Allan Takes Aim Blog

Archive for the ‘History’ Category


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Laws  won’t solve the refugee or same sex marriage issues


Today, refugees and same sex marriage are two issues occupying the minds of politicians across the world (although the latter has more prominence in the west than the east) that have never been resolved and I doubt will ever be resolved by law. However, both issues are likely to keep lawyers in a style of living to which they have become accustomed.

However, there is a difference: marital disputes can lead to small domestic wars but the issue of refugees can, does, and has, led to full blown wars between countries. Indeed one need only be interested in politics to know the latter is true.

In Australia, unfortunately, refugees have become a major issue in the coming election as Labor and the Liberal/National Coalition battle it out in the media while the Greens and minor parties sit on the sidelines cheering them on to destruction. Not that this will happen of course but, “We live in Hope” is the latter’s standby campaign slogan.

Refugees should not be an issue on which voters stand aloof because Australia has always been a land of refugees even if not all came for the same reason. Some came because officers of Australia’s Immigration Department assured them it was a land of opportunity; others came because they had nowhere else to go; some came for the better weather; and some came for economic reasons.

Some of today’s refugees, fleeing from home if fear of their lives and the lives of their children, think of Australia as a haven of safety where their fear of death will grow to a love of life. One hopes that if they get a chance to settle down, their hopes might be realised

Sadly and unfortunately, however, they are being treated as pawns in a political battle between two men each of whom wants to be Australia’s principal wielder of power the like of whom the refugees thought they had escaped. The situation is not without irony because in no small measure, Australia, albeit by participating in wars that made it necessary for the refugees to flee their homeland, is keeping them penned up in conditions as bad as those from which they fled.

Reading between the lines I cannot see Prime Minister Rudd changing his mind on the issue. On the other hand if Mr Abbott decided to look at the matter again and change his mind he could well benefit at the ballot box. After all he his opponent his opponent has changed his mind regularly.

Same sex marriage

Neither a member nor a follower of any religion, I hope, nevertheless, that a relationship between same sex couples is never described in the same way as the relationship I enjoy with my wife. Using ‘love’ as the basis for the rightness of same sex marriage clearly shows its proponents do not understand the complexity of heterosexual marriage.

That same sex marriage seems likely to be legalised in mainly western society it is unlikely to be recognised as acceptable by many nor recognised as such in other societies. Indeed, as has happened in Western Society’s other social engineering experiments unwanted and unintended consequences could be many.

I believe also that the process of procreation is a gift from Mother Nature to man to ensure continuance of her creation – humanity. Indeed, in all civil societies since the dawn of history, heterosexual coupling even if no children were born, was recognised as marriage.

Sad as it is, while endowing all men and women with the capacity to procreate, Mother Nature was discriminatory by not endowing different couplings with the capacity to enjoy it to the full. However no amount of legislation can change the situation and I doubt Mother Nature will change it either.

That said, perhaps proponents of same sex marriage would like to take Mother Nature to the Human Rights Commission. Indeed they would be better off using common sense to solve a confected problem that almost certainly will continue in every millennium to come.

Let me also remind them of the adage: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.



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A blog on babies and family history

If you think I’m going to talk about George Alexander Louis the baby recently born in London you’re mistaken though perhaps the heading of the blog is slightly misleading. It’s misleading because this blog is about more than one baby.

In fact the blog starts with twins Rohan & Audrey, 6th&7th most recent additions to the Larson family, of my nephew Wayne and his wife Lynda King – Larson from the U.S. members of the extended Scottish Allan and King American families. However if the birth George did nothing else it stirred my mind into thinking how many branches of different families have joined with the Allans to create a world of new family trees.    

I don’t know if there are there are any famous people on the new family trees; perhaps like most families in the world they’re famous for not being famous. Mind you that’s not to say none will ever achieve fame. Perhaps some will become infamous a status I confess to finding attractive.

Let me confess to one of my greatest disappointments: I haven’t met all of them and what I know of them is less than extensive. Indeed I know more about departed ancestors such as great grandad William Allan, a former military bandsman, who in 1896 as a member of the Carl Rosa Opera Company was, I am given to understand, the first man to play the slide trombone in a public orchestra. Apparently slide trombones weren’t used because it was thought they would knock the hats of the heads of lady orchestra players. True or false I don’t know but from time to time it has made for interesting conversations.

And from around the same time there’s my Great Aunt, (Saucy) Sal – McCusker who trod the stage in Glasgow Vaudeville of the early nineteen hundreds before moving to Manchester where she disappeared into history as one of the Vaudeville’s great unknowns. I rather think I would have liked her.

Apart from grandparents Bob and Rose Morris and Donald and Elizabeth Allan More recently were my parents Rose Morris and Donald Allan who had eight children split evenly between the sexes in order of seniority: Catherine (Katie)-dec; Elizabeth – (Betty); Donald (Junior)-me; Rose-dec; Robert; William – dec; Patricia; and Gerald. Of the many great memories of my mother and father, my favourite is the picture of grace and elegance they presented as they danced together in the local community hall to the music of a piano-accordion. For me they will always.

Of their children none has become famous although one of Katie’s sons has made a name for himself as a sculptor nor have any of Betty’s children. Robert, long retired, was moderately successful in business while Rose who had had a touch of the Aunt Sal about her was at the same time a lady of compassion was much loved in the community where she was born and lived out her life.

