Agri-Corp’ Screwing the Murray / Darling Basin Plan.

Image result for Small farm produce growers pics."

 

In light of the current concern about water rights in the Murray Darling Basin, I would like to offer this piece I wrote several years ago on our community Local Action Planning blog about the “perfect storm” existing amongst the smaller “generational farms” along this section where I live on the River. The cause of this concern is because of the creation of mega “Agri-corp’ Managed Investment Schemes” that have sprung up using massive water purchased licences irrigation to grow huge crops of veggies and nuts and fruits.

Many of you would remember the collapse of “Great Southern” and “Timbercorp”, two mega Hedge-Fund / Managed Investment Schemes that bought up huge amounts of water licences along the Murray River. These and other schemes have dominated the water market and by sheer weight of numbers, have corrupted the cycle of produce markets and pricing…and have bumped up the cost of water for irrigation..

I say ; screw Agri-corp’ farming…stuff  Managed Investment Scheme water harvesting and divest ourselves of corporate greed produce….”Act Local…..Forget the global markets!!”…Small is beautiful!

Read on…

Community Centralised Markets.

Discussion Paper on Solutions for Sustainability of a Community.

Listing the realities of farming in the Mid-Murray Council area..:

a) That it is primarily an agricultural constituent…

b) That the agriculture producers are mostly of generational owned small holdings..

c) The imposts of market requirements, restrictions and pricing are more favoured to large holdings, large corporate agri-business and Managed Investment Scheme producers……

The result being the development of a “perfect storm” of squeezed “family farms”, concentration of production to “outside interests” that export their produce, dumped excess commodities resulting in rock-bottom prices for produce and concentration of water allocation licences with corporate agri-business. The result could be a complete loss to the local community of independence in growth and supply of produce from family farming enterprises.

Many might say..: “So what!..let the market decide.”…But it isn’t “the market” deciding…it’s “Fund – Managed” speculators with super capital, super credit and cross-border / cross-seasonal guarantees of profit margins protected against crop-failure by multi-location producers that, being so large and having the capacity to produce so much, they can control the wholesale price of produce by dumping or withdrawing commodities from a market that will eventually be reliant on their capacity….The smaller producer having neither the capacity, flexibility, nor the credit to “ride-out” long-term problems…add to the mix an uncertain climate, and we have that perfect storm mentioned above.

Now also in the mix are the water speculators, buying water on the created open-markets and hoarding or selling it to the highest bidder…which is never the smaller family farmers along the rivers…it is a market dominated by big money, big Agri-Corp producers and backed by a Federal political body that can be traced via a trail of plain, brown-paper bags right back to the “Canberra Bubble” of  politics.

The conundrum facing those many small farmers, is that having only a certain acreage, they can only grow a set amount of produce per acre..there are only so many onions that can be grown in every squ. metre, for instance..and because of their limited collateral with the small acreage, and their incapacity to compete with these mega farms, they are not well received by the banks who already are aware of their asset and growth capacity. So they are locked into a vicious cycle of not having enough land to compete with the agri-corp output. They cannot compete with the wholesale price per kilo of produce marketed by the mega farms and they cannot get credit from a secure source to expand their acreage, nor afford to buy any more water licences for irrigation..a perfect storm.

I spoke to one young couple in such a situation where they lamented borrowing some money just to get their goods to market, which only returned a fraction of the expected price, leaving them to say they would have been better off if they had let the crop rot in the ground.

See this : http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2016-03-13/senate-report-mis-agribusiness-calls-for-protection-for-investor/7242216

http://www.cpa.org.au/guardian/2009/1413/05-great-southern.html

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/sustainability/liquid-gold-20100903-14ueu.html

What can we do?

Those mega-producers deliver their products either interstate or ship to ports for export way outside this council area…so they are not affected by local fluctuations, yet do have capacity to affect the viability of local produce with both the rising cost of water and the flow-on pricing control from their mega production capacity….it is the smaller, family owned farms that are at risk and perhaps we can do something there. It is a new idea, building NOT on a cooperative of producers, though they would be good…it is a “market-oriented” proposal that would require a contract between individual parties..no different than the usual “contract to supply” of many businesses…it would require the Mid-Murray Council or any other Local Govt’ to become an “investor in the constituency” to supply locations and under-cover premises where a regular, consistent, semi-permanent stalls (much like the Adelaide Central Market) of local farmers could sell a huge variety of produce to local shoppers….produce such as vegetables, meats and fruit and even cereal grains in either bulk or packaged. Or ..there could be an emphasis on wholesale selling to many local country stores that would save transport time and costs for all parties while delivering fresh produce to local buyers on a more regular basis.

