July 12, 2003


Drove to Canberra last night to speak at the Australian Liberal Students Federation conference. A well-read, alert audience -- and also polite, laughing at the right moments and not throwing any bottles. Much praise from attendees for the blogs of Alan Anderson and Gareth Parker, which I countered with aggressive lies (“Gareth? He’s really a 48-year-old software consultant. And Alan only blogs as a condition of his day release”). Fans were crestfallen. Cuban cigars were in evidence, not that Canberra’s brutal fume laws allow anyone to smoke them indoors.

Thanks to Nathan Barker, an executive member of the ALSU, for inviting me. I used to routinely refuse speaking requests, because I’m essentially inarticulate; a flaw that is magnified massively when you’re the only guy in the room with a microphone. It’s surprising how much you improve with each speech. Now I’m almost not terrible.

(Return time for the Canberra drive: 2hrs 45min. In a country with civilised speed limits, that distance -- 280 km -- should be two hours tops.)

UPDATE. Just to remind US readers: Australian Liberals are actually conservatives. As a commenter pointed out earlier, this is due to the Coriolis effect.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 12, 2003 03:53 AM

I Smoked a good cuban cigar tonight mate. Good thing we don't have restrictions against them.

Posted by: bailz at July 12, 2003 at 04:58 AM

Geez Tim, sounds like you stuck right to the speed limit. I must say I'm disappointed - I expected much better of you.

Posted by: Sean E at July 12, 2003 at 06:04 AM

That's door to door, not city to city ... please, give me some respect here.

Posted by: tim at July 12, 2003 at 06:22 AM

I stand corrected. My faith in you is restored.

Posted by: Sean E at July 12, 2003 at 07:06 AM

Australian Liberal Students? Australian Liberal Students? Do they even exist? Surely, that phrase is another one for Barry Humphries list of tautologies, right down there with "Military Intelligence" and "Adelaide Festival of Ideas".
This reminds me of a passage in P.J. O'Rourke. O'Rourke goes back for a visit to his old Uni - sorry, that's college in Yank-speak, and meets a member of the Young Republicans:

"Isn't the idea of large government oxymoronic?" he said.
Not half as oxymoronic as a Young Republican...

Posted by: TimT at July 12, 2003 at 10:50 AM


I just glanced over the Young Liberal Students Federation website. These names have to be made up...

Lorraine Van Der Ende
Tanya Sklepic
Jeff Leaming
Antonio Jardim
Alex Brzostowski

Posted by: TimT at July 12, 2003 at 10:53 AM

I know a 'young Liberal'. Having coffee with her next week. She's given me until then to gather evidence. The poor girl read Hillary's book and is now a card carrying Liberal member who defends and admires Mrs Clinton. Maybe there's a site out there dedicated to making fun of the book non-stop.

Posted by: Ken at July 12, 2003 at 01:01 PM

To Mr TimT,

As an attendant at the AUSTRALIAN Liberal Students Federation conference, I can testify that all those names do belong to real people, and are all well-read, alert, polite people. I am quite disgusted to think that there are people in this world that appreciate the work of Tim Blair, and still do not appreciate the possibility that politically-minded people come from other countries and backgrounds.

Posted by: Chris Edwards at July 21, 2003 at 06:00 PM