William apparently had talent but why it didn’t blossom I don’t know as I had left the family behind while he was still a schoolboy and saw little of him afterwards. He was father of three boys I didn’t know as children although I have since met two of them (each married a very charming Japanese lady) briefly when they visited and stayed with Valerie and me in Canberra, Sadly, the youngest of his sons, whom I never met, also married with children, died early too early though I like what I read of his wife.

Patricia overcame many difficulties her in life and has a fine family of four she can be proud in the same way as I am proud of my family. Gerald has never married and has no children. I don’t care either that if any of their children – if fortunate to have them –  make headlines in the same way as the Royal George but whether they do or not I hope they will grow up not only to be healthy but love and be as proud of their parents as I am of mine.

As It now unlikely I will ever meet them I‘d like to send them a message. A fortunate life will be a good life and an even better life if you love your neighbours and help others without thought of reward.

Comment welcome.

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 Does ‘Flirting’ have a use by date?

Since reading a column about ‘flirting’ in the London Times many years ago, I have flirted with the idea of writing this column. That it has taken so long might indicate my real flirting days are over which is what I say Boadicea, light of my life and direct in line descendant of the warrior queen, who has held me in thrall for fifty four years, when she catches me looking at particularly attractive young females.

For whatever reason, the article treated ‘Flirting’ with frivolity perhaps because the lady who wrote it, sadly I cannot remember her name, was young and unaware of its seriousness.

In truth I was surprised to find this article in ‘The Times,’ long having laboured under the impression that as a newspaper it was as stuffy as the Conservative establishment it allegedly represented. Indeed, I had heard it referred to as a staid and stuffy.But was it staid and stuffy or was this just a rumour put about by its enemies?

Maybe it had been staid and stuffy and was the ‘Flirting’ article a sign of the times and a way of making the point that conservative British society was now in free-fall. On the other hand, was it something I could sympathise or was it that a staid and stuffy old lady old was hitching up her skirts and kicking up her heels in a final fling to prove she still had it?

Better late than never I must make clear that ‘Flirting’ is not a matter of frivolity but an art and a serious subject. It is not simply the preliminary eyeball jousting males and females engage in before moving to the more serious battles when the latter valiantly engage in protecting virgin territory.

As an art however, ‘Flirting’ not only seems endangered but so endangered that I’m thinking of asking the Government to fund a program for its protection. That it is an important art is clear also because so many people consider it a necessary pre-requisite to marriage. And though it might not be well known, ‘Flirting’ is also important in historical economic terms. For example how many young people today know  that, ‘Flirting’ played a major role in the economic recovery of Britain, Europe and the United States post World War II? I suspect it might have played a similar role in Australia and New Zealand.

You might think that last statement fanciful and flirting with the truth but it’s true because, as I read the article, my mind raced back to a time when ‘Flirting’ was one of my life’s major activities. In fact had I spent as much time on schoolwork as I did Flirting, perhaps I could have grown up and been appointed ‘Flirting’ Correspondent of ’ The Times.’ .

As to my ‘flirting.’ Most of it was done between ages 12 to 17 as I travelled to and from high school on the No 55 bus. And to show my ‘flirting’ was serious let me tell you my preparation started hours before I caught the bus. Not that I was the only one who did such preparation, millions of schoolboys and schoolgirls across Britain did the same.

I cannot speak for the girls of course, or even for most boys, but as I think back my preparation for ‘Flirting’ was a ritual of planning that the Generals in World War II would have been proud of.

Part I of the ritual was me making sure I smelled as fresh as I could, consistent with a boy’s natural inclination to avoid too much water knowing it was bad for the skin. Part twol was an application to the teeth of Gibbs dentifrice known for its capacity to make teeth bright enough to dazzle the eyes of flirtees. Part three was the removal of blackheads and squeezing of pimples after which cream would be applied to cover the bruises caused by their removal. Part four was to shine my shoes with Cherry Blossom boot polish while the final part of the ritual was to groom my hair in the style of swashbuckling International English footballer and Test cricketer Dennis Compton – flat and parted in the centre, an effect that in my case could only be achieved by applying generous dollops of Brylcreem. As for the flirtees, their hair- styles followed that of the day’s most popular female movie stars.

Once on the bus my ‘Flirting’ campaign would get under way. To give me an advantage over competitors, I would try and sit as close as possible to my flirting target because without such a seat even my careful preparation could have been in vain with the result that I would be cast into a pit of despair so deep as to make life seem not worth living – at least not until my next attempt the following morning. After all, faint heart never won fair lady.

However, more important than personal feelings, although I didn’t know it at the time, ‘Flirting’ made the economy boom because, week after week, in an effort to keep ahead of their competitors, millions of young male ‘flirters’ bought every jar of Brylcreem, pimple cream and tin of Cherry Blossom shoe polish to keep up with demand. Unfortunately even though these flirting aids made the economy successful they could not guarantee personal success as I can confirm personally.

However, I wouldn’t like to give people the impression that only boys contributed to the economy, so too did the girls as they snapped up the jars of pimple cream the boys didn’t buy and forced manufacturers to invest in new plant and equipment to meet their demand for hair ribbon, cosmetics, shampoos and conditioners.

Sadly however, Brylcreem, pimple cream, Cherry Blossom, hair ribbon and the simple pleasure of eyeball jousting, now seem to have given way to mobile phones, credit cards and cars. Or does that indicate my use by date for flirting is now past?

 Comment welcome.

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