Certainly, it is a bit of a BBQ. stopper….I believe we have the capability to do this… we have to think big…very big! We have quality growers of everything in the lines of veggies’, meats, fruits and cereals…do we have the population of consumers to purchase? The population count of the Riverland / Murraylands area alone could add up to at least sixty or seventy thousand people.. and sure, not all of them will shop at such a market, but ALL of them do eat!…If these “centralised” markets stayed open for say.. three consecutive days each, so that regional smaller stores could stock up on fresh foods without travelling long distances to the city markets..I would think they would be a goer…considering also the weekend tourist flows through the area..if council could obtain State or Federal monies to construct multi-purpose under-cover arenas with appropriate cold-store facilities…then it could be a goer…There could be at least three locations all operating simultaneously over three days, perhaps..one in Blanchetown, one in Sedan and the other in Mannum….the multi-purpose indoor arenas could be hired out on other days for other pursuits, like indoor sports over the hot Summer months..

There is also the need to exclude those mega agri-corp’ growers from such markets to keep the integrity and honesty of the produce to suit local growers and buyers…we do not need the creeping corruption of corporate politics to enter the equation…let them work their floors of big city supermarkets and leave us alone…we do not need them.

Sure, this is a simplistic over-view of possibilities of de-centralising produce supply buying, that would involve cooperation and contractual certainties between council, growers and a willing-to-participate public….but what other choice is there? Just lay back and watch as all these hard-working, quality producing generational farms and families get squeezed out of the industry?… or do we affiliate and come together as a society and instead of ending up with a community that is depreciating and all our young people want to move away from, we become a community that is creating and not only do we get our young people to stay, but we attract more keen people to come to the area because they want to be a part of a growing community.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

The pretence of a “patented education”.

Image result for a wall full of framed degrees and diplomas., pics."

 

It was a repeat of that sensation of isolation that I have experienced before..because myself, coming from a trade background of carpentry/building, where I started as a fourteen year old, so any education I have had has been a hotch-potch of “catch as catch can”…no direct stream down a one-way career diploma…no diploma at all…just a read, work, read some more, work on and so pull the strings together that connect my work education with my various tomes and historical reading education…and I come out in the end as I am now…and you can keep your comments to yourself on THAT situation!

So the repeat of the above sensation was nothing new to me when I started casually talking South Australian history to lunch-table of basically middle-class teachers or business persons..It was an impromptu chat brought about by our current surroundings in the Mallee/Murray River district…and I spoke of what I knew of the early division of lands by the South Australia Company who first “developed” the province of Sth. Aust. I joined in the conversation of certain nomenclature of the streets and districts that were vanity named after so many of those directors of The Company…I then talked a little of George Fife Angas’s “Confidential Clerk” ; Charles Flaxman and the “swifty” he pulled over Angas in regards to the “Special Surveys” in the Barossa Valley……and it was at this point, when I looked to several others at the table that I realised they had not the foggiest idea what I was talking about!…..that “veil of obscurity” fell over their countenance that pulled my conversation up dead…I could see there was no point continuing. My talk of historical miscellany that demanded at least some sort of “dot-joining” comprehension on the subject, was become an unintelligible babble ..and the following inane polite chatter reinforced a correct decision to cease forthwith.

Two misconceptions here that I made…one in thinking that those who had obtained an higher education were, by the fact that it took much time and reading to get that education, reasonably cognisant of their State history of which I was speaking..and;  two..that those who had gained a diploma or degree through the orthodox channels of education would be in the slightest way interested in hearing what they were ignorant of from a self-educated tradesman…..because, of course, the unregulated discourse of spilling the beans of knowledge that comes from the enthusiastic lips of the amateur historian can be recognised straight away by those who have cultivated the idle chatter of a “patented education” that here is an unscholarly, undisciplined mind who has an unmitigated pretence to lecture the cognoscenti.

