It’s a sure sign that a Leftist government is settling into its work, when it begins lecturing other governments and groups on their sins and omissions.
Accordingly, it was of little surprise that in the last week, Penny Wong Australia’s FM, took herself off to the UK to preach about the sins of British colonialism.
New Zealand’s last two female PMs Clark and Ardern, had their own preachy ‘do-gooder’ agendas, both of which came unstuck. Clark undermined Australia’s policy on boat arrivals by taking in those detained offshore by Australia. A not inconsiderable ‘up yours’; gesture by Clark, which in no small way led to Australia’s rigorous policy on deporting tens, if not hundreds, of NZ-born crims back here who have promptly joined gangs.
Ardern, with her eye firmly fixed on a UN appointment, could not wait to tell us, after the Christchurch mosque shootings, that Islamic terrorism wasn’t the problem, but the white variety. She was somewhat blind-sided when a certain Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen, grabbed a knife in Lynnmall shopping centre and stabbed several people. Samsudeen had been under close surveillance by security services for years and Ardern would have been well aware of him. How Ardern, knowing what she knew about this ticking Islamic time bomb, could say to the public: ‘We’re looking in the wrong direction’, sets a new low for transparency and ministerial responsibility.
With two New Zealand PMs who went down the Wong path and were punished by either the entity they criticised, or events, it will be interesting to see how the UK reacts. Wong’s father was an early beneficiary of the Colombo Plan whereby students from the ‘colonies’ were given study opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have. Perhaps an invitation to open a meeting of Colombo Plan donor nations would be appropriate. Can’t wait!
But back to Penny and her trip to the UK. It used to be that socialists were referred to as ‘cloth caps’ highlighting popular headwear for the working classes. If Wong is cloth-capped in her political philosophies, she is cloth-eared in awareness. Why? Because at the very time she was making her speech, the Northern Territory of Australia is roiling in yet more evidence of massive social deprivation and violence among its Aboriginal population. It’s now over 120 years since Australia became a fully self-governing nation, yet its native peoples are still in a dire situation, probably worse than in 1901. It is a hallmark of the ‘woke’ Left, that they blithely ignore any narratives counter to their own, even as the counter narratives are playing out right next door.
The principal takeaway from the speech is that in Wong’s opinion the UK has not ‘confronted its colonial past’. She also traces her family journey from Malaysia, but more on that later.
The economic reality of the British colonial legacy
To get a modern-day grip on the evils of British colonialism, I looked at the per capita GDPs of the nations in the Caribbean that were formerly British colonies and compared the data to the same GDP figures for the entire African continent including Egypt. All of the Caribbean nations have GDP figures higher than Africa with the exception of the sun and surf tourist trap of the Maldives.
Perhaps Penny can tell us if the colonial legacy of women’s rights, equality under the law, plus parliamentary democracy with regular fair elections have anything to do with Caribbean success and African failure?
Another British colony – Hong Kong, never achieved independence, but did immeasurable good by acting as an exemplar and template for Chinese development across the border. That is, once Premier Deng concluded that the Communist economic system was not fit for purpose.
Meanwhile back in Malaysia
Even though she was born in Malaysia, Wong seems unaware that under that country’s constitution, Chinese are second class citizens and if she still lived there, that is what she would be. Surely, as a modern, educated Chinese, she would be aware that Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew removed Chinese majority Singapore from the Malaysian Federation, with the words: ‘I will not be a second class citizen in my own country’. The level of discrimination towards Chinese was that blatant.
Back in the day when I was a junior marketing officer on the Malaysia desk at the New Zealand Dairy Board, it was pointed out to me that our most successful commercial partners there had Chinese operating the nuts and bolts of the business, while the titular and largely decorative head of the company was a Malay. This tokenistic situation was brought about by what is referred to as ‘Bumiputra’, or preferential treatment for ethnic Malays. A Commission of Enquiry in the mid-1950s produced these interesting passages:
‘The Commission found the existing privileges accorded to the Malays included the allocation of extensive Malay land reservations. In addition, the Commission discovered quotas for admission to the public services with a general rule that "not more than one-quarter of new entrants [to a particular service] should be non-Malays." Operation quotas existed in regard to the issuing of permits or licences for the operation of certain businesses. In addition, there existed scholarships, bursaries and other forms of aid for educational purpose" where preference was given to Malays’.
Would you be happy if anything similar existed in Australia, Penny?