The ancient Irish city of Waterford has seen and survived four major sieges in the last millennium. Each siege left its mark on the city and on the course of Irish history. The first siege in 1170 raised by “Strongbow” the Earl of Pembroke, hastened the beginning of English rule in Ireland. Two years later King Henry II arrived in Waterford to claim Ireland for the crown and seek obeisance from all Irish kings and bishops. The second (and only unsuccessful) siege occurred in 1495 when the Earl of Desmond attempted to foist Perkin Warbeck as the York pretender to the English Tudor throne. The resistance of Waterford earned it the motto “urbs intacta manet” (“remains the untaken city”) from another grateful King Henry, the seventh. The third and longest siege was during Cromwell’s Irish reign of terror. For almost a year, his armies isolated the city and thousands died of starvation and disease before General Ireton accepted its exhausted surrender in August 1650.
The fourth and final siege came in the warm summer of 1922. While the weather was glorious, it was an ugly time for Ireland which cut itself to pieces in a murderous civil war. The new Free State government besieged Waterford in its campaign to defeat the rebels in the aftermath of the divisive treaty with Lloyd George’s government in Westminster. The odds were stacked against the rebels. The Free State army had British artillery and the support of the powerful organs of the church, the press and the industrial barons. However, the defenders did have military expertise as the majority of the IRA’s officers supported the anti-Treaty forces. It was the south of Ireland which bore the brunt of the conflict and Waterford’s turn began on 18 July.
A West Waterford man named Pax Whelan led the Anti-Treaty forces in the city. They were poorly organised and content to wait for the attack. No attempt was made to secure the heights above the city north of the river at Mount Misery. Anti-Treaty forces were instructed to operate independently in their own areas leading to slipshod communication and there was no overall plan. By contrast, the Free Staters were much better prepared, led by former American cavalry officer Colonel John T. Prout and assisted by two local men Paddy Paul and James McGrath. Paul was a gunnery officer in WW1 and then joined the IRA as brigadier of East Waterford. Paul knew his enemy well. He and Whelan worked together during the War of Independence and leading the only attack on British forces in Waterford: the unsuccessful ambush at Pickardstown near Tramore in January 1921.
At the end of that war, the new government in Dublin struggled to enforce its authority and on 22 May 1922 they sent Paul with orders to take command of Waterford and secure the barracks. He was promptly arrested by anti-Treaty forces and suffered injuries. Paul managed to escape from the Infirmary Hospital dressed as a nun. He fled back to Dublin to plot the re-capture of Waterford.
By 18 July he was back on Mount Misery overlooking the attack of his native city. It would not be easy. All approach roads were mined. The rebels were reinforced by volunteers from Cork and Kerry and had seized the barracks and fortified Ballybricken jail. They set up outposts in shops and hotels along the quay, as well as the post office and Reginald’s Tower. They also opened the spans on the road and rail bridges across the Suir. They outnumbered their opponents with 700 defenders in the city facing 550 Free State troops, many of whom had served in the British army. But the Free Staters had power on their side: two artillery pieces including an 18 pounder placed over the railway station and one lighter calibre piece. The 18 pounder was initially hamstrung as it faced rapid fire from the quays and a sniper on Ballybricken hill but would eventually prove to be a devastating difference.
All businesses in the city closed down except for the Tramore railway which operated continuously through the four days of the siege. Most townsfolk took advantage of the sunny weather to evacuate to the seaside until the fall of the city. At 6:45pm on Tuesday 18 July the attack began in brilliant sunshine. Paul’s first shell landed near his own home near Brewery House in Newgate St. His mother was working in the kitchen and narrowly avoided injury. But the majority of shells found their mark landing in Barrack St or near the jail.
The guns blazed away for four or five hours on the first night. The eerie silence that followed was shattered again at 6am the following morning as the guns opened up in excellent visibility. There were many direct hits on the barracks and the jail on top of the hill. Whelan moved his sharpshooters to Bilberry cliffs west of the quay and they managed to keep the attackers pinned down. The defenders inflicted heavy casualties from accurate machine gun fire from the post office on the quay under the command of Ballybricken chemist Pierce Power. But the shelling continued all day.
During a lull in the fire, Prout moved his major artillery piece onto the bridge but was prevented from using it by persistent gunfire from across the river. Prout had to come up with an alternative plan. The following night 150 men led by Captain Ned O’Brien moved east down the Rosslare railway to Giles Quay under the cover of darkness. O’Brien’s day job was a journalist for the Waterford News but now he was making the news not reporting it (he would later be killed on patrol in the city). His forces commandeered boats moored at the quay and rowed to the opposite shore where they encountered no resistance. The back door to the city was wide open.
At Newtown school, they ambushed a motorised Anti-Treaty patrol. The attackers quickly captured the car and locked the occupants in the boot. They bypassed a rebel garrison in the park and found a prominent local Unionist known as “Lame” Dobbyn. Dobbyn was anxious to see the Republicans defeated and he gave the intruders the key of the Country Club on the strategic corner of the Mall and the Quay opposite Reginald’s Tower. The men entered the back of the building and overpowered a sleeping garrison stationed there. They had secured a vital corner of the city without firing a shot.
At 7:45am the next morning, the intruders opened fire on the Tower across the road and also raked the Mall and the Quays with machine gun fire. The surprise allowed Prout to secure the artillery on the bridge. Its gunfire from close range made the Quay untenable. The republicans retreated to Ballybricken. When a direct hit exploded in the magazine of the artillery barracks that evening, the area had to be evacuated. The end was near.
Whelan gathered his Dungarvan, Cork and Kerry units to escape to the west leaving Jerry Cronin in charge of a small band to defend the city. Cronin’s men retreated to Ballybricken Hill to fight the final battle for Waterford. At 11:50am on Friday 21 July 1922, shellfire breached the jail walls. After some bitter hand-to-hand fighting, Cronin’s forces surrendered. The fourth siege of Waterford was over.
The rebels were dispatched to Kilkenny and Newbridge jails, none of them taking up the offer to swear allegiance to the Provisional Government and join the Free State army. Prout spent the weekend in an open car with Paul and McGrath touring the city. The two local men pointed out Republicans who had escaped arrest.