The mistake we of the working-class have made is to be tricked into confusing education with knowledge…and we have paid dearly for it.

I have had the fortune to witness both sides of the coin of education…once, in my later years when I took time to study my favourite subject of Roman History in a mature entry scheme and the other in my application of the necessities in my trade in building. Of the first, I have written of the experience here..: https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/warming-the-seat-keeping-it-warm/ …..The second was an evolving education over many years that started with the basic trade skills learned through apprenticeship schooling and tradesmen on site…BUT…the difference being that in my trade education, it was not good enough to rest on the laurels of what was taught from text and tongue so many years before, because with the rapid changes of engineering brought about by technological advances of materials used in building, from solid timbers to laminates, from sheet-plywood to pressed-fibre board…from close column short-span capability to vast open-plan buildings, one’s “education” in the art of construction had to be continually upgraded (as in any hands-on professional skill like nursing etc) with both knowledge of technical capability and one’s own use of trade tools to construct with such materials in a new age of building technology….one became master of one’s knowledge…AND alongside that work-experience-knowledge, many like myself also greedily consumed the books of classic literature in our spare time…the consumption of which was not from drear study for diploma, but from a love of the deeper knowledge gleaned within…AND…complimented by our own skill-base knowledge to “join-those-dots” that gave credibility and a pragmatic reality to what we read of those magnificent works. Something of the enthusiasm that in those conversations I have had with the more orthodox educated…those of the patented school of education…that seems to be sadly lacking!

And now, at an advanced age, I have come to realise that I have no emotional connection to those “usurpers of knowledge” ..and I have little enthusiasm left to listen to THEIR waffling…Theirs is all talk..all theory..all impotent inaction…all useless…for here we are so many years down the track and STILL we flounder in work security..in quality of employment, in aged care, health and any number of administrative areas of governance managed by those “higher-learned” managers, that have been slashed and destroyed by those who ought to know better… I have learned from many skilled, aged working people more wisdom of how a society IS constructed…more knowledge from skilled tradespeople how ancient societies were physically constructed and more knowledge of where we must go to revitalise our society to a healthy state from the bleedin’ obvious practicalities of community connections and a trade-skilled base, than I will tolerate from the babbling lectures of a cabal of “educated to imbecility” politicians with all the plastered-on doctorates and degrees that cover the walls of their cocoons of pretentious buffoonery, yet cannot even accept the bleeding obvious on climate change!

Those “suits” of middle-class management professionals have NOTHING to offer us…NOTHING of consequence in the administration of governance or law that we..working-class people cannot draw from our own resources or coupled with honest and sincere professionals to compensate any shortfall in knowing how to enact…and better that we learn…even WITH mistakes.. from judicious application with honest intent than from hard lessons of being short-changed and cheated by that same coterie of middle-class poltroons and swindlers….

As much as it sounds too crazy and a tad too radical, there is nothing for it but for us of the working-classes / producing classes to rip the levers of control of our nation from the reckless, degenerate hands of the middle-class rulers…they have ruined a once good economy and society…and driven so many good people into the pits of despair…so we now have neither community nor secure future..a despair that seems almost impossible to climb out of…they must be stopped.

Away with all pests!

 

 

The predatory grooming of the working-class base.

Image result for George Grosz. Let Those Swim Who Can - The Heavy May Sink! pics"

Sketch by George Grosz..: “Let those swim who can..the heavy may sink.”

 

We have to admit it..particularly to ourselves…WE have been groomed…over a long period of time..we have been groomed by predators to trust and defer political strategy and judgement to a more “higher educated” middle-class…We have been conned by a more cunning and predatory middle-class..and not just from the conservative right-wing of politics, but more damagingly, from our own side of politics..: “The Left”…or I would call it the “so-called Left”…for in reality, like the “House Negro” described so well by Malcolm X, ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf7rsCAfQCo ) who would come behind any radical speaker and “hose-down” the more extreme elements of talk and persuade the “Field Negro” that their best option was to return to work and await better days…HIS preferred option, like the “Middle-class Leftie” of  today’s world, was to maintain a comfortable – to him – status quo….I call these presbyters of social conservatism..”The Status Quo-ers”…the seekers of their own particular “safe harbour” of a comfortable lifestyle…Those purveyors of..if not REAL knowledge, then at least of “know it all”…when in fact they know so little!

