I have no specialist knowledge or original ideas about the bush/forest fires raging now in eastern Australia, and so will refrain from commenting on them here. I know the area well, having lived for longish periods in Canberra and Sydney. My son Ben and his family are flying back to Melbourne tomorrow, after spending Christmas with me in Hull. The fires seem to be creeping across Victoria towards them.
Australia – with all its faults, including a succession of awful ‘Liberal’ Commonwealth Prime Ministers, and the sink of backwardness and corruption that seems to be Queensland – is my favourite country. (Sorry, Sweden, but you don’t play cricket.) I’ve also read a lot about the current Australian government’s obstructive line on climate change, boosted by its huge and unhealthy dependence on extractive industries like coal. Whether there’s a direct link between this and the present crisis, I rather doubt. Closing the coal mines down wouldn’t put out the fires.
But could this be the one single dramatic event that silences the climate change deniers? If so, those poor burned-out Aussies may not have have suffered in vain.
Incidentally: has any religious nut yet put the blame for it on homosexuality? (Ben tells me Sydney is known as the ‘gay capital’ of the world.) I’m sure that must follow soon.