Waterford was secure but the civil war dragged on for another year in West Munster. On 24 May 1923 anti-Treaty leaders issued unceremonious orders to “dump arms”. The civil war was over. By its end 3,000 people were dead, and 21,000 prisoners were in jails and internment camps. The war left a legacy of bitterness that infected the Irish polity for decades to come.
(this post was originally posted on the old Woolly Days on 29 December 2008)
Cancer has finally done what his internal and American enemies could not: kill Hugo Chavez. The four-times elected Venezuelan president was diagnosed with an abscessed tumour in 2011 and underwent extensive treatment in Cuba. Though he announced himself fully cured last year in time for the October election, doctors found more malignant cells. After two months of treatment in Cuba, he returned home to die.
His death yesterday aged 58 unleashed a wave of international tributes and a flood of emotion in Venezuela. His deputy Nicolas Maduro, who is favoured to win a new election in 30 days, spoke of “the immense pain of this historic tragedy.” Maduro called on Venezuelans to show love, respect and tranquility, ”We ask our people to channel this pain into peace,” Maduro said.
Whatever the pain, Chavez leaves an immense void Maduro will find hard to fill. Chavez has dominated Venezuelan politics for over 20 years and became a major world political figure. Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was the second of six sons of schoolteachers in the town of Sabaneta in the Western state of Barinas. Older brother Adán Chávez Frías is now the governor of that state. At 17, Hugo Chavez joined the Venezuelan academy of Military Sciences where he achieved Master’s degrees in military science and engineering. Chavez remained in the army and gradually worked his way through the ranks to become lieutenant colonel.
While a student, he developed his key philosophy: Bolivarianism, named for the greatest of South America’s generals and fellow Venezuelan Simon Bolivar. Bolivar proclaimed Venezuelan independence from Spain in 1810 and fought running battles with the Spanish over the next 11 years before becoming president of the original republic of Colombia (now Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, and Venezuela). Chavez saw Bolivarianism as promoting the unification of Latin America. As president he changed the constitution and name of the country in 1999 to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Chavez first came to national prominence in 1992. Venezuela was undergoing a crisis under neo-liberal president Carlos Andres Perez then serving his second term. Venezuela’s economic stability was under threat when the Arab countries raised their oil production quotas to aid the collapse of the oil revenue-dependent Soviet Union. Prices plummeted and Perez introduced austerity measures. Chavez and fellow officer Francisco Arias Cardenas founded the MBR-200 (Movimiento Bolivariano Revolucionaro 200) which plotted to overthrow the government. The coup of February 4, 1992 failed. Chavez only had the loyalty of 10% of the armed forces and failed to take the national TV station. Perez eluded capture and Chavez eventually surrendered. He went to prison but many poor Venezuelans saw him as a victim who had stood up against government corruption. Perez was ousted in 1993 and Chavez was pardoned by new president Rafael Caldera in 1994.
In 1998 Chavez campaigned for the presidency and gained significant support from Venezuela’s two largest banks. He won the election with 56% of the popular vote. He immediately got to work on road building, housing construction and mass vaccination. He also halted privatisations of the national social security system, the aluminium industry and the oil sector. He lobbied OPEC to reduce production to increase revenues. He was re-elected with an increased majority in 2000.
In 2002 his reform of the state oil company began a military coup. He was replaced and arrested. This sparked massive pro-Chavez protests and condemnation from the rest of South America. Chavez was restored to the leadership in triumph two days later. Only then did the US condemn the coup. British broadsheet The Observer reported the coup was linked to three senior US government officials, national security adviser Elliot Abrams, special envoy Otto Reich and intelligence chief John Negroponte.
Internal opposition to Chavez remained fierce. In 2004, Sumate (Spanish for “Join in”), a shadowy volunteer civil association funded by the US State Department, collected millions of signatures and activated the 1999 Constitution’s presidential recall provision. Chavez survived this with a 60% ‘no’ vote against the measure.
Chavez continued to use Venezuela’s increasing oil revenues to focus on expanding social programs. Economic activity also picked up markedly, reaching double-digit growth in 2004. He forged links with Argentina’s president Kirchner, China’s Hu, Cuba’s Castro and Iran’s Ahmadinejad. He ordered US troops and Christian missions out of Venezuela in 2005 and gave away almost seven thousand square kilometres of land to Amazonian tribes. He denounced US foreign policy but was the first leader to offer assistance to America after Cyclone Katrina. He told AP, “We place at the disposition of the people of the United States in the event of shortages: we have drinking water, food, we can provide fuel”. His offer was turned down.
Chavez was comfortably re-elected in December 2006 and he set up a commission to review the 1999 constitution. His referendum to include socially progressive reforms was narrowly defeated but he won another referendum to change the law to allow him to run again in 2012. Despite the downturn in the Venezuelan economy and the increase in crime, he won again comfortably in that election.
Chavez remained deeply unpopular in elite US circles to the very end. The Atlantic announced the death of a “controversial socialist revolutionary who rose to become president of Venezuela on failed promises of elevating the poor.” The New York Times was more nuanced but still judged his legacy as “a governing structure revolving around a single willful, mercurial personality.” Meanwhile president Obama carefully avoided praising Chavez while promising to develop a “constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government”.
Writing in Crikey today, Guy Rundle said the simplistic reporting of Chavez in the west was based on the disjuncture between rich and poor countries that prompted Chavez’s election in the first place. “The con job of global neoliberalism, the promise, after the collapse of communism, that playing by the rules of a market-based global system, other countries could join the First World club,” Rundle said. Nicolas Maduro now faces the formidable challenge of steering Venezuela through Chavez’s considerable and complex legacy.
I haven’t yet read The Courier-Mail journalist and author Matthew Condon’s new book Three Crooked Kings about corrupt former Queensland Police boss Terry Lewis.
But given the way he was catapulted into power by then premier Joh-Bjelke Petersen and what I’ve recently learned about the 1971 Springbok tour, it was no surprise to hear Condon reveals details of how politics and police were complicit in creating a ‘law and order’ model for Queensland.
Condon said Bjelke-Petersen told Police Union president Ron Edington during a secret meeting he would support their claim in the industrial court if they would back him up. Condon’s tale reminds me of a much earlier book which was about the early years of Bjelke-Peterson’s rule, “Joh” by Hugh Lunn. (Note: the rest of this post is an update on an earlier piece I wrote on the old Woolly Days in 2007.)