Never for them the risk of homelessness…Never for them the risk of predatory work and wage deprivation and the stealing of hard-earned money…Never for them the ache or pain of seeing their children being exploited by unscrupulous merchants taking advantage of their poverty to drive them into dangerous or sexually exploited conditions..These middle-class operators have found their way to the top of their field through the “in-situ network” of “from the cradle to the grave” placements that are the privilege of their class…From the well-established home to the well-funded private school to the sandstone university to the placement in a career best suited to their “little darlings”….

Yes, fellow workers…we have been groomed to accept that these parasites were “looking after our interests”…when all the time they were feathering their own nests…Now..look how sleek, well fed and suited they are!…their hands never calloused or grubby from the touch of filthy toil!..Their bank-balance never fully depleted by desperate bills-to-pay, old cars breaking down…never like so many of us, surviving from pillar to post in jobs hardly fit for a beast of burden and so precariously held that it almost demands the skill of a high-wire act of a circus acrobat or a man on a flying trapeze to hold onto..or an aged/other pension that barely covers one’s arse with respectable cloth.

I have written for and been chastised off so-called “left-wing” blogging sites by those very same “Status Quo-ers” that have claimed their “ruling position” on such sites through the same methods of grooming that predators use all over the world…the same language skills of mimicry of the concerns and politics of fellow bloggers, the same methodology of psychological manipulation and in the end, the same result of securing a coterie of sympathetic acolytes giving support and covering fire to their ministrations…it is pathetic…WE of the working-class have become pathetic in the way we have given over our voting block of power to these parasite opportunists that have fixed themselves onto the body social of the working people of the nation..

I have written several articles describing the methodology of the middle-class use of “language as class-control”..; https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2019/02/10/the-language-of-class-control/

Also on the subject of the tyranny of the middle-classes in our lives..: https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2019/02/25/the-middle-class-a-complete-failure-at-attempted-civil-governance/

We have been talked into inaction and non-aggression against our tormentors. Like the “House Negro”, we have been talked down, allowing our tormentors to continue their cruelty. The difficulty we have is in identifying those collaborators on our side of politics, as they talk the talk of our needs, they walk the paths of our wants, but all the time, they are still members of that same “Network” of the “consciousness of kind” class that has secured them their privileged and trusted positions.

The Right wing has no such scruples of trying to appease the working people, instead relying on a cabal of unscrupulous media publishers and their sycophant employees pushing out a continuous spray of divisive language and divisive accusations against anyone we hold in esteem as representatives of our wants and needs. Their writings little more than the scratchings of a dung-beetle’s tumbling of a ball of shit across a blank page…so indebted with treason to their foreign national employer,  you could place a sixpence face up under a dog turd and STILL they would have to stand on tip-toe and crane their necks to kiss the Queen’s ear.

The Right- wing members of Parliament are a disgusting example of the worst of humanity…theirs is no intellectual reasoning, just the dull-blows to the head of gross brutality and ignorance. To look at them is to look into a pitiless depth of one of Poe’s black pits of despair..truly, you couldn’t print adjectives descriptive enough to describe both their stupidity and ugliness. The LNP members of our Parliament are the prime example of a failure of humanity.

Right…having got THAT off our chest, we must ask ourselves what we must now do..

We have to have more respect for our collective natural intellect..by that I mean the learned experience of our trades or skilled work giving us a “knowing understanding”.. an intelligent knowledge of what is needed and how to get there in the lives and social requirements of our communities. Our habits of work in our jobs has given us insight into the successes and the failings of how to manage such things…While some jobs require habitual application that demands NO variation of deed, many trades and skilled employment demand a continual observation and where required, an improving twist to the job at hand.

It is in this acknowledgement of our natural education and a deeper experience that has given so many of us the intellectual power to “see” into the problems that need to be addressed, after all..good governance is not rocket science, it is dedication to treat with respect the needs of the majority and it is this knowledge  that will take the working-class to the head of power, where we have the right to be!..

