All over Australia people are breathing giant "ho hums" at the prospect of Her Maj visiting our mighty shores this week. The main reason for the visit, apart from getting some sunlight on her translucent Brit skin, is to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference (aka CHOGM) in Perth.
Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett explained the deep thought he put into accepting the offer to host the Conference. "Yes I know we have record numbers of homeless people here in WA. And yes I know the health system has been failing under the the influx of people to work in mines and oil rigs. And yes I know many of our schools have very large classes and our teachers are leaving in droves because they're so underpaid. And yes I know we are getting more and more violent crimes and drug problems. But when Juia Gillard our Prime Minister, who I normally detest and fight on every front, called me one night two years ago and asked if we'd host CHOGM I thought, well, why not, I might get a knighthood out of this. So without consulting anyone I agreed in three nanoseconds."
But there's upside for Perth too Col went on to explain. "We have leaders from 53 countries attending. OK, most of them are from backward countries most of us have never heard of. Many of them have less inhabitants than Fukishima these days. Nobody actually believes there is a Commonwealth these days, Australia does virtually no trade with any of them. And were us Aussies not so apathetic and more interested in the latest footie score than in politics we'd be a republic by now. But at least it puts Perth on the world stage."
Asked about the cost of CHOGM Col went onto say "Well actually we have no idea because nobody's counting. The Feds are seeing us right for a fair bit of dosh but the West Aussie taxpayers are footing the rest of the multi-multi-million dollar bill, however much that might be." Pursued further about the return on investment for hosting CHOGM in these times of public spending constraints Mr Barnett assumed a glazed look and called an end to the press conference.
CHOGM is famous for achieving, well, nothing over the years, although several dictators like Idi Amin have taken advantage of previous CHOGM's to seize power while the previous leaders were overseas kneesing it up with Her Maj, Greek Phil and the corgis. Ho hum indeed.