Johannes Bjelke-Petersen (“Joh” to friends and foes alike) was Queensland’s longest serving Premier and one of the most controversial yet fascinating Australian politicians of the twentieth century. He was backward, uneducated, socially inept and often unintelligible but he crafted out a long-term premiership that promoted the power of industry under the cloak of law and order.
Joh was born in the small New Zealand North Island town of Dannevirke in 1911, the second son of Danish Lutheran pastor Carl George Bjelke-Petersen and his wife Maren. The Bjelke-Petersens moved to Queensland for health reasons and settled in Kingaroy in the South Burnett region. They bought a scrub-filled property they named “Bethany” and began to clear the land. Aged nine, young Joh was struck down with polio which left one leg a centimetre shorter than the other.
Despite his illness, Joh did farm chores every day before and after school. He left school aged 13 to work full time on the farm and he was driven by the desire to pay off the bank debt on the family farm. His father put the family deeper into debt by buying a second farm to feed their herd of dairy cows. It was Joh’s job to drive the cows to and from the second property. He also enjoyed reading the bible and struck up a friendship with a local Lutheran pastor who allowed Joh to take the Kingaroy service whenever he was away.
Joh heard that peanuts would grow well in the sandy soils. He overcame his father’s scepticism and cleared the second property to plant peanuts. Without bulldozers, Joh used teams of horses to pull the timber down. He lived in a cow bail on the property where the only furniture was a bed, a meat safe and a box for bread. The frugal cow bail would be his home for the next 15 years. Joh worked from dawn to dusk every day except Sunday and spent his evenings reading books about self-made men like Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison.
In 1933, aged 22, Joh talked his bank manager into a loan for a tractor. Soon he was well on top of his own work and hired his services out to his neighbour farmers. During the four month peanut harvesting season, Joh’s team would work all the local properties starting at dawn and finishing at 11pm under floodlights. By the war in 1939, Joh was harvesting peanuts in a big way. His polio made him unfit for service and he continued to work the land. He moved into the plant equipment business and bought bulldozers to clear the bush. By 1949 he was rich enough to learn to fly. He bought his own plane which gave him great mobility for his business and eventually his political career.
The young entrepreneur was courted by the Country Party and was elected to Kingaroy Shire Council in 1946. The following year he stood for the vacant Country party state seat of Nanango. Joh was elected, aged 36, and he joined a parliament that had being dominated by Labor for a generation. Joh appeared in the House as a fundamentalist, and in Lunn’s word a “blinkered, Calvinistic and rural” politician. He was jeered by the Government but he handled himself well and promoted the ideas of hard work, anti-unionism and an opposition to state control socialism.
In 1952, the now 40 year old confirmed bachelor finally married. His bride was a Florence Gilmour of Brisbane, the private secretary of the Main Roads Commissioner. Flo had a difficult job to house train Joh but the pair’s talents were in harmony. Her administrative skills balanced Joh’s political nous and they became a formidable team as they began to search for oil.
Politically, the non-drinking, non-smoking Joh remained an outsider, even within his own party. In the 1957 state election Labor imploded due to the DLP split and the Country Party swept to power with Joh firmly on the back bench. In 1963 Premier Frank Nicklin surprisingly chose him to be minister for works and housing. It was a shock because Joh had once heckled Nicklin for increasing road transport fees. But Nicklin now noted Joh possessed a wide knowledge of “Queensland and its requirements”. In 1968 Nicklin retired and the popular Jack Pizzey was unanimously anointed his successor. New Police Minister Bjelke-Petersen surprisingly won the contest for deputy leader over more fancied opponents. But with Pizzey expected to lead for the next decade, no one made much of this victory.
Barely six months into his reign, Jack Pizzey died suddenly. Joh was elected unopposed as Country party leader and heir apparent to the premiership. Liberal coalition leader and caretaker Premier Gordon Chalk said he, not Joh, should have the top job. But the partners voted along party lines and Joh was elected premier 26 votes to 19. His first act was a reading from the Bible on George St during a Bible readathon.
His elevation to the top job finally made him a figure of public interest. The newspapers scrutinised his share holdings in oil and in mining company Comalco which suggested he had done well from government decisions. Joh refused to divest his shares. ABC reporter Allen Callaghan led the media pack against Joh and his party began to launch a challenge to his rule. In 1970 Joh stared down a party room revolt and needed his own casting vote to avoid the sack.
Things began to turn around in 1971 when Joh appointed the poacher as gamekeeper. Allen Callaghan became his new press secretary and his immediate task was to stop the media from seeing Joh as an inept country bumpkin. He seized the opportunity presented by the Springboks Tour. The Springboks arrived in the context of widespread condemnation of South Africa’s racial policies and their games caused riots in the southern cities.
Under advice from Callaghan, Joh declared a state of emergency which allowed them to commandeer the RNA venue (and outlaw labour strikes) and gave the police unlimited powers to arrest without warrant. The Trade Hall strikes against the Powers were condemned by the public for disruption of services and hundreds of protesters were baton-charged by police on Wickham Terrace. Callaghan successfully framed the debate as a law and order issue and made Joh look a strong leader. Callaghan also taught Joh the basics of television. Sometimes he would stand behind Joh and give him signals when he was going off-beam.
Joh won the propaganda battle and easily retained power in the 1972 State election with the help of the weighting of country votes known as the “bjelkemander”. Despite that win, the Country Party knew they needed to make inroads in the metropolitan areas to guarantee continued success. In 1973 they merged with the Queensland DLP and later renamed the new entity the National Party (based on the successful NZ party of that name).
In 1972, Gough Whitlam won the Federal election, Labor’s first time in office since 1949. Joh became Whitlam’s most implacable opponent attacking the government on every conceivable issue. In 1974 the Whitlam government was one short of a senate majority and tried to remove an opponent. They made DLP senator (and former Queensland Labor Premier) Vince Gair ambassador to Ireland so that one extra seat would be contested at the election that Labor was likely to win. But Joh got wind of his plan and put in place a ruse (the “night of the long prawns“) to declare the election writs before Gair could formally resign. The result was that Gair’s seat was not contested and Labor would not gain the majority. The delighted opposition asked Whitlam in parliament whether he had ever “been taken for a ride” by the pilot Bjelke-Petersen. Whitlam responded by calling a double dissolution election of both houses.