And I say ..this “Head of Power” will have to be taken from the “dying hands” of the now impotent and immoral middle-classes. They will not allow us to simply have it…their “consciousness of kind” compatriots in our own representative parties will do their damnest to try to “talk us back to the fields” to “remain in our place” …to not attempt to become that scourge of fascist supremacists..: “The Uppity Nigger”. No..the road to power will have to be taken..we will suffer…suffer badly and it will hurt…badly…but then, if you look at the statistics of how many of our class, regardless of ethnicity or colour..regardless of age, gender or poverty (for none of us are truly wealthy)…you have to admit we are already in the firing line..we are already being killed.

I call on the ACTU to welcome and embrace ALL working people from whatever skills base and recruit them into the appropriate unions FREE OF CHARGE and give them the protection of collective bargaining and collective justice for any wrongs…the cost of such a move could be and I fully anticipate WILL BE amply covered by “crowd-funding” donations whenever a challenge is required against the liars, thieves and killers who conspire to keep us in our place.

Also we have to demand that if a political party wishes to have our vote, wishes to have our backing and moral support, then they must bring more of us into the political tent…regardless of our education status…regardless of lack of degree or qualification…They have to accept the “raw material” of working-class anger and confrontation..They have to accept that it is in the raw aggression of our frustrations and betrayals that we will gladly confront our attackers and in keeping our commitment to the courage and traditions of our nation’s history..we will..as Henry Lawson described the Eureka Stockade warriors..as Ned Kelly did at Glenrowan when BOTH those courageous peoples declared war on the tyrannical ruling aristocracies….so too it has now come to this generation’s duty to DECLARE WAR ON THE RULING MIDDLE-CLASSES…TO bloody the noses of those tyrants that would have us throttled!….Damn their worthless eyes!

 

 

The Arrogance of Power.

Image result for Siege of Glenrowan Inn pics.

A Play..

This is a condensed part of a play that is centred around a well-worked story ; that of  “The Kelly Gang”..But the difference is displayed in the title..I hope to have delved a little at least into what I call ; “An Arrogance of Power”…It is political and social power sometimes held by a charismatic  individual like Kelly , or an Authority of governance…or subordinate officials who aspire to have it.

In Ned Kelly’s case, He possessed it as a natural strength , the Colonial Authorities jealously guarded it as their perceived right , and other minor officials desired it as a personal treasure. In the story of the Kelly uprising, this “arrogance” was played out by several people.

I want to try with this portrayal of Ned Kelly, to elevate the man from what may be called in some quarters ; A “criminal” mythology, to where I think he more rightly deserves to be placed in our Nation’s short but colourful Colonial history..:

That of Heroic Mythology.

Act# 4 Scene :2

….A jail cell Kelly sits on wooden bench…hands clasped, head down, he is musing on his fate a cock crows, Kelly starts!

Kelly- “Hark, the dawn, sweet Christ! dawn.(he places his head in his hands, then raises it to gaze straight toward audience).Dear Lord, give my distress reason, this last moment before sunrise….this last moment of my life on this earth. What dire fate carried me to this end? Where my brothers now…my friends?..Must I face this darkness alone amongst my enemies?..Ah, damn. damn, damn! What humour of the gods threw me to such beasts…is it for the meanest pun that I am cast so? a murderer they call me, yet they have killed more than I.  A thief they call me and still they rob the poor and ignorant ( He stands and paces the cell) Yet, there are many who see such injustices done.. but why was it to me that fell the responsibility to try to correct such injustices?….I who wanted no more than a farm, and a quiet life. What trick of circumstance brought me to these gallows?…No!.. settle your mind, Ned…hark now while there is still time.. go steadily over the facts, for there.is the secret of the rebellion”.

( He sits down, hands apart in front and reflects)

[  Here the stage is divided into two, Ned in his cell on the right,(from the audience’s viewpoint) the Governor, Judge Redmond Barry, superintendent Hare sitting in comfortable chairs, on the left. They are surrounded by all the trappings of their class, they pour themselves glasses of wine from time to time whilst they talk. Their conversation is calm, well constructed and carefully considered. Kelly’s soliloquy is questioning, his answers full of self-doubt till the end where he finally gains the upper- hand., then he becomes calm, self-assured, certain of his conclusion, whilst the others shift about in their chairs, squirming as they become evasive. doubtful….

As each question is put up by Kelly, his side of the stage darkens, the other lights up and his question is answered by one of the three as if they were talking to him and vice-versa.]

