The royal visit

DEAR Queen

It’s very nice to see you. We’re fond of tourists up here in North Queensland and if you can hop on one of those cheap Virgin flights I’m sure you’ll enjoy yourself. They do these Mini Moke trips around Magnetic Island. Drive yourself. Or there’s the nightclubs in Flinders Street…

My son did it. He’s just been over from England, too. Not in the same league as you, of course, and thank God for that.

He doesn’t speak as if his mouth is full of hot porridge and although his clothes are awful they’re not… well, frumpy, if you’ll pardon me saying.

And he has tattoos. I think you have the edge on him in the tattoo department, unless you’ve secretly had something tasteful drawn on your thigh. We’ll never know. There’s always the military tattoo, of course, but that doesn’t count.

And what’s more he has a good reason for being here – he’s come to see his family. No pecuniary interest, no pay-off at the end of the road. No inheritance (not on what I get paid). He just loves us.

I’m not exactly sure why you’ve come, unless it’s to unravel the awful mess John and Peter are making of things. If so you’re wasting you’re time – it’s still a bloke’s world in Australia and five minutes after you’ve gone they’ll probably muck it up again.

I suppose you being here is symbolic. To Australians you represent…er, what exactly?

Apart from things we’d rather forget, like religious, economic and social paternalism?

And no, I don’t mean maternalism, which is more about nurturing.

Don’t think me unkind. I’m sure you’re a very nice old lady who would never jump the post office queue pretending you hadn’t noticed there were other people in front of you (sorry, I should’ve explained — a post office is the place real people go to post letters).

I’m sure you don’t get silly on two sherries and dance the Hokey Pokey till you fall over.

But you live in a house that’s incomprehensible to me and you have a lifestyle that resembles mine in the same way the lifestyle of a six-eyed green ectoplasm from the planet Zog does. And apart from the fact that you are probably — like all old ladies — embarrassed by rogue hairs growing on your face, a more frequent need to go to the lavatory than younger people, and a digestion that can’t cope with onions any more, you don’t fit here. Or anywhere much, come to think of it, except perhaps Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle or Balmoral.

Except as a tourist of course. We’ll be delighted to give you a good time and take your money. If you’re carrying any, that is (sorry, I should’ve explained — money is the stuff people carry to buy things with. Buying? Well, that’s when… never mind).

Of course you could say the same about Rupert Murdoch, but people don’t rush out to the balcony and wave little flags when he turns up. Not even his employees.

Let’s face it, you don’t even have the vote. Ironic really – we used to do that to Aborigines, but nowadays we believe not only that they’re entitled to it, but that they know how to use it.

Who knows, maybe in 1000 years time popular memory will turn the whole sorry saga of the House of Windsor into some kind of Arthurian legend, complete with honourable cast and noble purpose. But I doubt it. We’re a lot more cynical now about honourable people than the serfs were 1000 years ago; and noble purpose is only what they used to do in… well, Arthurian legend.

But still, have a good time while you’re here, and beware of the snakes.

Snakes? Dodgy little buggers with a nasty bite that slither under your feet when you least expect it.

Yes, I know you’re going to spend most of your time in the corridors of power, and not in the bush. Who said anything about the bush?