That election did not resolve the impasse and Labor won only four of ten Queensland Senate seats. Joh turned his attention to the 1974 State election and he criss-crossed Queensland by plane to make his winning point. Labor was virtually wiped out and the Nationals vote jumped ten percent, winning some city seats. Joh was at the height of his powers. Now he could concentrate on delivering a knock-out blow to Whitlam.
The deadlocked Senate situation changed in 1975 when Labor senator Bertie Millner died at his desk in Brisbane. The political convention was that Millner’s Senate seat would go to the next man on the Labor ticket, Dr Mal Colston (a man who would later enter into Labor infamy as a ‘turncoat’). Bjelke-Petersen announced publicly he wanted Labor to put up three nominations and state parliament would choose the man it wanted. Labor refused. The Coalition began a smear campaign against Colston suggesting he was the prime candidate in a 1962 arson case.
Joh’s office then found an unlikely candidate. He was Albert Field, 64, disaffected ALP member and president of the Federated Furnishing Trade Union. Joh nominated Field as the Senate candidate despite the strenuous objections of Labor. Field was pilloried by the southern media and ostracised by Labor. Questioned about the Senate appointment, Whitlam described Joh as a “bible-bashing bastard”. Whitlam had gone too far. Insulting the church on TV was not a good look and there was an inevitable backlash. With the Senate refusing budget supply, Governor-General John Kerr sacked Whitlam’s Government in November 1975.
Joh had seen off his nemesis but back in state politics, Joh had to ride out the storm caused by the police heavy-handed tactics in destroying a hippie commune at Cedar Bay north of Cairns. He was also troubled by the long-running inquiry that followed. Police Commissioner Ray Whitrod resigned in protest saying Queensland was becoming a police state. Whitrod was also furious at the promotion of unknown Terry Lewis to deputy commissioner over many more senior officers.
Lunn’s book “Joh” was published in 1978 which was the year Lewis replaced Whitrod.
It also misses out on the excesses of the 1980s era. Joh trampled on civil liberties, encouraged police corruption and as his hubris grew, he destroyed John Howard’s hopes of winning power in 1987 with his ill-judged ‘Joh for Canberra’ crusade. That same year, the ABC 4 Corners episode “The Moonlight State” began to bring the corruption into the public record. The Fitzgerald Inquiry released its findings in 1989 and implicated senior members of Joh’s government. Joh was eventually forced to resign. He avoided prison for perjury at the Inquiry due to a deadlocked jury whose foreman was a member of the National Party. He died in 2005 and was buried at the family property “Bethany” after a state funeral organised by Labor Premier Peter Beattie who was arrested by Joh’s police back in 1971. He remains a decisive and divisive figure in state politics and like his trial, the jury remains split on his legacy.
A few weeks ago I received an invite to attend a talk at the Queensland Police Museum in Brisbane. The two hour talk was on the riots in Brisbane during the 1971 visit of the South African Springbok rugby team. I was invited because of an article I wrote two and a half years ago about the Springbok riots which was inspired by an article on the riot in the Courier-Mail that day and was based on my reading of a chapter in the book called Radical Brisbane.
As it happens, I was in Brisbane last Sunday, the day of the talk, so accepted the invite. I was intrigued that the Queensland Police Force (now renamed as Qld Police Service) would host a session on what was clearly not one of their finest hours. The man who emailed me the invite was Barry Krosch a name I was unfamiliar with. Krosch, I would later find out was a former police officer who spend nine years in the special branch and later assisted the Fitzgerald Inquiry which blew the lid on Queensland’s political and police corruption during the 70s and 80s.
Now retired to Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s town of Kingaroy, he is doing his masters at Griffith Uni on the study of the special branch. It was he who organised the many speakers on the day at the Police Museum and gave his own insights to special branch activities, though he was not in the force at the time of the riots. Krosch spoke about their interactions with ASIO and shared examples of their filing system which bordered on the obsessive – the Springbok tour was called “Operation SATOUR” and filed under “5K” for ‘visits and ships’ not to be confused with ‘7K’ which catalogued those deemed ‘mentally unbalanced and cranks’.
Those that came along to the Museum to hear Krosch and others weren’t cranks but they probably weren’t a typical police audience either. The MC on the day was Brisbane News Ltd boss David Fagan. I am not the biggest fan of Fagan nor his flagship product the Courier-Mail but he was a smooth and perfect host on the day. Fagan noted the subject under discussion had a very profound effect on Queensland politics for two decades. It strengthened the power of a vulnerable new Premier who could “barely string a sentence together” under the badge of law and order with “unfortunate consequences” while it radicalised a generation on the left. One later speaker – Terry O’Gorman – would tell us how that radicalisation occurred. Another radical from the era, the now-journalism professor Alan Knight, gave his eye-witness account as well as outlining the failures of the media to expose what happened, earning the Courier-Mail the title of Brisbane’s Pravda.
But it was Krosch’s thesis supervisor Professor Mark Finnane who opened the session with a wider political context for the 1971 riots. The riots did not magically appear from nowhere, Finnane argued, but were rather a continuation of major political ideas and conflicts affecting sport across Australia and the world. By the 1960s, the South African apartheid system was fully fledged and an increasingly obvious anomaly in post-colonial Africa. The world pressure was intense and found voice in South Africa’s exclusion from the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth in 1962 and the Tokyo Olympics two years later. They were also suspended from FIFA in 1964 though not formally kicked out until after the 1976 Soweto riots.
But the British codes of rugby and cricket held out. Teams from Australia toured South Africa and when the South Africans came to Australia they were confronted by protests wherever they went. When the Springboks came in 1971, thousands marched against them in Melbourne and Sydney. Conservative governments in Canberra and the states hated the ‘leftist tendencies’ of the protesters but it was Joh who opposed with ‘special fervour’, as Finnane put it.
Lawyer and Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman took the story onwards from this point. O’Gorman now sees Joh’s actions as an abuse of power compounded by Australia’s lack of a Bill of Rights. But the protests did not register immediately to him at the time. O’Gorman was a deeply Catholic and conservative young man and was studying law at the University of Queensland, oblivious to the left-wing protests going on around him. He was not involved on that Thursday, July 22 when police charged on the protestors outside the Springboks’ motel at Tower Mill. With the aid of agent provocateurs in the mob, the crowd was sent fleeing down the hill resulting in many serious injuries.