Judge Redmond Barry holds out his glass, superintendent Hare starts, quickly servile but clumsily reaches out and fills the glass from a carafe on the table..as he fills, they hear a cock crow..they all turn to a window on the set wall.

Governor: “Dawn..it won’t be long now!”

Sir Red. Barry: “If it were done, best it were done quickly”.

Gov; “No passing regrets, Redmond?”

Sir R.: ‘With each mans’ death I too am diminished.. ha ha! But no, not this time…for Kelly’s crimes shaped his own end eh, Hare’?”

Hare: “Certainly, we had all the evidence..(snorts humourously) if such were needed, for he convicted himself by his intent…and that was clear enough”.

Gov’: “What then the talk of his mother?”

[stage darkens, return to Kelly.]

Kelly:”When the troopers harrassed and arrested my mother,…. did I act too hastily and with too much temper’?”

Sup. Hare.:”Well, to be accurate, the evidence against his mother was a little…thin on the ground (a soft guffaw from the others) to warrant her arrest…but!..we had to create a catalyst to follow through with the suppression of the district radicals.”

Gov’.:” Hear! hear!”( the judge snorts approval)

Kelly:” Did I act in too much haste to avenge the treatment given to my family , and friends?..perhaps I was bold beyond reason?”

Sup’. H.:” Likewise his father and assorted relatives and friends…, we had to make an example of the clan lest their outspoken behaviour be seen as a quality of leadership and so spark rebellion amongst the larger Irish community there in the district. Amongst such clannish people we had little evidence,…but we had power and arms enough to divide and accuse regardless of guilt…it is our right to rule…and the prisons , ours to fill!”

Judge Barry:: “ Tis a pity Kennedy, and his patrol didn’t rid us of the problem early in the piece.”

Gov’..”Being their own kind..you’d have thought they would have been more cunning….set a thief to catch a thief..”

Sup’. H.:” Ah!..they were ambushed…’twas bad luck for them…armed to the teeth they were too….’twas bad luck for us. that!”

(Lights up his pipe).

Kelly.:”Kennedy and his lot…that was an evil day!..for Kennedy was a brave man, the wrath of God be upon me for his death. I’m sure. But then…what were they to expect? Irishmen hunting Irishmen, they could expect nothing but trouble! Those canny bastards always set us against ourselves…divide and rule is the order of the day. “

Sup’ H.:( he draws on his pipe, expels a long breath)” ‘Twas very important to have their own countrymen hunting them, sets the train of doubt and mistrust amongst their community..They have a long memory: the Irish. And a long memory gives rise to a shorter temper!.

(all three laugh).

Gov’.:” He’ll be but a memory in a few short moments!…ha! ha!”

(the gov’ throws his head back to laugh at his own joke…the other two look at eachother and roll their eyes)

Judge Barry.:(taps the tips of his finders together)” Though in the eyes of the Crown…we have achieved the desired effect of suppressing a sedition and or a potential uprising of the rebellious contingent in the community.. there is a mild..mild I reiterate, moral question that begs discussion. eye-eee (ie.) the deliberate setting-up of these people and incidents and subsequent loss of life to achieve the objective…vis-a-vis : the rooting out and extinguishing of seditious elements within the community”

Gov’.:” Deliberate setting- up?”(Gov looks to Sup.Hare).

Sup’.H.:(clears throat)”Well, Sir…er, to be honest….(clears throat again).

Gov’:” Out with it man!”

Kelly; (pacing the cell, stops, turns head to side,ponders) All the circumstances, all the petty infringements of law, the paltry nit-picking and harassment of our clan….(paces floor as he reasons) the Irish agin’ Irish, relative against relative it seems as if there was a more deliberate force at work than mere chance, it seems as if everything fell too, too smoothly into place, as if all the trivial accusations were deliberately set up to “strike at” our family but…no!,no!..surely it couldn’t be so ….. ?

Sup’. H.:” I did have a report from Superintendant Nicholson that, among other people, most strongly recommended the (gazes quickly to Judge Barry) “rooting out” of the Kelly family from the district and to (if I may quote)”send them to Pentridge even on a paltry charge” to take them away from the community and to reduce their influence in the area so, yes Sir, in some ways it was a deliberate “set-up” as Judge Barry mentioned, though I must admit that it did not go always as planned and I think it was our good fortune that there was not a general uprising at the siege of the Glenrowan Inn!..and if they had succeeded in the derailment of the troop train…?(he finishes with a nervous swig of wine)…thank heaven for the schoolmaster”..

