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May 01st 2009 print

"William York"

May Day Message

We celebrate May Day with a custom called the “Cash Splash”. I am not clear when this habit started but do the names of Costello or Swan mean anything to you?

Sydney, 1 May 2273

Dear Tom,

I have received what must be a fragment of a message from you but I was only able to distinguish the letter K and the word Rudd from a very badly battered time warp bottle. 

I assumed, given you interest in the affairs of state that this must be the Australian Prime Minister in the early part of the twenty first century. 

I have discussed this with some learned historians particularly the Whitlam Professor of Economic History at the Australian Central Technical University. It was a peculiar time in Australia and it reminded him of the Roman Republic before the coming of the Emperors. Evidently there were triumvirates of rulers and occasionally the ruling party would bring in a dictator but only for a short spell before retirement to the back benches. 

I really cannot determine the path of Kevin Rudd. It is clear that he was Prime Minister but very little remains on record for his government and its achievements. 

It was evidently a time of turbulent misgovernment. There were attempts to change the lifestyles of whole nations. There were government regulators who forced enormous wind and solar mirror farms on an increasingly rebellious populace. As an example a group known as the Coastal Guardians, composed of retired bankers, by 2025 had given rise to a break away group called “The Quixote” who went around netting wind turbines. Their greatest success came during the evening session of the 2027 Boxing Day Test at the MCG, time shifted for the benefit of prime time TV viewing for the Indian Super-League. At a crucial point in Australia’s second innings the actions of The Quixote triggered a city-wide blackout causing the floodlights to fail just as Australia’s greatest all rounder Patrick Ng was given out LBW. The Third Eye was unable to reconstruct the event and a riot in the Members’ Stand brought the game to an abrupt end. This was a tipping point. In the following years public opinion turned against the social engineers and what were termed the “political:” scientists of the CSIRO who had provided governments with support and advice in return for funding. By 2030 the CSIRO was no more. Most governments had lost or destroyed their records through power failures or looting for fuel as the cold slowly moved from the south of the country and people struggled to stay warm. 

A great deal of the historical record has been lost. For instance, there was thought to be an important group, now really only known by the initials IPCC. Its purpose is now obscure. A few documents have come to light and they are referred to as the Scripptures. The IPCC was suppressed in 2020 by the same governments who had evidently sponsored its creation. There was another semi-religious group at that time called the Taliban with a similar sponsors’ history. It is not clear whether the two groups acted in concert in seeking to control world government. 

The consequence of this historical uncertainty has been a manifold of interpretations. One of the great philosophers of your time, Isaiah Berlin, claimed that history was always a fertile field for invention and story telling. You know that great work of Manning Clark, A History of Australia is now judged as great a work of imagination as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and much celebrated. There is also a school that believes Lord of the Rings is a part mythical account of the history of New Zealand. Evidence for this comes from the discovery of travel records in the United States of tourists visiting a “Middle Earth” in the South Island. 

Today is of course May Day; it seems over time to have been a celebration of spring, a holiday for workers and a cry for help. We celebrate May Day with a custom called the “Cash Splash”. I am not clear when this habit started but do the names of Costello or Swan mean anything to you? Of course we no longer have printed bank notes and minted coins, just electronic purses. On May Day everyone picks someone as the recipient of an electronic cash transfer. It evidently used to be a transfer from the central government to everyone but that nearly bankrupted the country. It is rather fun as we now make the transfer directly without government help. You never know how much you might get. 

A happy May Day, 

William

PS The children play a game on May Day called “Fibre to the Nerd”. It has some deep historical meaning like “Ring around the rosy”. More next time.