I was struck by this image courtesy of Legal Eagle. In fact, like Mebourne weather, the absence of English summer is a bit of a myth. Still, it appealed to me.
Email from Ramana:
I find this incredible. Extract from Bill Bryson’s Down Under. Are these things true?
Australia does breed strange stories. I give you this example without comment.
Staying with Ramana, Shorts To Work looks at an element of Ramana's past. Ramana asked in the post:
I understand that Australians do wear shorts to work in the summer and I request Jim to confirm whether this is true even now.
Sadly, I had to advise Ramana that shorts have never been acceptable work wear in white collar jobs outside Australia's far north.
It may seem odd, but Australia has always been a remarkably formal country in certain ways. Australians don't see this, nor do some visitors. I remember a British diplomat remarking to me just how open and informal Australian officials seemed to him. He compared this with the UK experience.
He was right of course, but this Australian openness at one level does not detract from formality at another. I was wondering how I might explain this to a non-Australia audience and, maybe, to Australians themselves.
A brief discussion between Winton Bates and I on the question of entitlements ( Lorenzo on monetary policy, Winton on Laura Tingle, death of Helen Beh and some Sydney lights) got me thinking. It seems to me that that word entitlements has become, to use an ugly but useful modern term, a code word for a much broader ideological debate.
Entitlements used to mean the fact of having a right to something or the amount to which a person has a right. This is the neutral meaning. Now it has acquired a heavy semantic overload.
Well, time to finish. I had more I wanted to say, but I have run out of time.
Postscript: I apologise for the missing image. There was some corruption, the image was lost, I could not trace the original.