A day later O’Gorman heard the stories of students involved. Reformist police boss Ray Whitrod had tried to keep order but many zealous country officers equated protesters as commies and disobeyed him. O’Gorman immediately realised there was a disconnect between what he was learning about the principles of law and the lack of theoretical restraint in the police upholding those laws. He agreed to join the legal observer group on the day of the game.
The day remains etched in his memory with its fearful tension and excessive use of force. O’Gorman became of one of those that Fagan said were radicalised by the riots and a fierce opponent of the regime. He would have his revenge by cross-questioning Joh at the Fitzgerald Inquiry to devastating results. But O’Gorman wasn’t thinking about 1971 or 1989 when he concluded his talk, but rather could it happen again. The G20 meeting in Brisbane next year and the Commonwealth Games in 2018 will be tests of whether governments cloak themselves in law and order and whether police again equate protests with terrorism, he said. “It behoves us to ensure all voices are heard, including protest voices, just as police do their difficult job of protecting heads of state.”
When I caught up with Max Gaylard on Saturday he was in the back of the Hotel Richards sorting through books, passports and photos that got wet in the Mitchell flood. When he was last back in Mitchell he put all his memorabilia in boxes and left them in his niece Alison’s house. Like 70% of the town, Alison’s home was flooded and much of Max’s memorabilia was destroyed.
That’s a big shame and not just for Max’s memories. Maxwell Gaylard is one of Australia’s finest diplomats and remains a problem solver for the UN in difficult places like Somalia, Sudan, Kurdistan and Gaza. He is a special coordinator for the Middle East peace process and will return to his offices in Jerusalem and Ramallah next week.
Born in the Sunshine Coast and living most of life overseas, Mitchell is an odd place to find him though he has good reasons. Along with his brother Rob Struthers and his brother’s wife Irene, Max owns the Hotel Richards on the sleepy main street. Rob and Irene are the normal custodians, with daughter Alison, but whenever Max gets back to the country, he heads out west and gives the other two a break.
“I try to get out here once a year but it was two years ago I was last here at Alison’s place packing away all my stuff,” he said. “I joked that the only thing that could get them was a flood.”
Max regrets tempting fate but clearly enjoys the change of pace in Western Queensland. But why Mitchell, I asked. “We were looking to buy a pub in 2002 or 2003, and Mitchell was the closest place to Brisbane we could afford,” he said.
As we talked, Max continued rifling through salvageable photos of his student days and he picked out several of prominent people. There was former defence force chief Peter Cosgrove in fatigues. There was another of a university rugby league team with Stuart McCosker , husband of Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley whom he also knew well. “Penelope started as a diplomatic cadet in same batch as me,” he said.
There was another with former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett in Officer Training. I looked at him closely and couldn’t help myself, “Now you mention it, you and Jeff look very alike,” I said. He laughed and told me the story about giving a serious talk on international matters when some heckler shouted out from the back “that’s all very well but why do you look so much like Jeff Kennett?”
Gaylard was full of little breakaway anecdotes as I teased out his life adventures.
He grew up in Nambour and left in the summer of 1964 bound for the University of Queensland. He studied history and politics and he was also a fine footballer who played first grade for Wests in Brisbane. He remembers an early game against Redcliffe. “This huge fellow from Roma crashed into me and flattened me for two weeks,” he said. That bone-crunching opponent was Artie Beetson and he was one of many to leave a mark on the impressionable young Max.
He had his heart set on a career in the Diplomatic Service but his name came up in the army ballot. At college Gaylard had protested against the wars Australia was involved in, now he was called up to serve in one. He deferred the call-up until he finished his studies. He rolled up at the Foreign Affairs Department hoping in vain to get some sort of diplomatic immunity. On the day he started in Canberra, Max was called into the forbidding office of the head of the Department’s office and was told congratulations, he was the first diplomatic cadet to be selected in the army.
The year was 1968 and while many Australians ended up in Vietnam, Max did Officer Training Unit and then went to Singapore and Malaysia with the First Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment as part of the Five Power Arrangement. Two years passed by there, before he returned to Canberra. Billy McMahon was then foreign minister, having failed in his first bid to become Prime Minister. Max said it was a wild and entertaining time before he got his first overseas posting in Mexico.
There his highlight was to spend $2400 on a painting. A Mexican man approached him and asked him if he wanted to buy Eugene Von Guerard’s painting North-east view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko. “I had no idea what it was worth but looked up its bibliography and the new Whitlam Government said yes they wanted it for the new National Gallery”.
At the end of the 1970s he was posted to Burma. The ice was melting in the relationship with China and Gaylard remembers being invited to the Chinese Embassy in Rangoon for afternoon tea and table tennis. “They beat the crap out of us at pingpong,” he said.
After Burma, he was appointed deputy High Commissioner in Singapore, a place he knew well from his army days. He was finally appointed High Commissioner to Solomon Islands in 1985. The pinnacle of his career in Australian diplomacy, his three year stint in the Solomons was dogged by controversy. “The Solomons was threatening to be a failed state then, we could see the signs.”
The cause of his problem was an irascible Dutch-Australian called John Meint Smith. Smith had a chequered career in Australia as a resort manager and in a similar role in the Solomons he get the natives restless. He exhorted a group of warriors to force the management team of a resort off the island at spear-point. Gaylard played a prominent role in the police response, by-passing the Solomons Foreign Ministry and causing a major diplomatic incident.
The Solomons PM demanded Gaylard’s withdrawal but he was opposed by his deputy causing a serious rift in government. Meanwhile Smith threatened to kill him. Smith further muddied the waters with allegations of corruption against Australians in the country. The ABC sent Chris Masters to investigate and in a bizarre interview Masters asked Gaylard if Smith had him by the short and curlies. “I assure you,” Gaylard bristled in response, “no one has me by the short and curlies.” But his tenure was fatally undermined and as the situation deteriorated, Gaylard’s three year assignment came to its natural end.
It was time for a change and Gaylard signed up on secondment with the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. There he became director of Political/International Affairs. Gaylard was thrown into the problems facing many Commonwealth countries transitioning from one-party-state to democracy. Though it is now ignored because of Robert Mugabe, the 1991 Harare Declaration gave the Commonwealth a fresh sense of purpose in reforming the political system of its members based on the rule of law.
