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User Didge

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  • Blue Mountaiins, Australia

5 level
3 votes
Is There Something Special About Riff-Raff and Misfits That Can Lead To a Democratic Process? Consider Australia...

One man's riffraff is another man's hoi-polloi. I suppose the view changes, depending on one's elevation in society, but as a lifelong riffraffer I'll try to explain. Well, as far as I understand it, anyway.

The transportation system says more about the British ruling classes than it does about the convicts who were transported to the Great South Land. Most convicts were guilty of no more than stealing food, or a piece of clothing. The powers-that-were seized the opportunity to send them all to the colony of Botany Bay where they could be used to develop the land. Botany Bay soon expanded to encompass New South Wales (Australia didn't exist till 1901) and the other states.

My own maternal great grandparents were transported from Ireland. I believe they met on the boat and managed to stay together after their arrival. I'm not even sure that they were *gasp* joined in holy wedlock.

With so much convict labour available, wealthy settlers followed. A kind of southern gentry was formed under the not very flattering title of the squattocracy. These were the opportunists who squatted on whatever land they could hold, often slaughtering the blacks or forcing them to leave.

It was like that from the first settlement in 1788 (with an increasing number of free settlers) until 1849. That was when gold was discovered at places like Bathurst, Ballarat ,and Bendigo. From that time forward it was very difficult to spot the difference between the wealthy and the poor.

I read one story about an English toff disembarking at Sydney's Circular Quay. There was a shabbily dressed man sitting by the jetty watching the arrivals and the toff threw him a coin. "Here's a penny, my good man. Carry my bags." And the local threw back a coin of his own and said, "Here's a sovereign. Kiss my arse."

It was from that period that the Australian culture of mateship developed and continues, with some modification, to this day.

By 1901 it was time for the colonies to unite into a single nation and our first federal parliament was formed.

Your question is more than interesting because Australia has been a country in which oppression and discrimination gave way to settlement, unity, and the rule of law.

Our laws have borrowed heavily from the British system and we are no longer a colony--although, as late as the 1940s, even 1950s, we often acted as though we were. But the British Empire gave way to the British Commonwealth of Nations, and we are a part of that. We are not quite an independent nation but a "self governing dominion" like Canada. The English queen is our head of state and the Governor General, is her representative.

It could be argued that she is only a figurehead but she holds substantial constitutional power. For instance, in 1973 (or '74) the Governor General Sir John Kerr dismissed a properly elected government at the instigation of Malcolm Fraser, leader of the right-wing, but misnamed, "Liberal" Party. That should have signalled a push toward declaring a republic but the furor died down. We'll still become a republic, of course but probably not in my lifetime.

3 votes
Are You An Optimist? What Does It Mean To Be An Optimist?

By definition, an optimist is a person who walks into a restaurant, orders oysters, and expects to find a pearl in one. A pessimist expects to choke on it.

I'm a lifelong optimist. I refuse to accept that there will ever be a time when things will not turn out well for me or that Life can serve up a situation I won't be able to deal with. Of course, from time to time, I butt my head up against that particular brick wall and discover that in even the most optimistic life there are some hiccups, yet the optimism is never dimmed for long.

I used to work with a pessimist. It was Sydney's largest telecommunications centre with a staff in the hundreds and my friend Doug always expected the worst. And he got it! When I had occasion to work near him I watched from time to time to see how he went about his job. He looked just fine! And yet things would go wrong -- equipment would break down, tapes would become tangled, uneven surges of traffic flowing through his equipment would create bottlenecks. Then he would move to his next task, somebody else would take over, and serenity would return. We had a regular fund-raising raffle with first prize of $200 and Doug used to buy a ticket every week. One week he actually won a $10 consolation prize. Was he still unlucky? You bet! He was only one number off first prize!

Doug and I were polar opposites. When people asked, "How are you going?" my standard response has always been, "I've never seen it better." Doug's characteristic response was, "I've never seen it worse."

Is it possible that attitude and expectation can attract or repel good fortune? Is it possible that optimists and pessimists attract the very thing they personify? In a sense, I think it is. The optimist recognises the good breaks when they come; the pessimist is too busy watching his shoes to see the opportunities that come his way.


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Hi!My name is Goranko. Ivknow you from Blurtit.
Feb 3, 2017 by Kninjanin
I was so free to follow you, and I will look for other jokes to post.
Feb 3, 2016 by Marianne
You're welcome, Didge; it was for the riddle; the answer for the other one was given too quickly, so, I preferred to confirm in this case the correct answers separately.
Feb 2, 2016 by Marianne
Hey hey Didge :)
Dec 29, 2015 by Echooos
Lovin the Devil  lolz

And you my friend , will Otis be joining us , missed you lot
I changed my Internet Provider and got shut out of my Site accounts , so changed to Darkest Serenity
Dec 28, 2015 by _


  • Didge
  • 2 years (since Dec 27, 2015)
  • Registered user
  • Asking questions
  • David Evans
  • Blue Mountaiins, Australia
  • Beware: I have a licence to tell lies.