The Guardian • Issue #2031


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2031
Weasel Words heading



A sovereign country, Wikipedia tells us, is “a political entity […] that has supreme legitimate authority over territory.” Unless you’re one of those “sovereign citizen” nutcases (people who think they can declare independence from their country on an individual basis), that’s what it means. A moment’s thought would show that the weasel-ishness is built into the definition, in the gap between “supreme” and “legitimate.” Who gets to say the authority is “legitimate?” Usually it’s the country doing the supreming, followed closely by the UN playing catch-up. Unless you’re Israel, in which case the authority is usually the Israeli “Self-Defence” force, with a thumbs up from the United States.

Recently the Albanese Labor government kept a promise and reversed the Morrison Liberal government’s cynical decision to recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a vain attempt to make voters in Wentworth and Goldstein and other seats with a lot of Australian Jewish voters in them overlook the corruption and active hatred of workers and reneweable energy which characterised the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government.

Now that the ALP has kept its promise not to recognise West Jerusalem as the capital, more Jewish electors are being appealed to by Zoe Daniel in Melbourne’s Goldstein. Daniel has said that “every sovereign nation, including Israel, has the right to determine its own capital.” We know this is aimed squarely at any Goldstein voters for whom Israel can do no wrong, but we do hope news of the Daniel Principle doesn’t get around. If countries took it seriously, what’s to stop New Zealand sovereignly determining that its’ capital is Brisbane, or Canada crying “sovereignity and Zoe Daniel!” and then determining that Toronto is too cold and they’d like Miami as the new seat of Canadian (sovereign) power. The possibilities, like the cynicism, are endless.



Look, I’m not going to do an entire Weasel Words column on the West Jerusalem thing, or the editor will tell me to lift my game, but this is irresistible. Attempting to “both sides” the question of why the Albanese government should keep a promise and reverse what John Hewson has described as “knee-jerk Trumpianism” on Morrison’s part, Nine-Fairfax, formerly known as The Age, got Josh Feldman to rattle off a piece opining that since King David conquered Jerusalem that should be the end of the matter (since some scholars think David is as real as King Arthur, so maybe the British should move their capital to Camelot), and then bringing up an old chestnut that feels even older than King David; Israel is Australia’s “only democratic ally in a volatilve region.” Yeah right, Palestine has elections, but Israel doesn’t like the results. Egypt had elections, but they elected an Islamist government that was crushed by a military coup unprotested at by those democracy-loving Israelis and Americans. Jordan has elections, and they’re right next door. Lebanon also has elections, but maybe Josh Feldman thinks they’re too Arabic about it.



Can’t believe I missed this one. A “thug” is a ruffian, a hoodlum, someone who doesn’t mind a bit of violence. Arbitrary violence is a bad thing, so we don’t like thugs. But did you know you can be a thug without going to be trouble of belting people and risking arrest or being belted back? Easy-peasy! Just join a union that actually achieves things for its members. For Liberal Party leaders, “union” and “thug” go together like “grant” and “spreadsheet-showing-list-of-marginal-electorates.”

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