A succession of dictators came to Gaylard saying they thought a one party state was the best form of government but they were willing to change. He solved issues in the Seychelles, Kenya, Guyana, Bangladesh and many other countries. In South Africa, he was involved in the transition from de Klerk to Mandela but his proudest achievement was helping the king of Lesotho return from exile to become head of a constitutional monarchy.
Eight years passed by and it was too late to consider another Australian ambassadorial position. He quit in 1997 and joined the UN. He received a letter from Kofi Annan, then head of peacekeeping asking him to stand by to go to Bosnia. “Thankfully he never sent me that message,” he said.
Instead he went to northern Iraq to oversee Kurdistan’s emerging semi-democracy in the wake of the First Gulf War. “Saddam didn’t want to deal with the Kurds, but of course he had to,” he said. Gaylard’s job was to ensure the UN’s $260m budget was spent wisely across its many agencies. “It took us a couple of years but eventually things settled down.”
The Kurds were a resourceful lot and they quickly learned to gain the most out of the oil passing through their borders from Mosul to Turkey. “What do you need”, the truckers asked the Kurds. “Potatoes”, they replied and Kurdistan’s potato shortage disappeared. Though the UN were not involved in the money end of the oil for food program, Gaylard could see it was getting corrupted at both ends of the supply chain. He was not surprised to see the Australian Wheat Board implicated in the eventual scandal. “I kept asking where the wheat for the food basket was coming from. The answer was always Australia. Why not Canada, I wondered.”
Gaylard was then transferred to Sudan where he dealt with dictator Omar Bashir and Southern Sudan’s strongman John Garang. Southern Sudan was moving towards war with the North and eventual independence but Gaylard sees it as a tragedy they could not work together in Federation. “When we met the leaders of Sudan and Southern Sudan, they all knew each other well and had gone to school together,” he said.
But among the frustrations there were triumphs too with Operation Lifeline Sudan providing humanitarian assistance throughout war-torn and drought-afflicted regions. Gaylard left Sudan in 2002 when the civil war ended but returned for the 2004 Power Sharing celebrations in Nairobi. He remains despondent about the two nations’ future. “There is still a lot of low level conflict – particularly over the oil fields along the border.”
If Sudan was difficult, the next assignment was even more dangerous – Somalia. Yet Gaylard’s face lit up from the first mention of the anarchic Horn of Africa country and it is clear it is his favourite mission. “All through the war, there were two pieces of infrastructure no one would harm,” he said.
“The first was the mobile phone towers and the second was the khat supply route.”
Somalia has had no government in 20 years but their telecommunications is first-class though even Gaylard was not quite sure how they managed it. “The Somalis have a great sense of entrepreneurship, they think they can do anything,” he said.“They would go off to the Gulf and somehow buy bandwidth.”
Gaylard’s proudest achievement was to bring law and order to the semi-autonomous regions of Somaliland (formerly British Somaliland) and Puntland. “It was based on sound policing and a British-style justice system,” he said. “It helped the British protectorate didn’t dismantle the clan system and there was only clan to deal with, not four or five like in Mogadishu.”
Just as in the Solomons, there were threats on his life. One clan leader told his office that if “Mr Max” came to Baidoa next week, he was going to kill him. When Mr Max finally met the leader, he asked him was he still intending to kill him. “No, of course I’m not,” came the reply. Among his achievements in Somalia was helping wipe out polio with a vaccination scheme. Somalia has been polio free since 2007.
Gaylard was in Somalia when 9/11 happened. His wife rang him from London and told him to turn on the television. He watched live as the plane slammed into the second tower. He agreed it changed everything in international politics yet Somalia stayed mostly immune. “There was so much else that was going on there.” Gaylard say Somalia was the best job he ever had. “No one from head office ever bothered me.”
In 2007 however, another even more difficult conflict came calling. New UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon appointed him as Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. “Journalists said I had the longest job title ever,” he joked. But he was deadly serious in his opinions about the problems in Palestine. He puts it down to three man-made issues or “SOS” as he calls them: settlement, occupation and siege.
“Gazans are natural traders but they cannot trade at the moment,” he said. “The city is a big open-air prison, with walls on the Israeli and Egyptian borders and the Israeli Navy three miles out to sea. There has got to be a better way of dealing with this than a siege.”
In 2012 he released a UN report showing forced displacements were on the rise as were illegal settlements. “The Israelis know this is madness but they cannot seem to get out of it,” he said. “Maybe like the South African apartheid system it will all collapse of its own accord. Or maybe it won’t.”
Complex international challenges have never fazed Max Gaylard but as we walked to the front bar and he poured me a beer, it was clear he enjoyed escaping to the simple serenity of Mitchell.
“This place has been my lifesaver, I don’t get out here often enough,” he said.
Some of you may remember the other version of my blog Woolly Days on Google’s Blogspot. I founded it in 2005 and since then I have posted 1548 entries with well over a million words. In 2009 I duplicated the content here on WordPress. But all my writings between 2005 and early 2009 are only on Blogspot. Whether those words are worth saving is anyone’s guess but at moment Google does want anyone else to see them. And you cannot visit the site anymore because Google has locked it and made visible to me only as the author.
I’ve always found it difficult to dislike Google. Though they are one of the world’s largest information technology companies driven by profit imperative they continue to have good karma. Evangelists like Jeff Jarvis see them as the gamechanger benchmark constantly asking us in any situation what would Google do? What their search engine did do was revolutionise our relationship to information. Over 10 years they ensured an enormous store of knowledge was no further away than our fingertips.
I still use their search and I also love their maps, even their blogs (I update my second site Irish I’s irregularly where I post anything I see that amuses me.) But my experiences with them are increasingly dominated by their thuggish practices.
On January 20, 2013 I got a terse email from an address called “Google Blogger Support”. However the email’s contents weren’t very supportive. Signed off by the “Google Team”, the email told me Google had received a Terms of Service complaint regarding malicious code on my blog. “After conducting our review, and in accordance with Google’s Terms of Service, we have removed the content at issue,” the “Google Team” said.
They provided links to the Terms of Service and their Content Policy but there was no explanation which element I was in breach of or what code was malicious. Was it some content that offended someone? Who knows and there were plenty of words bound to offend someone. Google wouldn’t say who made the complaint or how I could respond to the charge.