Gov’.:”Ah, yes…the spoiler..”

Sup’ H ;”Spoiler, Sir?”

Judge B; “We have our own “spoilers”, Hare…every Jesus has his Judas…” He gulps his wine.

Gov’;” Quite so, quite so….That close, eh?…(Sup Hare nods in silence)Hmm, is this report common knowledge?”

Sup’.H.:” Only to the higher echelons of the department, Sir”.

Gov’.:(stands and begins to pace the floor with hands clasped behind back)”Then keep it such and Nicholson?…good man that, sees deeply into a problem….(pauses, reflects on his statement)..reward him with a promotion(suddenly raises finger) no, wait!..not promotion, money! give him a supplement to his pay..heh!heh!..money is the most subtle gag!…besides, we don’t want a too competent man near the “top” (stops pacing, looks to the others meaningfully)do we?”  (no word from the other two, so he smiles). You know I have received a petition of plea for clemency for Kelly….thirty thousand signatures…(he looks from one to the other, reading their reactions).Yes..(he sighs and sits back down)that is an awful lot of support in the community… of course there is no chance of it happening, as if the Crown can relinquish so firm a grasp on law and order! No, he shall hang as ordained in the courts of justice.” (Gov raises his glass toward Judge Barry).

Kelly.:” But if it was such, if there was a deliberate conspiracy to victimise our family and friends, ….let me think..(counts out on fingers) Me. Mother, Dan, Jim, Joe Byrne, Aaron Sherrit, Jack Lloyd, Bill Skillion, James Quinn. Pat Quinn (stops counting and looks toward audience in a state of shock) all sentenced, all served time…there can be little doubt but that we were hounded into the courts for some covert reason . Damn their eyes that they have played us into an insidious trap! That the authorised government would sink to such depths to isolate and oppress a group of people as an example to the general mass. What twisted frame of mind would seek such notorious security? That it would selectively sacrifice individuals for its own greater comfort. No, it was not I who was the criminal in this escapade. Let the filth of their cunning permeate into the furtherest reaches of their administration, for they will reap just reward for the evil they sow this day (clenches fist in anger).

Judge B.:(swills wine in glass whilst gazing down reflectively)”I fear we have set a precedent with this action that can lead us down a treacherous path,”

Gov.:”How so. Redmond?”

Judge B,:” ‘Tis a fateful pity we picked on such courageous an individual as Edward Kelly, on the surface he would appear “easy-meat” ; poor, uneducated country-bumkin! But there is a natural leader under that impoverished hide that may yet become a beacon to others.”

Gov.:” Come, come,Redmond. You colour us as tyrants and that..that(waves fingers) dirt as a new Brian Boru !”

Judge B.:”You heard him in my courtroom?…You read his “Jerilderie Letter”?

Gov.:” Ravings! my dear man, ravings!”

Judge B.:”To us, yes, for we deem them as such….We dismiss the crude rhetoric as a maniacs rave….but I tell you there was a power in both those “ravings”, a power that came from a deep belief in the injustice of his jailing…of his family’s convictions….of the oppression of his peoples..MY peoples still!..Such a power has its own silent brooding strength within!….we are indeed fortunate if there is not an uprising after dawn today!”

(a silence prevails)

Gov.:(stands and thinks)” Then we must “colour” the man’s last moments.”

Sup’ Hare;.:”How so Your Excellency?”

Gov.:”Why, we shall apply that time-honoured system when dealing with the “honest ” opposition we shall LIE!..lie and dishonour their memory! (pounds fist into palm of other hand)Let the sentence follow its rubric script, only we, (pauses, wags finger) shall darken the language to the pitch of blood! What is left untarnished… let them adore! But I beg you, fellow corpsmen, let it be little or best still…nothing of respectable substance! We hang Kelly as a murderer; let us paint him as more than such! You; Hare, make sure you report his “cowardice” at the hanging, use any language at your command to make an unfavourable impression with our friends of the Press of his last moments….we must start now to nip any sympathy in the bud and we shall use all means available to do it!….”

