on your fairness measure
are Don Dale, Manus, PNG,
or Nauru, CentreLink, or Bre?
Yes, history is rich with treasure.
Jesus? History fact for you:
brown, Aramaic-speaking Jew.