I responded immediately to the address “Blogger Support” that sent me the email. I replied this was absolutely outrageous, “Woolly Days is a respected blog of 7 years standing,” I said. “It covers serious issues of politics and media with over a million words. Why on earth has it been deleted without Snyder eexplanation (sic,)? Please undo this disgraceful unwarranted action. Even a quick look would assure anyone of its merits.”
I was angry when I wrote it and in my hurry it had a very curious mistake.My “Snyder eexplanation” is a combination of a typo and ‘damn you autocorrect’ moment – it meant to read ‘any explanation’. Why my Google powered Android phone changed “any” to “Snyder” is anyone’s guess. But I need not have been embarrassed by that or worried that Google would pay any attention to my screed.
I got the standard auto reply “Unfortunately, we are unable to answer email that is sent directly to this email address.” They gave me places to go if I wanted help with a technical issue, answers from the help forum, wanted to learn about features or even if I wanted to report a violation of Blogger’s Terms of Service. But there was no place to go if you were a victim of such a report.
The blog remains visible to me, but no one else can see it. On my blogger dashboard, I found it was listed as a locked blog but I could request an unlock review. I did so but received no reply. When I next logged onto the dashboard I saw another cryptic message that the blog was “in violation of Blogger’s Terms Of Service”. They advised me to “fix the problem” before Google would re-review.
But what was the problem? The Google terms of service are 1691 words long and I have no idea whether I am violating all of it or some sentence of it. Frustrated, I got rid of a few things they mentioned might be issues that I thought were harmless. So I removed the html code for my stat counters and a few modest ads. But that didn’t help. I put in a second unlock review after I removed the possibly offending content. Google responded with silence. I remain in a Kafkaesque world guilty of some unknown offence with no way of redressing the problem.
I don’t know what the ‘malicious code’ (and doubt I have the html skills to be really malicious) nor do I how what the TOS violation is, but I suspect it is a very minor infraction of inconsistently-applied rules. I still want Google to unlock my blog though I will never update it again. Blogspot is their platform but Woolly Days is a part of the public record and Google have no right to interfere with it. It is the behaviour of thugs and censors.
The Germans, in their infinite wisdom, chose the word “shitstorm” as their Anglicism of the Year in 2012. Their jury defined shitstorm as a public outcry in which arguments mix with threats and insults to reach a critical mass, forcing a reaction. Shitstorm, they said, filled a gap in German vocabulary “through changes in the culture of public debate.” As ever, the hugely influential urban dictionary has a more pithy explanation calling it a “gigantic cluster fuck”. The 2010 book Shitstorm: Inside Labor’s Darkest Days by Lenore Taylor and David Uren is about the gigantic cluster fuck that was (and remains) the Global Financial Crisis. Taylor is one of the country’s most respected political journalists while Uren has written on economic issues for 35 years so they team up well to discuss how the shitstorm of the GFC impacted Australian politics and the country’s economy.
The book takes its name from a quote then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd used in a television interview. On March 8, 2009, Rudd appeared in front of a live studio audience on the Seven Network’s Sunday Night program where he about his government’s response to the GFC. Responding to opposition claims about the debt Labor created to fund its stimulus package, Rudd said it came down to a choice between letting the market fix it up or intervening with temporary borrowings. “People have to understand that,” Rudd told the audience, “because there is going to be the usual political shitstorm – sorry, political storm over that.” It seems reasonable to believe it was choreographed error from Rudd who left very little to chance during his tenure as Prime Minister.
Error or not, the choice of words was typical Rudd. The cover of the book Shitstorm shows a picture from that era with the four members of kitchen cabinet: Rudd, Linday Tanner, Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard. In the photo Rudd has his back to the camera. He is not interested in us, he is conducting his orchestra. But his players are not quite in tune. Finance Minister Tanner is looking off to right, Treasurer Swan is looking off the left and only Rudd’s deputy is looking vaguely in his direction, but with her own agenda. The gang of four formed the Strategic Priorities and Budget Committee (SPBC) that made most of the political decisions in the periodm any of which were remarkable and still-debated. It resulted in Australia avoiding a recession, when the economies of the world fell like ninepins around them.
Rudd was spot on about the shitstorm, but could not see he would be one of the casualties. His sensational sacking as Labor leader happened after the book was released. No one, least Taylor and Uren saw it coming. Then again neither did anyone else outside a small circle. The panic-stricken parliamentary putsch in June 2010 that cost Rudd his job as first-term Prime Minister left the Australian polity reeling, locked the nation into costly backflips, and severely damaged the trust between Labor and many of their own supporters that lasts to this day.
The Gillard government scraped over the line in October 2010 thanks to the negotiating skills of the new leader. But to win that election, she had to promise no carbon tax although both parties had agreed to it in 2007. The distant drum of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis had little effect on that election. It wouldn’t affect Australia where interest rates had risen 10 times in a row due to mining growth.
Both leaders knew the crash was coming but Rudd couldn’t risk talking about a crisis as it would highlight their inexperience while it was also inconvenient to Howard’s “don’t risk good times” message. Labor won but there was little time to celebrate. The first effect in Australia was the cost of borrowing money. The big banks who manage lots of short term loans were suddenly exposed as money fled the banking system. No Australian bank had to close its doors but there were times when the queue was down the street (prompting banks to consider how to keep large queues inside).
As the cost of money rose, the Australian banks took the near unprecedented step of rising interest rates without a signal from the Reserve Bank. The first bank tipped off Treasurer Swan in advance but the next one didn’t. So Swan advised people to switch banks but he could well see there was a problem brewing. While n summer holidays at Cotton Tree beach on the Sunshine Coast, he took a call from US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson that terrified him. Paulson said the US “might be able to see a way” through the crisis if house prices didn’t collapse. Swan could see it was a big if.
It was first items of business when Rudd returned to work after Christmas. Labor (or rather the SPBC) promised a budget surplus of $18 billion (around 1.5% GDP). But although China ate up Aussie minerals elsewhere the news kept getting worse. When Rudd went to Washington in March, he met the IMF’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn who stunned him by saying the sub-prime lending mess would cost a trillion dollars (a figure later upgraded to $3 trillion). Governments would ultimately bear much of that cost.
