The leftist city council of Moreland, an inner northern Melbourne suburb, is ‘shocked’, according to the Age newspaper, to discover that the municipality is named after a West Indies plantation where slavery was practised.
Shocked, my eye – they are thrilled to have this quite possibly factitious association as an excuse to parade their self-righteousness. Some people are forever searching for historical grievances to exploit, so that by denouncing them they can pose as crusaders against injustice with no risk to themselves.
Moreland ‘discovered’ the slavery connection when ‘traditional owners’ – and that doesn’t mean Moreland ratepayers who might have had a property there for generations, if they are of the wrong race – and ‘other community representatives’ came up with ‘information’ that the name Moreland came from land in the district acquired by Scots immigrant Farquhar McCrae in 1839. Lots of enterprising arrivals were acquiring land in Australia at that time, and until recently, when leftists started to push the theory that Australia was not settled but ‘invaded’, no one saw anything sinister in that.
But in this case, says Moreland council, there was something sinister. McCrae apparently named his property after a Jamaican sugar plantation his family had established in the 1780s, where, the council tells us, there were ‘as many as 700 slaves at any one time’. Slavery stopped when the British abolished it in 1833. That was before Melbourne even came into being. A pretty tenuous connection, some would say, though not if you are determined to be shocked by it.
Moreland is a Scottish name and it is not unlikely that, like so many other place names in Australia, the Melbourne Moreland’s name originated there, and that the plantation name had the same origin. That there were slaves on the plantation called Moreland no more discredits a Victorian municipality with the same name than everyone called Jack is tainted by Jack the Ripper and his serial murders. Should the two Morelands in Scotland change their name too, even though they had it first?
‘Slave names have no place in modern Melbourne,’ chimes in James Lesh, an ‘urban historian’ unearthed by the Age, who thinks the municipality’s name ‘valorises slavery’ (along with, while he’s at it, ‘colonialism’). His thesis is somewhat undermined by the necessity to admit that there was never any slavery in Australia. But that’s no reason not to drag this modish overseas obsession kicking and screaming into our local history, people like Lesh being desperate to connect Australia with every social pathology arising from the quite different historical circumstances of the United States.
Not having any present-day descendants of slavery here is also a difficulty, but not one to deter the (what else?) Greens mayor of Moreland, Councillor Mark Riley, who by a massive non sequitur tries to connect the issue with local Aborigines. ‘Council is committed to working with Wurundjeri people,’ he declares grandiloquently, yet ‘Wurundjeri people’ have nothing whatever to do with the name of Moreland, though I suppose who have to say full marks to Councillor Riley for this typical leftist attempt to make a case by deceit.
If Councillor Riley wants to grandstand against slavery perhaps he would find a receptive audience in Moreland’s many Muslims (or there again perhaps not). Slavery still thrives in several Muslim countries in central and north Africa. Should Moreland’s Islamics be blamed for that, as Moreland’s Anglos are by implication over the Jamaican plantation? But of course it’s not the slavery as such that leftists really care about, any more than they care about female genital mutilation or gays being decapitated. Slavery in this case is just a cudgel to bash the West with. When slavery and other barbaric practices occur in Islamic countries they are shrugged off by leftists as manifestations of ‘cultural difference’ so none of our business.
The Chinese too, whom all progressives admire because China is not only the socialist future but is now revealing itself as hostile to the West, are keen practitioners of slavery, with a vast workforce kept in economic subjection, and the Uighurs as conscripts for forced labour. How many Moreland citizens are helping keep Chinese slavery going by buying Chinese products? How many Green Moreland households could manage without all the electronic and domestic junk the Chinese churn out, filling the atmosphere while doing so with a miasma of carbon from the innumerable coal-powered electricity generators needed to keep the junk factories going? Compared to these cumuli of ‘greenhouse gases’, Australia’s wispy ‘emissions’, though shrilly deplored by Guardian-brainwashed types in Moreland and elsewhere, are no more harmful than a balmy summer’s breeze.
The Moreland council will now try to change the city’s name, and there are no prizes for guessing what kind of name they’ll want to change it to. No, it won’t be, say, Charlestown, after our future king, or Howardsville after our most distinguished recent prime minister, though this being Victoria Andrewsborough might get some official support. But Anglo-derived names are unlikely to be considered, since this opportunity to replace a place name from the British Isles with yet one more name of supposedly ‘first nations’ origin will be too tempting for the council to miss in its zeal for ‘working with Wurundjeri people.’
In this sense, the fuss over Moreland can be seen in the context of the now firmly established campaign by race obsessives in the ABC, Australia Post and elsewhere to demote or eliminate the names given to our cities and towns by the people who built them and replace them with names which, if they have any genuine connection with the land, apply to a time before our nation in its present form existed. It’s all part of the campaign to dismember Australia by pretending that nomadic Aboriginal tribes were already legitimate ‘nations’ when the British turned up and ‘invaded’ them. Winding back the clock to an alleged arcadian state of Aboriginal hegemony (while keeping the benefits of Western ingenuity) is the ambition of many Australians who have allowed themselves to become infected with the contemporary rancour – itself a foreign import – towards our past.
The irony, lost on them of course, is that it was the direct ancestors of many of these same people who pose as champions of Aboriginal ‘rights’, demanding treaties and other forms of ‘recognition’, who themselves dispossessed indigenous Australians. They, and not some abstract historical force, were ‘the British’ they so loudly condemn.
Does it never occur to them that, by continuing to live here, in Moreland or anywhere else, they are perpetuating the ‘invasion’? By their own logic they should clear out or shut up.
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