finishes his approving round-up of the Olympics with a searingly accurate stab at the Australian republic issue. Why are we so silly? Um... it's hard to say. The monarchists are generally made up of two groups: die-hard English loyalists who don't actually consider themselves Australian (and due to our visa system often aren't) and post-retirement conservatives who distrust a republic for the exact same reason that they distrust mobile phones and the internet.
However I respect these misguided fools much more than the non-monarchists who voted against the republic (proving that old maxim about fools and the fools who listen to them), because every member of the second group that I have subsequently argued with seemed to have based their decision on precious little conviction. In fact after five minutes of perhaps overly harsh haranguing by me, they tend to hold up their arms and say sheepishly, "I guess I just didn't feel that I knew enough about the system to vote for it." Which infuriates me so much I turn apoplectic. The Closing Ceremonies for this year's Olympics were designed to express something about the Australian spirit. In today's papers many journalists complained that they didn't even come close to capturing what it was to be Australian. I agree. A truly Australian Closing Ceromonies would have been cancelled because no-one could really be bothered giving a damn.
(Please don't note here that this sort of thing is hardly a uniquely Australian problem. It suits me to believe otherwise.)