By May budget in 2008, Swan was under pressure to abandon $47 billion of election promise tax cuts. The Government held firm but had to hold back on cuts they hoped would keep the books in the black. This was a direct result of the growing crisis but Swan couldn’t publicly admit this, for fear of impacting consumer confidence. Matters spiralled out of Swan’s and consumers’ control in September 2008 when the US’s fourth largest investment bank, Lehmann Brothers went bankrupt with $613 billion owing on uncertain assets. Trillions in securities across the world guaranteed or counter-signed by Lehmans were now suddenly at risk. The US’s largest insurer AIG’s shared dipped 70% with $550 billion tied up in sub-prime mortgages . Largest US mortgage-lender Washington Mutual’s shares also nosedived and exposed mutual funds who had to dump securities to meet a run on redemptions. The bond market died as no one would lend for anything longer than one day.
Australia had $800 billion of debt, of which $500 billion was short-term subject to constant finance. As America’s financial wobble threatened to tsunami across the Pacific, Swan’s message to the press was simple: “We were not immune but better placed than most to weather the coming storm”. But an IMF meeting in Washington in October 2008 would tell him the climate was worsening: it was enough for a clean bank to have links with a toxic bank for it to be in trouble. China’s boom would not save Australia from this tempest.
Swan came from the meeting convinced Australia needed financial stimulus. Rudd quickly warmed to the idea too. Over Christmas Rudd had been reading the economic ideas of EG Theodore and his bitter regret over how Australian lack of government action delayed a recovery in the 1930s Great Depression. Rudd was not about to let it happen again. Panicky people had salted $5.5 billion out of Australian banks in ten weeks since Lehman went bust, and second tier banks like Suncorp and Bankwest were at risk of collapse. Rudd guaranteed all term wholesale bank funding and retail deposits. Mortgagees like Challenger Howard were not protected. In two years the four big banks increased their home-lending share from 60 to 85% .
While the SPBC was arguing over the size of a stimulus, it was startled by the news the Reserve bank had dropped interest rates by 1%. This was twice as much as Treasury recommended. Rudd had learned the lesson from Treasury relief package model which was to ‘go hard, go households’. The SPBC would also double Treasury’s recommendation with a $10 billion package – $8.7m in cash handouts and $1.5m was spent on the First Home Owner Grant. There was also $6.2m to build a green car. Rudd’s message was they were ‘deploying the surplus’ to secure the economy. Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull was so shocked, he gave immediate bi-partisan support. Labor’s own cabinet was equally in the dark about the proposal and unhappy about it. Rudd blamed the need for speed and ‘extreme market sensitivities’ but his downfall can be charted to this decision.
Meanwhile, the IMF predicted the world economy would stagnate in 2009. The stimulus kept Australian tills ringing through Christmas but business confidence was at a record low. The Government pushed hard to strengthen Howard’s G20 as a forum to make global recommendations. They were supported by the Americans who saw the G8 as too happy to install euro-centric banking controls that were anathema to the Bush Administration. In November 2008, the IMF told the G20 they needed to fund a stimulus in the order of 2% of GDP. This was huge, yet they were underplaying the situation. The IMF knew any higher recommendation would ‘scare people to death’ as its chief economist Olivier Blanchard said. Countries took notice and even mighty China announced $600b Keynesian spending on infrastructure projects
Yet it put the Rudd Government in difficult political territory. Spending would ease unemployment but it would kill their promise to fund a surplus. Rudd and Swan refused to say the word deficit for months until they finally admitted it was temporary. The linguistic games showed frustrated ministers that Rudd’s office had centralised decision making to an unacceptable level.
Rudd went on with the spending plotting a large-scale construction program to keep up emplyment. Schools were chosen because they didn’t need much lead time or lengthy council planning approvals. The $16.2b Building the Education Revolution program was soon supplemented by a $6.6b social housing program and $2.7b on a solar installation package. Labor lalso needed a quick ‘sugar hit’ and gave another cash handout of $8b designed to keep money circulating. The total package was 2.4% of GDP in the first year, beyond the IMF measure but reduced to 1.8% in 2010-2011. By the second package in February 2009, Treasury was predicting Australia would avoid a recession. It was a magnificent achievement but there were serious flaws. The solar rebate was so high, it led to huge demand and shonky work practices that had fatal results.
As well as the surplus, there was another major casualty of the downturn – Rudd’s emission trading scheme, in Ruddspeak, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. It was due for 2010 but Government agreed to delay by a year to include extra compensation Labor called a ‘global recession buffer’. Rudd decided to get his new “browner” plan through the Senate with the help of the Liberals rather than with the Greens who wanted tougher action. Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull was supportive but undone by deep divisions in his own party. The eventual compromise with Labor was torpedoed by Liberal hardliners led by Nick Minchin and a spill led to the surprise election of Tony Abbott as leader in December 2009.
Abbott immediately turned his back on the CPRS, leaving Labor stranded. Rudd was so sure the Liberals would support it, he had spent no time selling it to the public. It would be impossible to run a double dissolution election on a complicated scheme that to Abbott was a “great new tax on everything” . The failure of the Copenhagen climate change talks in December was the nail in the coffin and Rudd delayed the ‘great moral imperative of our time’ to 2013.
As Taylor and Uren’s book approached deadline, Labor’s three-year-long polling honeymoon was over and they were running neck-and-neck with the Liberals. The media were hammering them over their stimulus plan failures. Rudd axed the installation scheme and Minister Peter Garrett became the scapegoat. Meanwhile the audit office found a colossal amount of waste in BER including substandard work and inflexible design. The budget surplus was a mirage and the Government had troubling selling its economic message for different reasons than before. During the height of the crisis, minister could not be frank for fear of damaging confidence, now they couldn’t sell the recovery because it would draw attention to the spending issues.
To Rudd and Swan’s immense credit, they saw the GFC coming earlier than most. They acted quicker than most and deeper and with the help of the Reserve Bank and China, Australia emerged almost unscathed. Abbott ridiculed 25 months of Whitlamesque spending’ but Rudd saved the country from years of austerity with his infrastructure stimulus. What neither he nor anyone saw was that Australia would recover so quickly. His successor Julia Gillard suffered in the 2010 poll but held on with a debt burden that would cripple Australia’s ability to implement real change in the difficult decades to come. As Taylor and Uren concluded, the political shitstorm would be ‘wilder and more damaging that Kevin Rudd ever imagined’.