PITY about CHOGM. I was looking forward to it.
All those heads of government milling about on the streets.
CHOGM, if you haven’t come across it, is the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. A suitable acronym, I think, carrying with it the hack of a majestic, or ministerial cough. A bloody sight better than GBRMPA (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority), which reminds me of the kind of aggressive dance music brass bands play.
Also, in case you missed it, CHOGM was going to be held in Brisbane this week, until the powers-that-be decided to postpone it for a bit because of possible terrorist attacks.
I think that was the reason, but I’ll come to that.
No offence to Brisbane, but I wonder if terrorists could even find it on a map? No offence to the Commonwealth, but I wonder if the terrorists could even find it — or the bits and pieces that it’s composed of — on a map.
And who, exactly, were they going to target? Nelson Mandela? That would go down well with the desperate and downtrodden populations of the Third World peoples to whom Nelson is something of a hero.
John Howard? Not in your wildest dreams. And if someone did take him out you wouldn’t be looking at terrorists. You’d be looking at all the federal MPs who are chained to their parliamentary seats and forced to listen to him.
It’s not what he says that gets you down (well, occasionally it’s not). Just the way he says it. A sentence from John Howard makes the words ‘CHOGM’ and ‘GBRMPA’ sound like the language of Latin lovers.
The Queen? The Queen was going to Roma, for heaven’s sake, to open a building, or an envelope, or somesuch. You don’t blow up people who open buildings in remote bits of Australia. Someone would write a comedy about it.
And that’s why I think the CHOG Meeting has been abandoned. Not because we’re afraid of terrorists but because when the Queen got the second memo — the one that said: “Excuse the error… not Rome, Italy; Roma, Queensland” — she lost interest.
And the Queen, of course, is the plug beneath the Commonwealth bathwater. Once she’s been pulled the rest are just a distant gurgle draining away through the centuries-old plumbing.
I doubt it matters much. What was it going to achieve anyway? This is 2001. You don’t have to gather in the same room to make things happen. You can achieve as much — probably more — with a telephone hook-up.
But I guess there’s no chance of a free holiday at the taxpayers’ expense in a telephone hook-up.
Personally, I don’t know why they didn’t choose Townsville. The weather at this time of year is perfect, and with several thousand troops on the doorstep I doubt if you average terrorist would have the backbone.
They’d sooner try their luck against something that can’t fight back.