Kelly ; “And still it was I who took up the challenge to right their criminal intent but Why?…why was it left to me?….many a time gladly would I have given over the reins to another…(softly).Christ too begged release, yet there was none to take it. Likewise my own position….Joe Byrne?…too cavalier….Dan? too young, likewise Steve Hart but of the rest?….like the disciples of Christ: no vision, it would have all frittered away till there was only the cruel oppression left and us rotting in Pentridge goal….No, there was no other to take the initiative….only I (slumps down on bunk, arms limp on lap…slowly looks up to audience, stands, points to audience accusingly) ..and you! you stand by and let me and the likes of us carry the burden of responsibility and pay the price!….what is your part in this history?..(stands transfixed, mouth slightly open, pointing finger lowers slowly softly speaks)..But what am I saying…they are invisible: the silent majority, they do not figure in history, till the suffering attains a greater magnitude, then and only then does the collective whinge become a moan of anguish!..aaaahhh ! (flings arm wide).bugger the lot of them!…it is too late to lament my lot now , I am condemmed to die dishonourably to give cold honour to a cowardly population….well, I’ll give them one thing to think about: at least I’ll die game!…(shouts)I AM NED KELLY…SON OF RED KELLY!…”

Gov.:” I t is nearly time now, superintendant, go and witness Kelly’s “cowardice” and give it favourable report in the daily press”. ( sup’ Hare stands to attn, salutes and departs.)”Good man that (nods after Hare), I must recommend a suitable reward for his services” .

Judge B: “More money, Your Excellency? (Gov is about to sit, stops mid action and gazes questioningly at the judge)….since I’m sure we don’t want too competent a man near the top ” (sips wine innocently)

Gov.: (sits down slowly but comfortably)”I’m sure I can manage my …subordinates….Redmond..yes, more money, never fails (sips wine, sighs) I’ll have to order in another crate of this most enjoyable red, it sits most delightfully on my digestion!”

Judge B.: “It disturbs mine.”

Gov.:” That is because you gulp it down too fast my dear Redmond…I’ve watched you. no! ..don’t deny it, but listen, good wine is money to the blood..as the coins feel reassuring when they jingle in your pocket and you “embrace” them with your fingers before you spend them….So it is with wine, you let it lay a little on the tongue then press it gently against the palate to feel the richness of it’s fruit before you consume..BEFORE you consume, my dear Redmond….then it will not sour your gut!…(looks to the judge and laughs)ha! ha! ha!”

Kelly.:(returns to bench and sits, hands on knees) “Ah well, they destroy me….but I will take some of them with me…for I will be the nemesis of their hatred!…they have “roped ” themselves to me. Now, as I die…so must they..mine is not the only neck that will be gracing the rope !”(places head in hands and sobs gently he then stops, looks up) Mother… please give me strength to die like a Kelly.”

Judge B.:(taps fingertips together as he speaks) “Of course all this damn drama has risen out of the selectors’ poverty. There is such a thing as too much poverty, Gov’, I see it before my bench continually…”

Gov.:”….and where there is poverty there is crime…”

Judge B.: “And where there is wealth, I contritely add : Is there not greater crime ?”

Gov.: “Ahh! but that “crime” is affiliated, my dear Redmond , affiliated ”

Judge B.: “And we, I take it, are all shareholders?”

Gov.:(stands up abruptly, looks to the judge) “Yes, by God!, that or poverty!…I leave you choose the more favourable….(lowers voice)but come , Redmond, I didn’t make the rules, I am only a caretaker and I too must answer to a greater power….well aware am I that the substance of the poor always goes to enrich the wealthy (hunches shoulders appealingly)but what would you?…Those of us who pull the levers of Authority know only too well the tenuous hold we have on that power..and we know only too well that we rule not on our own strength..for what really are you Redmond , or I, if challenged to arms…but through the obedient strength of those we command..those we own…and if they but knew what we know…So, dear Redmond..Let us be thankful we are only hanging one man, not a whole class!”

Judge B.:”(drains glass with a wince)Pray we are not , in the long run, hanging ourselves!”

( stands to leave.) stage darkens.

Exit scene.

The complete play can be read here..: https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/an-arrogance-of-power/